It Can’t Happen Here

“It can’t happen here,” is a phrase often associated with denial, and in the firearms industry, we usually discuss denial within the context of violent crime. Not today.

In my state of Kentucky, we have enjoyed a strong pro-gun environment for quite a while. Kentucky joined the concealed carry wave relatively early on, adopting shall-issue concealed carry in 1996. Here in the Bluegrass State, concealed carry licensing is relatively easy and reciprocity is widespread, and there are many other robust protections for gun owners.

But now we are facing a bill which is truly a gun controller’s wet dream. Pre-filed in the Kentucky General Assembly by Representative George Brown (D-Fayette County), BR 349 is basically an omnibus gun control bill. I would encourage you to read it for yourself here, but here are some highlights of this atrocious piece of anti-gun legislation:

  • Defines semiautomatic rifles ‘assault weapons’ based on a removable magazine plus a single feature, such as a pistol grip.
  • Defines pistols with a threaded muzzle as an ‘assault weapon’.
  • Defines magazines which hold more than 7 rounds as ‘high capacity’.
  • Enacts requirements for all transfers of firearms to go through a licensed dealer (FFL), to include a background check.
  • Makes all firearms transfer records public.
  • Enacts mandatory reporting requirements for loss/theft of firearms.
  • Enacts safe storage requirements.
  • Requires inventory of firearms belonging to the estate of deceased persons be reported to the county Clerk of Courts.
  • Creates licensing requirement for handgun possession.
  • Registers all handguns.
  • Registers all ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ as defined above.
  • Requires dealers to log sales and periodically transmit that log to the Kentucky State Police.

Now, it is unlikely that this bill will even make it out of committee. But this is pro-gun Kentucky, and the fact that a bill like this even exists here ought to give you chills, even if you live in another state…especially if you live in another state. Because it can happen here. And if it can happen in a state like Kentucky, it can happen anywhere.

Where liberty goes to die.

Don’t think it can’t. Don’t fall asleep and assume that politicians will simply do the right thing. Contact your legislators and remind them that we value our gun freedom here, and that you expect them to represent those values when they kill this thing.

Click on the picture below to find out who your Kentucky legislators are and how to contact them.

 

From A Distance

Disclaimer: This has nothing at all to do with guns or politics.  I’m taking a break from that for a moment.

While traipsing around the internet recently, I stumbled across this website:

Open the page, and you’ll see a large red blob. But zoom in a little closer, and you’ll find that the red blob is composed of small red symbols shaped like little buildings.

Click on one of those symbols, and you’ll find that it represents a building which has suffered more than 50% damage in  the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

In the information window which appears when you click the little red symbol, you’ll see a link to an attached JPG image. Click on that, and the next thing you see will be a photo of a home or a business which has in most cases been burned to the foundation.

This is what that one small red symbol represents. Click the one next to it, and you’ll see the same thing. And the one next to that. And the one next to that. And so on, and so on. All you see is a big red blob…from a distance. Get close, and you see devastated individual lives.

I’m not going to debate the politics or practicalities of wildfire control and management here. We can do that another day. And you can make your own decisions about charitable giving, but I’ve made mine. I’ll be finding a reputable charitable organization and giving a little bit of what I have to someone who used to live in one of those little red symbols.

Just Like Any Other Day

Today, as I watched live news coverage of a multiple shooting at a business local to me, one theme kept resurfacing. News anchors, reporters, and witnesses repeatedly emphasized that prior to the eruption of violence, today seemed “just like any other day.”

Just like any other day. Until it wasn’t anymore.

Of course it did. This isn’t the movies, you know. There isn’t going to be some ominous background music to warn you that something bad is getting ready to happen. Everyone thought it was just another Thursday…and it was.

There is still very little information on this incident so far, so I’ll refrain from extensive commentary right now. However, it is already evident that it was quite lucky that the attack occurred in a downtown area which typically has a heavy law enforcement presence. Most other locations in this area would not have the benefit of such rapid police response and resolution.

But remember this: Tomorrow, you will get up and go about your business…just like any other day. Are you prepared?

Review: Hunters HD Gold Shooting Glasses

Eye protection might well be the least exciting shooting accessory in our range bags, but it is certainly one of the most essential. We only have two eyes, and a moment of neglect can have tragic and permanent consequences.

One of the more interesting options I’ve come across is the shooting glasses offered by Hunter’s HD Gold. I had the good fortune to meet the President of Hunters HD Gold, Brian Conley, at the NRA Annual Meeting earlier this year, and he offered me a pair of their glasses to try. I took him up on it, and have been wearing a pair of their “Gauge” glasses since late spring. I’m primarily a pistol shooter, and participate in USPSA and steel matches all summer long.

I’ve typically worn a set of glasses from another large manufacturer (begins with “O”) with interchangeable lenses for different lighting conditions. That works fine, as long as you’re willing to carry the spare lenses with you all day. But one of the great features of the Hunters HD Gold line of glasses is that they feature photochromic lenses which become lighter or darker as the ambient light changes. Combined with the high definition gold tint, this means great visibility whether indoors or outside, in bright sunlight or shade, and in all types of weather.

Whether in clouds or sun, there’s no need to change lenses with Hunters HD Gold.

One thing I was curious about, however, was how well I might be able to see different fiber optic sight colors, or red-dot sighting systems through the gold lenses. I shouldn’t have worried; both red and green fiber optics and the dot in my Aimpoint sight all popped clearly into view. Bright white painted steel targets didn’t wash out the picture, either, as the glasses provided excellent contrast between my sights and the steel plates. I even tried them with my archery sight, with the same great results. In every shooting situation I’ve worn them in, the Hunters HD Gold glasses have helped cut glare and enhance contrast and clarity.

Hunters HD Gold glasses are available in a variety of styles, and are made in the USA with impact-rated and UV blocking Trivex lenses. Need prescription lenses? Hunters HD Gold glasses can also be made with single vision prescriptions, or with bi- or tri-focal lenses using their TriVueLens progressive design which eliminates lines and image jumps typical to some lined lenses.

If you are looking for advanced eye protection for the shooting sports which offers both safety and great vision, I’d suggest giving Hunters HD Gold a look. Detailed information and retail links are available on their website at: https://huntershdgold.com/

 

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.