[excerpted from John M. Browning, American Gunmaker, by John Browning and Curt Gentry. © 1964 by the Browning Co. and Curt Gentry.]
The Brownings depended on Tom Emmett for all odd jobs, either at the store or in their homes. He professed no specialized skill but would tackle any job and get it done. On this day he was up on a stepladder near the ceiling of the shop, by the line shaft, taking measurements. His job kept him near the shaft for so short a time that he did not ask to have the power shut off. Nobody paid any attention to what he was doing, except John. He remarked to Ed, “Tom shouldn’t be working up there with the power on.” Ed looked over his shoulder and said, “Oh, he’ll be through in a minute, and I need the lathe.” It happened just then, while John was looking straight at Tom.(Continued on Page 92)
I finally got around to acquiring California’s new Handgun Safety Certificate, one of the pointless bureaucratic hoops the state makes you jump through before you can buy a handgun. There’s still the ten day waiting period and background check, the mandatory trigger lock, the safe-storage requirements, the one-a-month purchase limit, and, of course, the limited selection created by ineptly second-guessing the manufacturer’s ability to create a safe, functional product.
No one has been able to demonstrate even a tiny benefit to society from any of these laws, but then again, who would have rationally expected one? There is very little overlap between “people who obey gun laws” and “people who commit crimes with guns,” after all, and legislators who vote for gun-control laws know this.(Continued on Page 1497)
My friendly neighborhood gun dealer has been completely unable to track down the Browning Buck Mark Classic Plus that I want to buy. All of his distributors are out of stock, and while they promise to have some Real Soon Now, they can’t say exactly when.
There are probably thousands in stock elsewhere in California, but the law is designed to make it tedious and difficult for me to buy one of them. Not because I might use it for crime, mind you; just wanting one is sufficient offense.
Most likely, I’ll end up driving 100 miles to a store that has one, make the purchase, and then drive there again ten days later to pick it up. Cheaper than having it shipped to my local dealer, paying him for the transfer, and letting it sit at his place for the ten days.
Of course, if I were interested in crime, I could have it today, or something much more lethal. California’s gun laws have no impact on the black market, because they’re not designed to.
Spent two days this week at an Operations forum up north, and since most of the sessions had very little to do with the service I operate, I was able to do some real work while casually keeping track of the discussions.
My online target archive contains a bunch of bullseye targets I built using a Perl script. The native output format was PostScript, ’cause I like PostScript, but PDF is generally more useful today, and not everyone uses 8.5×11 paper. I hand-converted some of them, but never finished the job.
The correct solution was to completely rewrite the code using the PDF::API2::Lite Perl module, and generalize it for different paper sizes and multiple targets per page. It’s still a work in progress, but already pretty useful.
After taking a week off to drive to Washington and back, I resumed my quest for a Browning Buck Mark Classic Plus. As I suspected, the only store who had one was 100 miles away, and thanks to California’s silly-ass gun laws, I have to make the trip twice, once to fill out the federal and state paperwork and supply a thumbprint, and again ten days later to claim my property.(Continued on Page 1513)
Just finished adjusting the trigger on my Remington 700. It now has a crisp 2.5-pound trigger pull, a vast improvement over the creepy 6-pounder it came with. It’s an easy, safe procedure, but the final step involved something I don’t keep around the house: nail polish.
After a leisurely walk to the grocery store in the middle of the night, I am the proud owner of a half-ounce bottle of Maybelline Infinite Shine Clear Extended Wear Base And Topcoat. Sealing the threads on the trigger-adjustment screws required approximately a third of a drop of the stuff, suggesting that I have enough left over to fix about a thousand rifles. Which is about a thousand more than I own.
I suppose I could always use the rest to seal the quick-and-dirty paint job I do for my D&D miniatures (prime gray, paint black, drybrush metallic, done!).
Every once in a while, after some poor schmuck has been arrested (maybe for a good reason, maybe not), some official will announce breathlessly that a search of his home turned up “thousands of rounds of ammunition.” This sounds impressive, until you realize that a box of 500 rounds of .22 Long Rifle — by far the most popular ammo in the country — is about the size and weight of a brick, and costs less than $25.
A few days ago, anticipating the release of my new Buck Mark, I picked up a brick of .22 so I’d have something to feed it. Tonight, I went through some boxes that had remained sealed through my last two moves. Imagine my surprise when I found four bricks inside. I think two of them were an impulse buy at a 24-hour grocery in Ohio, which makes them at least ten years old.
Obviously I’ll need to invite some friends along when I go to the range.
Summary: she’s young, pretty, not a socialist, not a member of the Religious Right, and seems to grasp the major tax-and-spend problems in California. If she weren’t clueless on the subject of gun control, I’d be willing to back her.(Continued on Page 1527)
Earlier, I mentioned that the common claims about a kids-and-guns “crisis” are largely based on baldfaced lies, particularly when they talk about small children finding a gun and shooting themselves or a playmate. California activists used this myth to pass safe-storage laws mandating trigger locks, lock-boxes, gun safes, safety testing for buyers, and safety testing for all handguns sold in the state, and every year they ask for more.
Unfortunately, the number of children aged 0-14 who died in gun accidents in California in 1999 was… one (source: National Center for Health Statistics; total gun-accident deaths were 47). Note that this is the same year that all those “safety” laws were passed, which gun-control advocates promised would protect children.
Protect them from what, exactly?
Is it just me, or are the people marketing .22LR ammo getting a little silly in their product names?
[and yes, I know some of these have been around for a while, but it was seeing them neatly lined up in a row that got to me]
It’s a familiar sight for anyone who shoots at a public pistol range: a man and a woman come in together so he can teach her to shoot, and he gives her a loud, hard-kicking gun and incompetent instruction. Usually he’s a terrible shot himself, and sometimes he’s a danger to himself and others. His real goal, conscious or not, is to convince her that guns are a “guy thing,” and she should let him be her protector and champion.
I got tired of watching this a long time ago, and usually I try to sneak in when he’s left the room and give her a few quick pointers, including the all-important “rent a .22 next time.” When he comes back and she’s shooting better than he is with his favorite gun, the session usually comes to a quick halt.
Today was a bit different.(Continued on Page 1557)
I’m a pretty good shot with a pistol, particularly when I’ve been practicing regularly. I’m not entirely awful with a rifle, and could be a decent shot if I had more opportunities to practice. Until today, however, I could honestly say that I knew absolutely nothing about shooting shotguns.(Continued on Page 1566)
(Via Instapundit). Florida State Attorney John Tanner tried to fly with an undeclared handgun in his luggage. He was required to buy a lock-box for the gun and take a later flight. I don’t believe for one moment that an ordinary citizen would have been treated so gently.
His excuse is that it was “his first hunting trip since security was increased at airports,” but that doesn’t wash, because it’s been a long time since you could just toss a firearm into your luggage and not mention it at check-in. Long before 9/11, you were required to put the unloaded gun into a locked case and declare it. They then attached a brightly-colored tag to the case, to make sure that baggage inspectors knew it had been declared and inspected.
Of course, as one of the Special People, it’s quite possible that he never had to obey the old regulations due to “professional courtesy,” but I’d like to think that a State Attorney would have at least a basic grasp of the law.
The murder rate in the US is now the lowest it’s been in 40 years. It would be nice to think that it has something to do with the thousands of new gun-control laws that have been passed in that time, but sadly there’s no supporting evidence for that.
Which shouldn’t be surprising, since everyone in the business knows that most murders are committed by people with a history of violent crime, and career criminals aren’t in the habit of obeying laws. That’s sort of why we call them “criminals,” after all.
[note the sudden switch between rates and absolute numbers in the referenced article, without mentioning the significant increase in population over the periods compared. Even when the news is good, it’s gotta getta spin…]
One of the most common excuses used to explain why the 10,000+ gun-control laws in the US never deliver what they promise is “leaky borders.” Because there exists some other city/state/country “nearby” that has less restrictive laws, criminals will just travel there to get guns. They never explain why criminals aren’t using guns more often in that other, less-evolved place, but that’s a side issue.
Enter England, a nearly perfect test case for gun control. Physically isolated from all those bad gun-loving countries, and they never had the quantity of guns the US had, or the violent crime. Over the past eighty years they’ve gradually eliminated virtually all gun ownership from society. Paradise Island, yes?
No. Crime in general, and with-gun crime in particular, has been increasing steadily since 1920, and the near-total ban on handguns has only accelerated the problem. Meanwhile, the violent crime rate in the US has been dropping steadily for years, with the murder rate down 45% since 1980.
Is there still more murder in the US? Yes, if you’re a young black man living in the worst parts of our major cities. You know, those places where it’s illegal to own a gun? Where the concept of calling 911 for help is openly mocked?
I never bought Lott’s argument that increasing gun ownership reduces crime, but it’s quite clear that reducing or eliminating it doesn’t help, either. Could it be because law-abiding citizens with guns aren’t career criminals? Sounds obvious, I know, but somehow legislators keep overlooking it.
Found this news story on Fark, with the coveted “dumbass” label. Intrigued, I read the whole thing. In order, the facts presented are:
In other words, after carefully constructing the story to give the impression that more than 200 crime guns were seized from a dangerous lunatic with ties to illegal drug labs, the reporter ’fesses up that they were just grabbing his public inventory and personal collection. This is a legitimate action given the charges, but it’s not evidence of guilt.
Is he a criminal? I haven’t the slightest idea. That’s for the jury to decide, not some spin-happy hack journalist.
Please hire at least one writer who is vaguely familiar with guns. In this story, in response to their suspicion that a woman’s car window was shot out by a “sniper,” it is reported that the police were “combing the woman’s vehicle in an attempt to find bullet casings.”
So, either they think she shot out her own window, the quote was seriously garbled over the phone, or the reporters were deeply clueless. Bullets, sure. Bullet holes, absolutely. Bullet casings?
And what exactly makes the person responsible for these (so far death-free, fortunately) shooting incidents a “sniper”? Ooh, there’s a rant we can save for another day.
This is such a bad idea that I doubt that even New Jersey is stupid enough to consider it a “safe handgun”. I’m quite certain that cops would rather go unarmed than be saddled with such a piece of garbage. Not that I expect it to actually come to market, of course; like most vaporware, the press release exists to sell stock, not product.
I’ve had one of these for years, and I don’t think there’s a better product on the market. It’s made of a Kevlar-reinforced composite, has separate combination and key locks, and includes a pair of sturdy mounting plates that let you attach it to a wall or bed frame. I doubt that even highly motivated kids could get the gun out without power tools, and a burglar who didn’t bring a sledgehammer would have a hard time stealing it.
It also makes a great range case, particularly when you’re training new shooters who may be concerned about the (wildly exaggerated) risks of keeping a gun in the house.
Trigger locks are a foolish and dangerous choice, mandated by bureaucrats who either don’t know better or simply don’t care. This is safe gun storage.
Update: Went looking for the manufacturer’s web site, and found an undated press release claiming that Armloc cases are being issued to every US Customs agent. The site looks a bit stale, but I’m inclined to believe that it’s still true.
Implanted RFID tags to make sure that nobody can use a handgun, including the owner.
A US Representative on his way back to DC was stopped and politely questioned as to why he was carrying a handgun in his briefcase as he passed through airport security.
According to his press secretary:
“He was asked a couple of simple questions. They just wanted to verify that he wasn’t going to do anybody any harm.”
I see two reasonable responses: treat this negligent asshole the same way anyone else would be treated, which is pronounced “felony conviction,” or treat the rest of us the way they treated him. Sadly, the reality is that we get worse treatment for packing nail clippers than this clown got for packing a piece.
Note to Indiana residents: he’s up for re-election this year.
Update: he’s been cited for a misdemeanor with a fine of $500 (and the slim-to-none chance of up to a year in jail), but no federal felony charges have been filed. Oddly enough, this might still be enough to permanently revoke his right to own a firearm.
And, yes, it was not only loaded, it was one of those eeeeeevil plastic pistols that the gun-control lobby insists are designed to be smuggled through airport security.
No, not that way. This way.
There are a lot of things I could say about parents who ship “troubled teens” off to special camps where trained professionals promise to supply some actual parenting, but that’s way out there in After-School Special Land, and I don’t want to go there.
No, I want to question the incredible idiocy of schlepping a bunch of suburban teens around for six weeks in bear country in Alaska (redundant, I know) without so much as a goddamn cap pistol. Nothing but pepper spray and a flare gun, with who knows how many kids under their “protection”. Blech.
…only clever high-school seniors will have guns (scroll to bottom of story). Designing and building your own AR-15; now that’s a class project!
Pity he didn’t make an M-1, though.
Update: the local newspaper doesn’t have online archives, so the story is already toast. Google does have a link to the school board minutes covering his project plan, so I’ve replaced it with that (scroll to the bottom). He has since finished the project, although he was unable to bring anything but a photo-essay to school to show off.
Short version: his name is David Bartlemay, and he’s headed into the Marines after graduation, with a goal of working presidential security.
…screwed-up high school students will attack their peers with crossbows and Molotov cocktails.
Okay, this guy is a nut. Armor-plating your bulldozer and trying to demolish your home town over a zoning dispute is, well, just a touch beyond the acceptably eccentric.
Despite the fact that most of his preparations involved welding armor to his vehicle and methodically wiping out half a town with it, the fact that he was also “exchanging gunfire” with the police makes him a gunman. Yes, that’s the headline:
Gunman goes on bulldozer rampage
I’m thinking of printing up a new CNN t-shirt with the slogan “Got bias?”.
Update: The headline on the updated story now reads “Bulldozer rampage gunman dead”. No mention of anyone being injured by a single bullet during his property-destruction spree (in fact, another account mentions that he seemed to be deliberately trying to avoid injuring people), but he’s not a dozerman or an outraged small-business owner, or even just a nutcase. No, the partisan hacks at CNN see him first and foremost as a gunman.
Fox? “Crazed Man on Bulldozer Rampage Found Dead.” Their version also includes a lot more honest-to-gosh facts about the incident. Maybe there’s something to that “fair and balanced” slogan after all…
Update: a number of non-CNN accounts now cast doubt on the claims that he ever shot at the police who were trying to stop him, and have pretty much debunked the early claim that he had fired at propane tanks in an effort to trigger an explosion. Even the BBC, no stranger to “sexing-up” their reporting on the evils of guns, makes no mention of him shooting at anyone but himself. Nonetheless, it will be forever enshrined in CNN’s archives that he was a gunman, who just happened to damage a few buildings with a bulldozer.
This story leaves me gasping for breath:
Norwegian authorities have fined a French tour guide nearly $1,500 for shooting a curious polar bear in the foot.
Officials later had to kill the animal, part of a protected species, the newspaper Aftenposten said.
The drama took place last month when the tour guide and her group of six tourists were waiting for a boat to pick them up at Van Mijenfjord after a land excursion.
A male polar bear suddenly appeared and started roaming toward them. The guide urged her group to run toward a nearby wooden structure but the bear followed.
The guide feared she would not have time to reload after a warning shot, so she wounded the bear in the foot. He hobbled away. Officials said she should have used emergency flares or other devices available to her to scare off the bear.
She was fined $1,436.
I’m surprised she didn’t surrender. Okay, cheap shot. What I’m really surprised about is that the moron survived. Let’s have a pop quiz. You’ve just been confronted by a giant carnivore that does not appear actively hostile. Do you: A) kill the bear, B) back away slowly and calmly while preparing to kill the bear if it charges, C) fire a warning shot to scare the bear away, D) panic and run, E) shoot the bear in the foot, or F) both D and E.
Perhaps the most curious line from the story is this one: The guide feared she would not have time to reload after a warning shot. So, she either had the wrong weapon for bear country or simply wasn’t competent with the right one, and because of this, she chose to wound a goddamn polar bear. Forget fining the nitwit, just ship her to grizzly country and let Ma Nature finish her off.
…and away from your ex-wife. 18 grains of Unique in a pistol cartridge; shiver.
The author also admits that he missed several clear warning signs that should have prevented the accident, even setting aside the mystery of how the wrong powder got into the clearly labeled container.
Okay, this story claims, without providing any of the details, that “safe gun storage” laws cut the teen suicide rates since their adoption in 1989. That is, the news report claims this, while the research paper (published in JAMA) simply says they may have cut suicide rates.
But by how much? First, they mention 300 less suicides between 1989 and 2001 for the 14-17 age group, and then they segue into a discussion of the number of suicides in the 14-20 age group. Sloppy reading on the reporter’s part, or is this a reflection of the actual research? And where are the rates that are mentioned in the headline? All I see are raw numbers.
Looking for real data, I found that the with-gun suicide rate for teens age 14-19 (and for other groups) has been declining for a while, but it peaked in 1994, five years after the “safe storage” laws in question. Interestingly enough, suffocation seems to be taking up the slack, although it’s not enough to stop the overall decline. It is enough to possibly account for the “prevented” with-gun suicides…
Just think, if it weren’t for their tough gun control laws, Canadian criminals would have access to dangerous weapons. Oh, wait:
Inside the van, police found 15 guns and as much as 135 kilograms of explosives. The firearms included automatic weapons, semi-automatic machine guns and handguns.
Extra credit to the ignorant or malicious reporter who wrote the absurd phrase “semi-automatic machine guns”.
Note that they don’t say why they think the van belonged to an organized crime group rather than, say, terrorists. It’s not like it was parked next to embassies or anything like that.
Barnes said the initiative is a response to San Francisco’s skyrocketing homicide rate, as well as other social ills.
Yes, their response to a “skyrocketing homicide rate” is to make sure that only people who disobey the law have guns. And government agents, of course. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to the four remaining gun owners in SF, of course; the city hounded the gun-shop owners out years ago, and if there’s one thing they can’t stand in San Francisco, it’s people who don’t conform.
…shame none of the witnesses were, either: man beheaded with axe on London street.
Sadly, it sounds like the witnesses weren’t the sort who’d have done anything even if they’d had the means. At least half a dozen people stood there and watched for several minutes, and all they did was politely ask him to stop chopping up his victim.
The state of California insists that rattlesnakes have a right to self-defense. What a pity they don’t extend that same right to law-abiding citizens. Perhaps we’re not considered “important members of the community”. (via lgf, etc)
Well, maybe if they could actually hit the target at least once, instead of managing to fill a suburban neighborhood with bullet holes. Yes, officer, when you spray ammo at a fleeing suspect, the bullets that miss him actually hit something else. Remember that rule about knowing what’s behind your target? Didn’t think so.
…pictures of guns are too dangerous to allow on a plane.
It’s hard to write a tribute to someone you never met, but if you shoot, you should know his name, and find the world a slightly smaller, duller place without him. Local news report here.
…they turn up in the oddest places.
Now that the Supreme Court has unambiguously ruled on the only “right of the people” ever to be considered “the right of state governments”, the Chicago Tribune has come out of the closet: “repeal it!”, say the guardians of freedom.
We’re just not sure whose freedom they’re guarding.
Step 1: friend announces imminent arrival of his new M1911A1.
Step 2: J remembers how to open the safe, verifies operational status of contents.
Step 3: J searches the house for “supplies”, finds a surprising amount of the stuff squirreled away.
Step 4: J re-reads friend’s email, realizes he won’t have the damn thing for another day (California).
Step 5: J contemplates the revolutionary concept of multiple range trips in one week (just like the good old days…).
(pressdemocrat.com, via Clayton Cramer)
A Potter Valley woman wounded herself and a man July 3 while attempting to kill mice with a .44-caliber Magnum revolver, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
The woman, 43, had drawn the gun from a holster under her left arm, intending to shoot mice scurrying across the floor of a small travel trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
A few notes:
Good advice, even in Engrish.(Continued on Page 3061)
Quoting from my local paper, regarding recent incidents of police shootings:
Police said Dorado had pulled a loaded AK-47 out of his waistband.
In 1889, John Moses Browning converted a lever-action rifle into an automatic weapon. This became the basis for the M1895 Machine Gun.
In 1910, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated with a .32-caliber semi-automatic pocket pistol, designed by John Moses Browning.
In 1911, the US Army adopted the service pistol they would use for the next seventy years, the M1911, still the sidearm of choice for many experts, and still parts-compatible with guns made today. It was, of course, designed by John Moses Browning.
In 1919, General John T. Thompson designed the sub-machine gun that bears his name, often called “the gun that made the Twenties roar”.
In response to Prohibition’s invention of organized crime, the Gun Control Act of 1934 severely restricted civilian ownership of automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, and sundry other items that scared the news media.
In 1935, Fabrique Nationale released a collaboration between Dieudonné Saive and the late John Moses Browning, the Browning Hi-Power, featuring Saive’s invention of the high-capacity double-stack magazine, holding 13 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Everything since then has been materials engineering.
(and anyone who wants to discuss the feasibility of restricting the supply of ammunition and gunpowder is invited to google for the terms “handloading” and “meth lab”)
…then run off in a huff when you call them on it.
[Update: he deleted the entire thread or marked it private; a bit sensitive to light, it seems…]
If there were any functional difference between scary evil assault weapons and acceptable civilian firearms, her big press conference wouldn’t feature a laundry list of names and numbers:(Continued on Page 4156)
Lots of folks are having fun with the recently-released photo of Obama firing a shotgun (“just a sportsman like you, honest”). Many of them are promptly jumping to the conclusion that it’s faked or photoshopped, of course, mostly revealing their ignorance of shooting, photography, or both. The Swallowing For Obama activists are gleefully cheering their hero’s latest triumph over the unbelievers, based on their own ignorance of both (while still wishing he hadn’t sullied his hands with an evil gun).
The truth is simpler: it’s a staged publicity photo. He wasn’t shooting anything but air, with a camera perfectly positioned to capture a burst of images so they could pick the best shot. That’s why his stance is so static compared to photos of actual skeet shooters: he’s posing for a picture. That’s also why there’s no choke in the lower barrel: the handler didn’t install one because Obama was never going to fire a second shot.
The most likely reason the photo exists is that the manufacturer sent the gun as a gift, and the administration sent back a signed, framed photo showing him using it.
[Update: having now looked at the full-resolution image, with EXIF data intact, I have no doubt that the photo is real but has nothing to do with skeet or other sport shooting. His left sleeve is in crisp focus, but his left hand is slightly motion-blurred, with the motion increasing out toward the muzzle, precisely what you’d expect to see during the recoil from a shot. The escaping gas from both muzzle and porting is realistic for the lighting conditions and the 1/320 second exposure time. At the same time, his stance is an awkward attempt to shoot it like a rifle, he’s getting battered in both shoulder and cheek by the recoil, only the upper barrel has a choke in it (making it useless for skeet), and he’s shooting horizontally, something not commonly done in any shotgun sport. I say Browning sent him a Citori for his birthday, and got back a signed photo and a thank-you note.]
It is currently cheaper to buy a round of 12-gauge 00 buckshot than a round of 9mm jacketed ball ammo. The guns are cheaper, too, and much easier to find on the shelves.