Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mister Fixit - NOT!

I hate it when things break, get bent, are lost or must otherwise be repaired or replaced.

The sad fact is, I am not mechanically inclined.
(Do NOT ask to hear my "how it cost me $280 to replace the toilet flapper valve" story, it'll break your heart. Can you say 'left hand thread"? Neither can I.)

This can be a problem when I shoot competitively 12 months a year and reload something like 1,000 rounds of ammunition a year month.

"Stuff" wears out. Then I have to replace it. Usually, it's 'small parts'. You would think this wouldn't be a problem, because these small parts are what I refer to as 'consumables' (think of pencils in an office) that you expect to replace from time to time. They don't cost much, and are usually easy to replace/install.

I don't actually have a major problem with installing replacement small parts, as long as their not the kind of thing you need a gunsmith or a Rocket Scientist (not that far apart, in my opinion), but I often have trouble finding them!

Case in point #1: Pistol Decapping pins for my Dillon XL650.

I ask you, how difficult can it be?
  1. Unscrew the decapping assembly from your Sizing/Decapping die
  2. Unscrew the knurled decapping pin retainer
  3. Tap out the bent decapping pin from the retainer
  4. Insert new decapping pin
  5. Re-assemble the decapping assembly
  6. Screw the decapping assembly back into the die
That's it. You're done, go back to reloading.

See, I have to do this quite often. All of the ranges here-abouts are covered with pea-gravel, some of it quite small. When we pick up our brass (which has probably been stepped on several times while the whole squad shoots the stage), sometimes we also pick up a tiny piece of rock in the brass case. We don't notice this, and it doesn't always shake loose when we run the brass through the tumbler.

The result is, when you try to resize the case, the rock chip gets between the old primer and the decapping pin, and you have to stop and replace the (bent) pin.

I've had that happen three times in one evening of reloading. Not only does it slow down the reloading process, but it uses up a lot of your 'consumable' replacement pins.

When I phone in an order to Dillon, I invariably ask for a couple of 5-packs of decapping pins. I never remember what the part number is, because it's not in the XL650 parts manual. (I now know the part number is 13753 ... it's on the package in the photo.)

The last time I phoned in an order, I asked for three 5-packs. Dillon was reluctant to sell them to me, stating at first that they were 'out of stock' and then (when I plead dire emergency) they reluctantly agreed to send me what they could spare. That was two 5-packs. I've used up one, I have one left, and I want to order more.

But I don't like to phone in orders, I would rather order them over the Internet, and Dillon's online catalog doesn't include this part.

I had to go search for other on-line sources, finally finding the item at RCBS. At $2.95 a 5-pack, I ordered two (shipping was $4). I could have ordered the 50-pack and got a lot better deal, but I think I'll try the product before I invest the whole $13.95 ... which can probably still ship for $4.)

Okay, problem solved, I found a second source, I'm happy now.

Case in point #2: mounting screws for STI (C-more) scope mounts

This is a little more difficult.

I was shooting a match a couple of weeks ago and having trouble (recurring, maybe solved with a new recoil spring) with feeding. Standing at the safety table with the STI laying in front of me, I happened to notice that I was missing not one, but TWO of the five scope-mount screws.

I know how to buy screws. You take the screw you want to replace to your local Ace Hardware Store and compare it with what they've got, and buy a handful of them. If you're smart, you'll write down the description of the screw. (But you'll lose that piece of paper before you need to buy more.)

In this case, the Ace Hardware Store doesn't carry this screw. I can't tell you off-hand where I bought the last 5-pack of these screws, but I used the last two to replace the two missing screws. And if you'll look closely at the picture, the screws I have used in the past don't all match.

I don't know where to go to look for these. Someone told me to go to Brownell's, and I did, but I couldn't find it on their website. I don't even know what to look for, but I did notice that if you search for 'scope mount screws' you don't find anything that looks like this.

So if someone knows what these screws are, and where I can get them, and what I should ask for ... let me know, okay?

Or maybe I can just put in a standing order of five more screws every six months. Yes, I use Blue LocTite but that doesn't always prevent the "Geek Screw-Loose" aberration.


NOTE: While researching for this article, I finally found the website which defines the differences between the three different kinds of LOCTITE 'Threadlockers':




Hottest Geek Links & IPSC Videos - October, 2007

Here are the links to the most popular articles and videos in Cogito Ergo Geek as of October, 2007.

Criteria: ONLY articles which were published more than six months ago are included (because most recent articles may be temporarily more popular), and inclusion is based on 10/06/2007 traffic as registered by my STATSCOUNTER ratings. Also note that regardless of the number of "hits" on a given day, the articles are not ranked, because of the transitory popularity of some articles on a day-by-day basis. (But the first 4 articles almost invariably rank somewhere in the first-four, although the relative rank of the 'others' may vary dramatically from day to day.)
  1. Travis Tomasie: The Perfect Reload
  2. Field Strip the 1911 - and other stuff
  3. IPSC Shooting Videos and IPSC Loading Data
  4. KaBOOM!
  5. XL650: 9mm, .45acp, & 10mm (basically, more reloading information)
  6. "Firearm Tort Reform"; and "Kalifornia, Bullet-Coding Scheme ...", etc. (April, 2005)
  7. Texas Star, IPSC Videos from Oregon
  8. IPSC: STI TruSight Accepted in USPSA Limited Division
  9. Day of the Evil Drawstring
  10. Red Shirt Friday

Criteria: Most popular by number of views, greater than 1000 views, regardless of date.

  1. Travis Tomasie: The Perfect Reload (added 1 year ago; 20,485 views)
  2. Mossberg 590: Learning Experience (added 5 months ago; 7,108 views)
  3. Evil Bill's Texas Star (added 5 months ago; 3,786 views)
  4. .460 pistol - darn it! (added 7 months ago; 2,131 views)
  5. IPSC Steel - Failure to Fall (added 7 months ago; 1,919 views)
  6. X-Games in IPSC (added 10 months ago; 1,679 views)
  7. Evil Oregon Star 2: The Movie (added 5 months ago; 1,574 views)
  8. 2005 Croc Match- Jungle Run: Junior Stephan (added 1 year ago; 1,330 views)
  9. Geek at TC May 2006: Stage 5 (added 1 year ago; 1,154 views)
  10. Bob and the Texas Star (added 1 year ago; 1,140 views)
  11. Pistol-Caliber Carbine Match (added 5 months ago; 1,117 views)
  12. Les & The Race Gun (added 6 months ago; 1,095 views)
  13. Witchey Woman (added 1 year ago; 1,003 views)

I notice that only four of these videos are significantly over 90 seconds in duration. This suggests to me that long videos depicting several shooters engaging the same shooting problem (one stage) are not very well received.

Not a problem. I'll continue to offer long videos, for the enjoyment of people who were there and want to see how they look when they are shooting. And you will continue not to watch them.

That seems fair to me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

TGZ - Boom and Bust

No, this isn't The Gun Zone, this is.

I'm a long time of The Gun Zone, which is the love-child of self-professed 'formerly famous gun writer' Dean Speir. (I got the spelling right first try that time, Dean!)

Last year I stole shamelessly from Dean's website for my infamous 'KaBOOM!' article, which remains one of the half-dozen consistently highest ranking articles on Cogito Ergo Geek (based on frequency of access ... usually by Internet Search.)

(For this and all vaguely related articles, type kaboom in the 'search' window at the top of this page.)

It's unfortunate that, due to Dean's documentation of the Glock KaBOOM! Phenomenon, Dean has been fighting an undeserved reputation as being 'anti-Glock'.

Dean is NOT 'anti-Glock', but I am. It's all the fault of the kool-aid kids anyway, so I admit I don't care.

The eminent and inimitable Mr. Speor Spier Speirs Speir, in an admirable effort to contest this cruel canard, has consequently included a cornucopia of case studies of OTHER (defined as 'non-Glock') KaBOOMs, squibs, and miscellaneous firearm failures.

A case in point is the HK USP Expert kB!, which describes the (2002) destructive malfunction to a .45 caliber HK. Since this article is sub-titled "Why not to shoot lead handloads through a barrel with polygonal rifling", it implies that there is just one more thing to remember when you move away from the perfect John Browning 1911 pistol design.

(Notice how perfectly my articles mirror my personal bias? I'm sure it's mere coincidence.)

While I'm tempted to link to ALL of the 'KaBOOM!" articles on TGZ webpages, I'll not allow myself to be guilty of distracting you from a superior website.

And that's why I won't embed TGZ's YouTube video which most caught my attention today.

You're Busted!

In the Miami Vice television series which was popular in the 1980's, one episode ("The Hitman") was noticed by competitive Practical Pistol shooters. Competitive shooter Jim Zubiena portrayed a 'hit man' who blew away a limousine load of drug dealers with a SPAS-12 shotgun, and then performed a "flawless Mozambique" (with a 1911) on the armed and alert bodyguard ... from surrender position, with a concealed carry.

To tell the truth, I can only see two shots, not three, in the embedded YouTube video. You may have better eyes than I do, but it all happens so fast it's difficult to be sure.

Go read the article, and the related links, and see the video here.

You may be interested to know that, based on Dean's commentary, I just ordered Seasons One and Two of Miama Vice here.

It's not just the Pastel-o-vision, or the music.

well, in part it's the music, but I already bought that cd last year.

Field-Expedient Weapons Maintenance

John Farnham (in his excellently contexted, but awkwardly formatted website) calls it "Exegent Gun Maintenance".

I call it exceptionally good advice.

Because it's mixed with another interesting comment ("Flat-Stock Technique"), I will include the entire text here. However, I encourage you to read the original and then go to the main webpage for more useful and interesting articles.

(The article is slightly edited for readability: the text is separated into paragraphs and a numbered-points list.)
14 Sept 07 Exigent Gun Maintenance:

There are many commercially-available solvents, lubricants, and devices made specifically for firearms maintenance, and all work well. However, in a crisis, none of that stuff is likely to be available.

What is universally available is
  1. hot, soapy water
  2. diesel fuel
  3. transmission fluid
  4. old T-shirts
  5. a toothbrush
Those five items can be used to adequately clean and lubricate nearly any gun, and you'll seldom find yourself in a place where they are not readily at hand.

After soaking for a few minutes in hot, soapy water, nearly all hardened deposits of crud on gun parts will soften and can then be easily removed with a toothbrush. After a subsequent hot-water rinse, excess moisture will self-evaporate.

A light coat of diesel fuel can then be applied to prevent steel parts from rusting. Chamber and bore are particularly susceptible to rust and must be continuously coated with oil.

On any car or truck, both transmission housing and crankcase have dipsticks. Remove the dipstick from the transmission. On the tip will be several drops of transmission fluid, one of the best lubricants in existence! Half-dozen drops of transmission fluid is all that is necessary to adequately lubricate most guns. All moving parts that rub against other parts should be lubricated.

On large-caliber pistols, dipsticks can be used to drag an oily T-shirt remnant through the bore.

These is little reason, and even less excuse, to be packing poorly-maintained guns. In exigent circumstances, we may have to get creative, but sensible gun maintenance at the user level is always possible and ever necessary!


Friday, October 05, 2007

RELOADING - by Kevin Baker

One of the most prolific Gun authors on The Internet (and a man who is arguably more verbose than I) is Kevin Baker at "The Smallest Minority".

He recently published an article in response to a challenge from Kim Du Tuit, describing reloading techniques on a budget for a new reloader.

This is a daunting task, requiring years of experience and hours of research to do it right. I might take a stab at it, but my results would not be as well organized or as well written, and frankly Kevin is a better writer than I am.

If the article had been an attempt at 'technical writing', it would be unreadable. Fortunately, Kevin brings such a wealth of practical experience to the task, and such attention to IMPORTANT detail, that it is eminently readable.

Unfortunately, people who are new to a task and highly motivated tend to want a quick-and-dirty approach, which is not appropriate to reloading ammunition ... Kevin describes the process as "building little bombs that can blow up your gun and disfigure you for life (or kill you if you're REALLY unlucky)", and I think that's a fair description.

If you want the Real Skinny on reloading, read the article.

Also, read the comments ... a lot of decades of experience enhance the communal lore, and you can save yourself some money and a lot of heartbreak by forcing yourself to be open to accepting wisdom from a reliable source.

Kevin's article is full of exceptional wisdom, such as RTFM (Read The F**king Manual!). Again, to quote Kevin: "Read Everything!"

It's a long read, because it's difficult to cover the complex subject adequately to maintain the necessary margin of safety while reloading. If you could sit with an experienced reloader at his bench while he talked you through it, you would perhaps find it easier to digest but you wouldn't learn a lot more than is available from the article.

This is the kind of thing that Gun Magazines might have (but probably didn't) offer 20 years ago. Thanks to the Magic of The Internet, all of this Good Stuff is available to you for free, at the click of a button.

As Doctor Laura might say: "Go, Do The Right Thing"

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gun-Control Doctors - Part Deux

Two days ago --- TWO DAYS! --- I posted an article about "Gun-Control Doctors" with what I though were appropriate warnings, which most of you ignored.

I could hear you out there, sitting in front of your computers in your wife-beater t-shirts and swilling down beer with one hand and chomping on Pork Rinds with another, muttering "It cain't happen HERE, you right-wing nutjob!"

Don't hate me because I'm prescient, but today an article about JUST THIS SORT OF THING happened to show up in [gasp!] The Main Stream Media ... The Boston Herald for crissakes.
(H/T Sondra K, "Welcome to Hillarycare")

An Op-Ed by Michael Graham titled: "Doc, what's up with snooping? (Pediatrician paranoia runs deep)" offers anecdotal evidence in support of my claims that some physicians have become so convinced of their own righteousness that they are willing to go to any length, including subterfuge and mendacity, in support of their hidden agenda.

Thanks to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supported by the commonwealth, doctors across Massachusetts are interrogating our kids about mom and dad’s “bad” behavior.
The paranoia over parents is so strong that the AAP encourages doctors to ignore “legal barriers and deference to parental involvement” and shake the children down for all the inside information they can get.

And that information doesn’t stay with the doctor, either.

Debbie is a mom from Uxbridge who was in the examination room when the pediatrician asked her 5-year-old, “Does Daddy own a gun?” When the little girl said yes, the doctor began grilling her and her mom about the number and type of guns, how they are stored, etc.

If the incident had ended there, it would have merely been annoying. But when a friend in law enforcement let Debbie know that her doctor had filed a report with the police about her family’s (entirely legal) gun ownership, she got mad. She also got a new doctor.

In fact, the problem of anti-gun advocacy in the examining room has become so widespread that some states are considering legislation to stop it.
As titillating as this article is, I'm still not prepared to accept The Boston Herald as a sole source for evidence of a Jekyll/Hyde symposium in the AMA. Instead, I'm going to talk to some doctors who find this kind of physician misconduct unethical, reprehensible, illegal and unhelpful to their patients. In a word, doctors who agree with me.

The Clairmont Institute's "Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership"
project (DRGO) has been headed by a California surgeon since 1984, and they have made themselves the answer to the question "Who shall Guard the Guardians?" Here's what they have to say about your doctor advising you not to have guns in your home:

Some medical organizations have urged doctors to tell their patients about the dangers of guns. We all know that misusing guns can be dangerous, but the risks of guns have been blown way out of proportion by groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Even worse is the tendency of some medical organizations to inject their political views favoring gun control into patient education. That's simply unethical.
Here are the applicable passages from the Official Policy of the AMA in regards to the Fundamental Elements of the Physician-Patient relationship:

(3) The patient has the right to courtesy, respect, dignity, responsiveness, and timely attention to his or her needs.
(4) The patient has the right to confidentiality. The physician should not reveal confidential communications or information without the consent of the patient, unless provided for by law or by the need to protect the welfare of the individual or the public interest.
(Note: if this link doesn't work directly, go to the AMA Advocacy page, click on Policy Finder, then accept the terms & conditions. On the resulting search page, click "code of medical ethics (A-07), and then click on E-10.00 Opinions on the Patient-Physician Relationship
Finally, click on
E-10.01 Fundamental Elements of the Patient-Physician Relationship)

You can see from the AMA's own published policy that a family physician who indulges in a 'fishing expedition' into a family life style, unless seeking information which may explain a perceived medical condition, fails in regards to respecting the patient. Most egregiously, a lapse of confidentiality is entirely unethical and may in fact be actionable in this litigious society.

So what about the AAP, mentioned in the Clairmont quote?

I wrote about them last year. But I didn't really do a lot of detailed research. This year, I went to their home page, and clicked through ADVOCACY until I found a link to their Community Pediatrics Policy Statement. At the bottom of the policy summary I found a click to "Clinical Pediatrics", which I followed until I found a search engine, where I entered the search argument 'guns'.

There were 29 articles found, and without a subscription it's impossible to read the archived articles. However, the context of some of the article key-word/phrases suggested that it is common practice for pediatricians to question the children about 'non-clinical' situations in their home. Note that these questions are not necessarily asked in the presence of the parents, nor have the parents necessarily been given the opportunity to give their informed consent for this kind of questioning:

...Parental Attitudes Toward RB and Pellet Guns Dorothy T. Damore MD Pediatric Emergency...perceptions of the dangers of BB and pellet guns. A convenience sample of three groups...children had been injured by BB or pellet guns; the gun group, which consisted of...

... and ..

...they never used. Now, the bullies have guns. So do the psychopaths, the schizophren...campaign slogan in 1996, "It's the guns, stupid!" The U.S. has the highest...suicides and accidental injuries from guns. The presence of Clin Pediatr. 1999...

... and ...

..temperature (<120?>guns. These areas were chosen because of...detector on each floor?" ? "Are there guns in your home?" If yes, "Do you use...tap water temperature, storage of guns, and use of automobile child restraints...

... and ...

...Diego (continued) Injury prevention Gun safety Educational materials and discussion around gun trigger locks, lock boxes for guns, and overall prevention and gun safety Resident obtained AAP CATCH grant to expand work. School success Project looking at...

Sentence fragments taken out of context are not proof of intrusive questioning or gun-control advocacy, true. But some of the examples shown here make it difficult not to jump to conclusions.

One article is seemingly devoted entirely to questions about guns in the home and parental attitudes toward them. The next equates firearm ownership with 'psychopaths and schizophrenics', openly citing political campaign slogans (as if that has anything to do with child health care) and dubious statistics.

The third article appears to outline a flow-chart for grilling children about guns in the home: '" Are there guns in your home?' If yes ... ".

The fourth article focuses questions about 'gun safety' around ways to render home firearms inoperable or inaccessible in case of a home-intrusion emergency.

Nothing in the available summaries suggests the possibility that a home can be safe to children if a firearms is present. I suspect that many who read this article grew up in a home where firearms were an unremarkable fact of life, with no accidental child death to mar a bucolic childhood.

We know that we have politicians who are physicians; witness Howard Dean.

Unfortunately, there are far too many physicians in this country who fancy themselves politicians and in the process abuse their position of trust to advance their own private agenda. Worse, their professional associations not only fail to curb these excesses but encourage, aid and support them.

If that's right, when your children catch a cold, you should ask the owner of your local gun shop for medical advice. Which is not entirely facetious, because he is probably as likely to cure the cold as is the pediatrician.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Not Dead Yet


Smith and Wesson Corporation, et al v. Town of Gary, et al
Case Number: 45A05-0612-CV-754


The City of Gary filed a complaint against a number of manufacturers and distributors of handguns. The City alleged that the manufacturers negligently designed and distributed handguns and created a public nuisance in Gary by failing to take steps to prevent criminals from acquiring and misusing their products. The manufacturers filed a motion to dismiss the City's complaint or for judgment on the pleadings and argued that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act ("PLCAA") required dismissal of the case. The trial court found that the PLCAA destroyed the City's cause of action but that the PLCAA was unconstitutional because it: violated the Due Process Clause, constituted an ex post facto law, and violated the separation of powers. On interlocutory appeal, the manufacturers argue that the PLCAA bars the City's lawsuit and that the PLCAA is constitutional. The City argues that the PLCAA does not provide a basis to dismiss this case and that the PLCAA is unconstitutional. The United States of America argues, as an intervenor, that the PLCAA is constitutional.
Click here for source, scroll down to:
"Smith & Wesson Corporation, et al v Town of Gary, et al"

(Note: requires REAL PLAYER to view the video of the arguments. Click here to download the free application, which requires that you close your browser to install.)

This Link (same as above) includes the summary which you see above, and also a (slow loading) one-hour video of the actual hearing in the Indiana Supreme Court. The legal process is fascinating. However, you may not want to spend an hour watching Judge Patricia Riley trash the appellant lawyer (hired by Smith & Wesson, Inc.) ... whose argument is that Congress has passed a law which obviates the original 1999 lawsuit, consequently this suit should be dismissed out of hand ... so I'll cut to the chase.

I was informed about this new ruling via subscription email from The Shooting Wire. Unfortunately, there is no "permalink" to Jim Shepherd's excellent summation, so although I would ordinarily provide a link to the source article, in this single case I (reluctantly) will post the entire contents of this ephemeral article here:
Gary Gun Case Points Out Legislation From The Bench

On Monday, a three-judge panel of the Indiana Appeals Court heard oral arguments in the matter of Gary, Indiana versus the firearms industry (Case #45A05-0612-CV-754). After some very direct questioning, it appears the court might actually allow Gary to go forward with its 1999 lawsuit despite the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that was approved in 2005, specifically for the purpose of shielding the industry from liability claims involving criminal misuse of firearms which were legally manufactured and operating in the manner in which they were designed.

The judges seemed to be taking the opinion that until a law had been upheld in the courts it really wasn't a law. Or as Judge Patricia Riley put it "How can they be changing the law when it hasn't been decided by the courts?"

Michael Rice, a Dallas attorney representing the firearms industry and Isaac Lidksy, a U.S. Department of Justice attorney, both disagreed with Judge Riley, arguing that Congress had decided the Gary lawsuit - and others like it - posed a "threat and burden on interstate and foreign commerce."

Lidsky also said Lake County, Indiana Judge Robert Pete was wrong last year when he became the first judge to declare the act unconstitutional. As Lidsky rightly stated, the federal government regularly preempts state common law in the case of liability issues. Further, Lidsky said, Pete wrongly asserted the federal law infringed on the duties of state courts.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's attorney, arguing in support of Gary, said the industry's argument was based on the "statute they wish the Congress had passed" - contending the federal law only gives immunity to the firearms industry in cases where manufacturers and gun dealers did nothing wrong.

That's an important point in the Gary lawsuit. It alleges the industry - including manufacturers and gun dealers - created a public nuisance by failing to prevent criminals from illegally obtaining and misusing handguns. That questions Indiana's public nuisance statute - and its applicability in this case.

The Indiana Appellate Court judges appeared to be leaning toward, not surprisingly, Indiana state law over the new federal statute. Judge John Sharpnack went so far as to say the courts had yet to decide if the industry facilitated illegal straw-man purchases that "resulted in the city of Gary having to deal with a sea, if you will, of illegal firearms in their community."

To the firearms industry, such a comment may seem laughable, but in this instance, it's no laughing matter. The courts are increasingly inclined to rule on their personal opinions rather than the law - especially when it comes to firearms.

It appears - at least from my time spent watching the proceedings (Indiana's online web video system is a very good idea, incidentally), the judges will most likely allow the suit to proceed. The wildcard in the entire proceeding is Indiana's nuisance statute and the Appellate Court's seeming intent on seeing that law upheld - at least to the point that it, too, was given its day in court.

Long story short - no decision at press time - but it appears the firearms industry, despite a federal law designed to stop baseless lawsuits, will continue to be forced to defend itself against lawsuits that have very little basis in fact, relying on anti-gun hysteria and an increasingly activist judiciary where they have failed to pass anti-handgun legislation when argued on the facts.

The fact of this matter is that, in this matter, facts apparently don't matter.

We'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd
The hearing took place on October 1, 2007. Although I performed an extensive internet search, so far (as of 8:30pm PST, October 3, 2007) I have been unable to find any other source which provides any reference to this hearing.

However, I did find internet sources which expand on the theme and cite background information on the lawsuit, most notably from The Munster, Indiana Times (which is 'almost' real-time, and includes some comments which were obviously written after the results of the hearing were made public ... locally.)


Shepherd gave an excellent summary of the short-term consequences of this ruling. "The judges will ... allow the suit to proceed." That means that an Indiana court will hear the arguments from both sides, and decide on the merits of those arguments. If the Plaintiff wins, S&W may be obliged to pony up some significant cash ... you can expect to see this appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, at great expense to the folks whose taxes pay for these pin-head/angel-dancing discussions. My best layman's guess is that the Supreme Court will support Congress, and uphold the PLCAA. Or not, in which case we will see more rounds of "Same Stuff, Different Day."

Judicial Assumptions:
But what if The Supremes don't swing that way? The most interesting quote (so far) comes from Judge Riley: "How can they be changing the law when it hasn't been decided by the courts?"

It's not a question which most of us would have considered. But then, most of us aren't judges in a State Supreme Court, and we aren't confronted with a Federal Fiat.

Legislative vs Judicial Branch:

The context is generally assumed to be that the Legislative Branch of government makes the laws, the Judicial Branch interprets them. Here, a new piece of legislation proposes to short-circuit an existing legal motion by unilaterally declaring that such legal actions are no longer legal. Can they do that? This is the question which judge Riley seems to be asking.

State vs Federal Jurisdiction:
It may be more important that a State court is dealing with a new Federal law, which applies to a pending action at the State level. It may be likened to a question of primogeniture. The pending legal action may, if Riley's question is answered in one way, take precedent over the new law. Who came first -- the chicken or the egg?

This goes beyond the question of what was originally considered a 'frivolous suit', which Congress declared was based upon responsibility for the consequences of the illegal action of a 'gun-owner' (who may not have been in legal possession) with a firearm which was legally sold by the manufacturer.

If you're confused, you're in good company.

And if I were a betting man (which I'm not), I'd call it six-to-five for the defendant ... the firearms manufacturers. Why? Because it seems to me that the defendant built a safe product and distributed it according to the existing ordinances. Further, the firearms industry is already held to a higher standard than any other manufacturer. This would work if the question was "Product Liability", of course, but the question raised by the court is Indiana's Public Nuisance Statute, and I have no idea how it is written (and I refuse to research THAT can of worms!)

I will reiterate Shepherd's statement:
That's an important point in the Gary lawsuit. It alleges the industry - including manufacturers and gun dealers - created a public nuisance by failing to prevent criminals from illegally obtaining and misusing handguns. That questions Indiana's public nuisance statute - and its applicability in this case.
How a manufacturer can regulate the end-user is completely beyond me, so I find myself in the same legal quandary as you doubtless find, ultimately ... confusing.


Y not?

Hell Yeah!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Gun-Control Doctors

According to NRA-ILA, only two states continue to forbid Right To Carry (RTC): Wisconsin and Illinois.

In 2005, Wisconsin legislature passed a RTC bill but it was vetoed by the governor. As recently as August, 2007, Governor Doyle is still fighting hard to " ... [force] Wisconsin’s law-abiding gun-owners to forfeit their Second Amendment rights. Not since his 2001 effort to ban the possession of all firearms other than single-shot rifles, pistols and shotguns has Doyle waged such an assault on the basic individual freedoms of the citizens of the Badger State."

It's obvious that Governor Doyle is a 'one man band', determined to pursue his own agenda. Considering the long history of conflict between the governor and the legislature, one wonders what factors may have been involved in the governor's adamant stand.

One influence may be the 2-page manifesto published in 2005 by the Medical College of Wisconsin / Firearm Injury Center.

The Guest Editorial by Stephen W. Hargarten, MD, MPH, titled "Public Health Implications of Carrying Concealed Weapons: Have We Thought This Policy Through?" was published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal - 2005 - Volume 104, Number 7.

One wonders whether Governor Doyle has read this, and whether it influenced his thinking. Keep those questions in mind while we examine the contents ... which often wrong, always agenda-driven.

The policy discussion about conceal and carry laws has been largely focused on crime, with supporters arguing that personal protection with firearms lowers the crime rate. A recent report of the National Academies of Science has concluded, however, that the available body of research does not support claims that conceal and carry laws have a measurable impact on crime.
On the contrary, there is sufficient anecdotal AND statistical evidence to the effect that states with RTC laws have experienced a lowering of Major Crime (Rape, Assault, Homicide, etc.) subsequent to the enactment of RTC laws.
A main concern about the conceal and carry legislation is the potential public health risk of injury to vulnerable populations, especially youth. Wisconsin’s youth suicide rate is 36% higher than the national rate.
It is disingenuous to relate adolescent suicide with RTC, since minors are not eligible for Concealed Carry licenses in any state in the union. There is a suggestion that minors will use the firearms owned by their parents, who usually would have owned the weapon regardless of RTC laws. Also, since 96% (48 out of 50) of the states have RTC laws in some form, it's telling that "Wisconsin’s youth suicide rate is 36% higher than the national rate." If the suggested relationship did exist, Wisconsin -- which still forbids RTC -- should have a LOWER youth suicide rate.

In the event of such legislation succeeding in this legislative session, two important issues should be considered. First, what kinds of guns should be allowed to be concealed and carried? ... [T]he safety of particular types of firearms should be studied. Design defects in firearms contribute to unintended fatalities. One such design defect, exposed hammers that rest on firing pins, is present in the Ruger Blackhawk revolver, and has been associated with over 40 deaths and numerous injuries.
Wrong, and misleading. The Ruger Blackhawk (I own two, both purchased over a decade ago) features a 'transfer-bar' system. The hammer does NOT rest on the firing pin. Unless the hammer of this single-action revolver is pulled back to full-cock, and the trigger pulled back, it is not possible for the forward momentum of the hammer to impel the firing pin against the primer.

There is no reasonable justification for this erroneous statement to be included in what purports to be a scholarly essay. It not only demonstrates the ignorance (or deliberate subterfuge) of the author, the statement is apparently included to impose a 'scare factor' upon the reader.
The design and safety characteristics of firearms should be taken into account when determining the types of weapons that may be carried concealed. This is particularly important since past legislation would have immunized firearm manufacturers and dealers from liability for design negligence. Unlike almost all other consumer products, there is no national product safety oversight of firearms. Legislators may wish to limit the availability of more dangerous firearms through safety standards such as California’s “drop safety” requirement for all new handguns sold in the state.
Wrong, and misleading. "Past legislation" is obviously referring to a Federal law prohibiting civil suits against firearms manufactures for the mis-use of their product by careless or felonious users of their firearms. Armorers are as liable for 'design negligence' as are any other manufacturer, unless the manufacturer happens to be located in China.

As for the California "Drop Test" law, that was a patently obvious (and successful) attempt to drive firearms manufacturers away from the California firearms market. Many firearms manufacturers have discontinued much of their sales from that state because the law requires them to 'donate' examples of their product for destruction-testing ... with no compensation when their pistol (for example) is return after having been repeated dropped on a concrete floor from a height of six feet.
It is estimated that as many as 30,000 applications for permits will be made in the first year of conceal and carry and that as many as 100,000 permits will be issued over a 5-year period. The public health implications of tens of thousands of individuals carrying handguns with a spectrum of potential safety defects have not been adequately discussed

A spectrum of potential safety defects?

That's fairly vague. Okay, let's discuss that.

Product Liability laws apply to firearms as thoroughly as they apply to Mack Trucks. Defective products are a sure road to dissolution of a manufacturer, who will probably be obliged to sell everything he owns to pay to civil lawsuit to which he is subject. Enlightened self-interest. Enough said. End of discussion. Turn the page.
Emerging technologies, such as personalized handguns that would be inoperable to unauthorized users, should be critically examined. There has also been no evaluation of the risk that a legitimate conceal and carry permit holder could have his or her handgun forcibly taken away and used for criminal purposes. One study of law enforcement fatalities has found that 21% of officers killed with handguns while on duty were killed with their own service weapons.
  • The "emerging technologies ... inoperable to unauthorized users" thing still doesn't work, and even if it does it is usually not reasonable in a self-defense context.
  • Anyone who is attacked by a highly motivated predator will either be injured/killed by the predator by whatever means, or have the means to defend against said Goblin. I'm thinking, I'm more likely to be killed because I was unable to defend myself, than if I attempted to defend myself against an unarmed Goblin and failed.
  • When a police officer is killed with his own weapon, it's because he or she screwed up. It certainly isn't because he or she was in possession of a weapon.
  • What has this last bogus statistic to do with civilian Right To Carry laws?
how are we going to know if this policy has had a positive or negative effect? The National Academies of Science report recommends that more comprehensive data and analysis are essential to the development and evaluation of policies and programs that involve firearms. Currently, states like Wisconsin are unable to fully evaluate the effects of conceal and carry legislation.
How are you to know, unless you try it? Oh, wait ... could you maybe observe the results of RTC laws in the 48 states which permit their citizens to defend themselves?

Whose fault is it that "... states like Wisconsin are unable to fully evaluate the effects of conceal and carry legislation."

Could it be ... Wisconsin's fault?


Failure to address the public health implications of conceal and carry policies and practices may have unintended consequences for the health of the public. Do we really need this policy implemented to address crime and homicide? Do we want loaded, defective, or poorly-designed guns in our environment? Do we have the funds and infrastructure to accurately evaluate this policy?


Recommended reading

Guest: ARPC Single-Stack and Glock Matches

In response to my plea for someone who actually competed in these two matches, WhiteFish gave permission for me to post part of an email he sent me on the day after the match.

... Shot both the single stack and Glock matches over the weekend. The results from the single stack were best left there, however, I did have some good stages and bright spots.

You would have enjoyed watching Bob H*****, the god of steel, bang away with 8 shots on a mini-popper and then 6 shots at a regular popper on the next stage - only to discover the screw in the rear sight had come out and it was sliding from side to side with each shot. It was something to behold! H***** proving that he is actually human! I let Bob shoot my Kimber on our last stage which had some difficult long shots with no-shoots attached (and two low ports with swingers).

Al Austen won a Springfield .45 at the post-match drawing, as did Bruce Bennett. Scott Springer won the single stack match.

The weather at the Glock match was miserable. I was drenched (and eventually cold) even with a Goretex raincoat. I shot the new Glock 35 in 40 S&W - only about a hundred rounds through it prior to the match. It proved to be a "shooter". Finished 25th overall out of 55 shooters with a overall % of 64.5%, 3rd C Limited, and 6th of 14 Limited shooters overall with a Limited match % of 85% - not far behind Bob Scheussler, who is now in B Limited. That effort earned me a plaque that will be coming from Emanuel Bragg. Lots of shooters were bunched very close together, so I wasn't far out of the top 20 overall.

I shot with Bruce Bennett and Bill Mayne, essentially a squad of WA shooters except for me. BTW - Trevor Ott is nothing short of amazing. Trevor beat, shooting Production, 6 open Glock shooters, including Bill Marrs, while shooting a borrowed stock 9mm Glock belonging to his father!

My calves ache today, but otherwise I survived the weekend.

Note that the weather in the Albany, Oregon, area was threatening on Saturday, but the Single-Stack match was conducted under semi-dry conditions. For Oregon at the end of September, that's as good as we can expect.

The Glock Match started out on a wet, cold, breezy Sunday morning. The rain was minor drizzle all morning and intermittent rain the rest of the day.

You've heard that the Eskimos supposedly have a hundred words for snow? That may not be true, but the fact is that all languages have built-up words (such as German) based on a root word, and many phrases or expressions which are variations on the theme. In Oregon, we tend to be more discerning about the way we describe rain. For example: mist, 'light rain', shower(s), 'intermittent rain', rain, 'slanting rain' (rain and wind combined), 'heavy rain', "hard rain', downpour and 'gully-washer' might be considered a descriptive progression of precipitation.

As a Native Oregonian, I carry boots, gloves, umbrella and rain-gear in my car from Labor Day to Independence Day. When we go to matches during this period, SWMBO and I typically don boots and rain pants before we leave the house. Sometimes we find we don't need this much protection, but I can state with confidence that we wear raincoats and rain-pants at 90% of the matches during the 9-month "rainy season" in Oregon.

I'm surprised to see WhiteFish commenting on the weather here. I've seen him shoot all day wearing no more protection than a wool shirt over the same clothing he wears all year. When he says he "... was drenched (and eventually cold) " is remarkable. I was amazed to learn that he even owns a Goretex raincoat.

In the ten years we've been shooting together, I've never seen it.

Forget "Global Warming". It appears that Oregon has entered a "mini-ice age", folks.

I've also received email from other competitors, commenting on the experience of back-to-back eight stage matches. Gary G-Man had invited us over for a BBQ after the Saturday Single-Stack match, which we regretfully declined because SWMBO is still recuperating from Surgery. He writes:

Last weekend would not have been the best time to have a get-to-gather anyway. I always forget how tiring it is to shoot 8 stages in a day, let alone shooting another 8 stages the following day. My ol body rebels when my mind says it can do it.
Yeah. Well, at least you stepped up to the line and did it. The closest I came to the match was when I went to the 7-11 to buy the Sunday Papers, so we could do the crossword puzzles.

I've also heard that these two matches will again be presented back-to-back next year ... but in the summer. Sounds like a good idea.

UPDATE: 06-OCT-2007 - Match Results

2007 Single Stack Match
2007 Glock Match

Monday, October 01, 2007

Of Arms and the Law: ATF from the inside

Of Arms and the Law: ATF from the inside

The First Monday in October ... the date when the Supreme Court of the United States begins its deliberations for the year ... is an appropriate date for this subject. (click on the link above for the article.)

Of Arms and the Law offers this discussion about the director nominee (and current Acting Director) for the BATFE, Michael Sullivan. Word is, he may not be the best choice for ATF Storm-master.

Toto, we're not in Kansas any more.

OA&TL writer David Hardy also offers this link to a Times Online article decrying "Replica Guns", bought in Germany and smuggled into England. The Brits are 'up in arms' (you should excuse the expression) about these replicas, legally sold over the counter without restriction in Germany, which are converted into firing/lethal weapons in England. You can guess the purpose.

I'm reminded of Jeff Goldblum's line in Jurassic Park: "Life will find a way."

The point being, of course, that ...

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

It seems silly that we feel obliged to constantly remind The Brits of this Law of Nature, especially since they just ... don't ... listen.

Silly Buggers.