Friday, June 11, 2010

Musings of The GeekWithA.45

Musings of The GeekWithA.45 posted an article yesterday (June 10, 2010) discussing the effect of the Commerce Clause on the 1934 National Firearms Act.

Essentially, the Commerce Clause was not the excuse used for restricting access to firearms.

The justification was .... Taxation!

We probably kinda knew that, but we got all confused. (Okay, so I got all confused.)

If you want to understand how we all got to this sorry state of affairs, where the Federal Government justified its unconstitutional intrusion on the 2nd Amendment, go read the article.

When you're done, I'll have another sorry story to tell you.

Why did ATF suddenly redefine firearm transfers?

Why did ATF suddenly redefine firearm transfers?

David Codrea writes in the "Gun Rights" section of The Examiner that the ATF has suddenly, inexplicably, changed the definition of "Transfer" in regards to changing the physical possession of a firearm from one person to another.

Previously, if you "transfer" a firearm, it changes ownership.

Now, it is not necessary to give or sell a firearm to another person or 'entity', it is enough to let them have it.

Which means, for example, if you send your firearm to a gunsmith to work on it, you may have to complete all of the same paperwork as you would if you were selling it to the gunsmith.

And that applies to ANY other person. A gunsmith may not have a "dealer's license", so you would have to ship the firearm to a dealer, and the gunsmith would have to fill out the ATF Form 4473 before he/she could take possession ... not ownership, but simple possession ... of it.

Please note that this is not a bill in the legislature; Congressional oversight is not a factor. This is an administrative ruling ... by people that you did not get to vote for.

Jim Shepherd has a very nice write-up on this situation with a couple of embedded links to the applicable legal documents, on The Shooting Wire. Since I cannot link to it, I will add his two-cents worth by a full, direct quote:

Transfers, Paperwork and Questions


The ATF has very quietly reversed a forty-plus year interpretation of the Gun Control Act. Under the "new" interpretation, any shipment of a firearm by a manufacturer to any agent or business (that includes engineering/design firms, lawyers, testing labs, gun writers or whatever) for a bona fide business purpose to be a "transfer" under the Gun Control Act of 1968.

What that means is the amount of paperwork, red tape and potential for inadvertent ATF violations has been increased - exponentially.

Say, for instance, a gun company wants testing done at an independent lab. Under the "new" interpretation, the test gun must be transferred using a form 4473 and a NICS check as if it were a firearm being sold at retail. If the test facility does not hold a FFL, the gun must be transferred to a nearby dealer, local laws complied with, and the dealer now becomes responsible for tracking the firearm on his records. If the test facility is located in one of several locales that are decidedly firearms - unfriendly- then there are the inevitable delays.

Under this ruling, it might become easier for a registered company agent to actually take the firearm to the test facility and wait while the testing is done.

If there were any history of abuse in the longstanding process, modification might seem more reasonable and less capricious. However, the National Shooting Sports Foundation says the ATF has been unable to provide a single instance during the past four decades where a single firearm shipped in reliance on the ATF's rulings was used in a crime.

ATF officials admit it's a radical change. The longstanding interpretation of what is not a "transfer" under the Gun Control Act of 1968 was first made in a 1969 ruling ("Shipment or Delivery of Firearms By Licensees to Employees, Agents, Representatives, Writers and Evaluators.") It was upheld - and further clarified - again in 1972.

The bottom line...the ATF now says those long-standing rulings were wrong. Taking 42 years to decide that seems a little excessive, even for a federal bureaucrat. The NSSF has suggested that ATF "appears" to be under the impression that the Brady Act of 1993 changed what constitutes "transfers".

It is appropriate to use "appears" in that instance because the ATF admits that neither the Gun Control Act of 1968 or the 1993 Brady Act defines "transfer".

So why the change after forty years? Seems no one except the suits at the ATF can answer that question - and Deputy Director Kenneth E. Melson, the man who authored the ruling, is not talking.

You can read the ruling for yourself at

In a separate ruling issued Friday, the ATF has initiated a ruling that says ATF headquarters has oversight of all administrative actions prior to notices being sent to the licensee. In effect, this ruling establishes the final approval authority of denial of applications for licenses, suspensions, revocations of licenses or imposition of civil fines.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation's (NSSF) Senior Vice President, Assistant Secretary & General Counsel, Larry Keane says, "NSSF supports that all cases where revocation is recommended by the field must be cleared by ATF headquarters prior to issuance of notice to FFL. This will promote consistency of interpretation of the law and regulations."

You can read that ruling at:

More happening out there, and we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd

GO to the links, see what the rulings (again, not "laws") look like, and you can make up your own mind about how happy you are that unelected administrators can so blithly trounce upon your second amendment rights to Keep and Bear Arms.

OH, and the election promise by Obama that he "would not take your guns away from you"?

Witness Step Number One of the very convoluted procedure by which Obama is going to ... if not do that precise thing immediately ... make it extremely difficult for you to keep your firearms, and for any service industry to support your ownership.

I ... am ... so ... pissed!

I'm so pissed off, angry and (unreasonably ... we knew he was a politician and therefore a lying S.O.B.) disappointed that I'm not even going to rant about this.

Not right now, anyway.

New 'Red Dawn' to attack communism again!

New 'Red Dawn' to attack communism again!

Oh my!

Someone is trying to release a re-make of Red Dawn, the 1984 adventure movie which starred (among other 'young-gun' type Hollywood luminaries) the late Patrick Swayze and the almost-too-late Charlie Sheen.

And the Main Stream Media doesn't like it, no sirree!

Because this time, the Bad Guys aren't Cuban and Russian, but Chinese.

We're running out of Politically Correct Bad Guys here, folks.

Looking at the trailers on reddawn2010, it doesn't look like much of a movie. But HEY! It's Hollywood, they're not suppose to be accurate. All together now: "It's Only A Moveeeee!"

In the last few years there have been a lot of politically correct movies about America's fight against terrorism, most of which earned about a dollar and a half at the box office. Nobody (except the movie-going audience, the few of which actually watched them) complained about America-bashing Hollywood.

But to put the Chinese in the role of the Bad Guys! Wow! The MSM is all over it like stink on what-you-avoid-on-the-sidewalk.

The Guardian doesn't like. The New Yorker doesn't like it.

These sound like recommendations to go see the show, even though there isn't yet a release date (IMDB.COM does list it; but the November, 2o1o release date on the movie's website has a strike-out line drawn through it. I assume this means that it's still questionable whether the movie will EVER be released.)

Here's the trailer for the movie, and it is about as boring as it can be:

There's even a website set up called "Anti-reddawn2010". But it's a little difficult trying to figure out what it has to say, because it's mostly written in (you guessed it) Chinese.

The only good news, out of all this, is that there's an option on the reddawn2010 website where you can build your own "alert" against 'enemies of the state' (or "suppressive persons ... whatever).

Here's my own personal Alert: click for the full-size image.

Kinda helps get you into the mood, doesn't it?

Norm's Unforgivable Gift

I have been focusing on the misfortunes of others. That's unforgivable, indicative of a low sense of humor and faithlessness toward one's friends.

Perhaps I can make it up by showing something 'fortuitous' that happened on the range. Specifically, at an IPSC match.

Really, I'm amazed that it has not previously occurred to me, that I should report on Norm's Unforgivable Gift.

Again, this happened at Tri County Gun Club a few years ago, on a soggy damp morning in Bay Two.

I'm not entirely certain, but I think this was a classifier stage. A very simple one, at that.

The shooting problem was to knock down six mixed steel (Pepper Poppers and U.S. poppers), reload, then knock down six more.

Norm The Ungrateful was up, and we were primed for a six-second run, maybe seven seconds, max. And he had it going in, but he fired the first four shots ... and got a jam!

While Norm was fiddling with his pistol, trying to clear the jam as quickly as possible, the fifth popper just ... fell down.

It may have been a matter of habit; when Norm shoots, the steel falls like tenpins. Norm would probably be inclined to think he had knocked down the first four poppers so solidly that it set up a tremor in the earth. Or else, he just intimidated it down.

Whatever the reason, he was saved a shot (which shaved something like a quarter, perhaps a third of a second, off his stage time, which was a total of 11 seconds rather than the expected six seconds).

When he completed clearing the jam, he just knocked down the sixth popper, reloaded, and knocked down the last six. I'm not even certain that he realized, at the time, that one steel had sacrificed itself in a paroxysm of terror.

What amazes me now is that I have apparently never thought to post it here.

The thing is, we were all in such jaw-dropping awe that the Range Officer just recorded the time and score and let him walk away from what would normally be a "Range Equipment Failure".

We all knew he was going to win the match anyway, and it was only a Club Match. At least, that's what we told our private selves.

The truth was, we weren't entirely certain that this wasn't the way he had planned to shoot the stage.

[YouTube Link here]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The First "Fish Flop"

Given the great kerfuffle about yesterday's post describing WhiteFish's demonstration on "how to take a fall and come up shooting", it seemed necessary that I provide some visual documentation.

June of 2006, Tri County Gun Club, Stage 1.

Starting prone on a platform, grab your pistol from one of the barrel and engage all targets as they become visible.

Unfortunately, the barrels were staked down using 9" spikes. The ground was so hard, they weren't pounded in very deeply. it was difficult to avoid them when moving from one side of the stage to the next.

The inevitable happened
... to WhiteFish!

Fortunately he recovered quickly and with a minimum of damage.

The video wasn't filmed from the best angle, but it's obvious that he managed to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while rolling around in the dirt, and although he had to quickly clear a jam he kept his head and finished the stage as aggressively as he had begun it.

The man has the reflexes of a cat!

(NOTE: The title on the video is in error. The match was in 2006, not 2009.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Fish Flop

When I have new people (and they're always new) taking the Introduction to USPSA class, it helps a lot if they come with experienced friends. Often, these are the people who have already talked them into trying IPSC competition, and as part of the encouragement they bring them to the range in time for the class.

I like to draft these experienced shooters to be "Demonstrators". That means I run them through the exercises in the "Life Fire" portion of the class, so the folks see what it is suppose to look like when someone actually shoots the stage scenario. Then the new people try it. It's all part of the "We tell you what to do, then we show you what to do, then you do it, then we talk about what you just did" school of training.

That's the exception rather than the rule, though. Usually the "new people" are members of the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club, and they've done little more than contact Mike McCarter -- by "boss", sort-of -- and make arrangements to sign up for the next class.

That was the case last weekend. I had four "new people" for the class: Bruce and Margie, and Bill and Loci (pronounced like "Lucy", except the OH instead of the EWE sound). I was delighted to have two married couples show up. It's much more fun when couples can go shooting together, and it's an especially good sign when a man wants his wife to join him at the range.

I also had another member, who had been an IPSC shooter before but came by for the class-room segment. I had hoped he would be able to stick around for the "Live Fire" exercises, but unfortunately he had other commitments for the rest of the afternoon.

Acting as my own Demonstrator isn't the best approach. It's difficult for me to act as my own Range Officer, so I have to wing it. As usual, this means I hand the buzzer to one of the students, walk them through the Range Commands a couple of times, and then we just sort of wing it. This does have a slight advantage in that they learn the Range Commands faster, but they are distracted from the demonstration.

We worked this through the first hour and a half of the Live Fire exercise, when my friend WhiteFish showed up.

I asked him if he would be Demonstrator for me, and he decided he could do that. He got his gear out of the car and "geared up" while I was finishing the current exercise, and then I described the next exercise to the class ... and also to my Demonstrator.

This was going to be the first time we were going to try moving from one shooting position to another. We would start out engaging three IPSC targets from Box "A", then move down-range and to the right and engage two steel targets from Box "B", which was behind a Bianchi Barricade.

I hadn't noticed it, but WhiteFish was wearing his disgustingly dilapidated pair of pointy toed cowboy boots. When he half-turned to the right and started out of the box, those toes caught the one-inch high shooting box and he fell like a Helicopter with a shot-up engine.

Except for the auto-rotating part, which a Helicopter can do but a Whitefish cannot.

It was a thing of beauty.

He did everything exactly right. He turned it into a hip-roll, and even though his gun-hand was on the downhill side, he sacrificed his elbow by sliding it along the gravel. In doing so he kept the muzzle pointing downrange and his Open Glock out of the dirt.

As the dust settled, WhiteFish was curled in a semi-fetal position. I was standing over him, timer forgotten (it was still at shoulder height, pointing at the Fallen Warrior) when he looked up at me.

"Are you alright?" I asked him, conscious of the four pair of eyes behind me who have GOT to be thinking "Are we sure this is how we want to enjoy the Shooting Experience?"

My Downed Demonstrator looked around, checked himself out, and not finding anything broken nodded and said "uh huh".

"Well, the clock's still running. We're waiting on you."

My compassion for my fellow man is legendary.

WhiteFish jumped up crawled uphill until he got his feet under him, and advanced toward the Bianchi Barricade at his best speed. I noted that it was about half the velocity he had obviously been trying for Before The Fall.

But he got 'er done.

Still shaken, but not stirred, he took an extra moment to get a good bead on both the Pepper Popper and the U.S. Popper down-range. They fell with all the alacrity, but none of the style, which he had just demonstrated.

After completing the unload-and-show-clear thingie, we turned it into a teaching moment. Yes, we had planned this out ahead of time and of course he had deliberately scraped about a pound of skin of his elbow just to make it more realistic.

One of the students, I believe it was the naughty Loci (whose mother, it occurred to me, may have not known the correct spelling for Loki) asked if we would run through that one more time. She believed she may have missed some of the nuances.

Bill asked if this would be on the Final Exam.

Margie, every the practical one, was heard to mutter "I'm not doing that, no way!"

And Bruce was ... just not saying anything. He knew he was the next up in the shooting order, and he appeared to be calculating the distance from Box "A" to Box "B", and the height of both shooting boxes.

We finished the class, taking an extra class just because we were having so much darn fun. As we were hauling the target stands and steel back to the Prop Room, I offered WhiteFish ten bucks a day if he would just come out to the class once a month and Take a Dive for us again. I allowed as how it would be a great advertising gimmick, and I would split the "take" with him after we started selling tickets.

No, he didn't agree to it even when I upped the offer to twenty bucks.

Then I told the class about the offer, and his refusal.

That's when Loci turned to WhiteFish, and sweetly offered to pass the hat. The whole class was willing to chip in for an Instant Replay, if he would just wait until they retrieved their cameras from the car.

One thing is sure: if WhiteFish squads with me at the Certification Match next weekend, I know that I'll have four new shooters signing up for the same squad.

Plus, of course, the inimitable Hobo Brasser, who is always happy to end up the Last Man Standing.