Thursday, October 18, 2007

The rest of the story

The Story: - Dallas Man Shoots, Kills Second Burglar In 1 Month

A 70 year old veteran and business owner shot and killed a man who was attempting to burgle his place of business. This is the second burglar he has killed in the past three weeks.

The businessman, James Walton, was not arrested after either shooting. However, his two shotguns were confiscated and a Grand Jury will hear the question about whether he should face any penalties.

The Back Story:
Rebecca Aquilar, a local Fox News television affiliate reporter, found Walton returning to his car in a shopping center parking lot after he bought a new shotgun. Positioning herself inside his open car door (so that he was unable to leave), she questioned him despite his repeated statements that he didn't want to talk to her or to have his face shown:
"Are you a trigger happy kind of person? Is that what you wanted to do, shoot to kill?"
The Rest Of The Story:
The video of the newscast was all over the Internet for three days, until the television station caused it to be removed because it was "proprietary material".

The station then suspended the reporter. Supposedly, for 'journalistic improprieties'. We call it "ambush journalism".

No doubt they were embarrassed by their own lack of journalistic ethics. Didn't they send her on the story? Don't they have an editorial board to review and approve features before are broadcast? That seems the be the question of the day.

Breitbart.TV News, however, created an 8-minute video which features 'selections' from that original video, which is a legitimate usage of proprietary material (as opposed to publishing the entire content) along with appropriate commentary. This makes the TV station actions the focus of the story.

Sondra K ("Knowledge Is Power") has the link to the Breitbart.TV News feature, as well as links to other explanatory text. Rather than put the same links here, I suggest you go to the Sondra K. feature. She did the legwork, she deserves the traffic. (Read the comments appended the the Breitbart video, to see the sense of outrage it generated.)

Besides, "Knowledge is Power" is a fascinating blog and one which I visit at least two or three times a week. I may be moving it to the 'Websites that I visit every day' section of my sidebar.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Home Back-Up Protection

The Back-Up

(H/T: Conservative Scalawag)
Very interesting, but it won't fit on my waterbed.

Guess I'll just have to stick with the mossberg 590 laying on the floor, the 1911 in the nightstand, the Blackhawk .41 magnum in the computer desk, the ... hey, none of your business!

Still, it's an interesting idea, although prone to staining the sheets with gun-oil and making your bedroom stink of Hoppe's. Hey, that's an aphrodisiac, right?

"Many customers are buying one for each side of the bed!"
Sounds like a really rocky relationship.


Defense Tech: Josh Rushing on the AK-47

(H/T - Castle of Argghhh! - H&I Fires October 16, 2007)

Whether you think the AK47 is "The gun that changed the world", or a piece of junk, you can't deny that the availability of a relatively cheap, relatively reliable honest-to-gosh Assault Rifle has put a lot of firepower in the hands of a lot of people.

Often these are people whose concept of firearms maintenance is primitive at best. We're talking about the same folks who think shooting full-auto bursts into the air, with no concern about where the lands round, is 'kewl'.
*(embedded video is 27.l3mb from Yahoo, downloads as you play it.)*

Click on the Defense Tech link for the full information, which also includes links to accompanying text AND a plethora of personal comments. You'll find that as many people there mirror your own opinion ... almost regardless of what your opinion is.

I can't speak for the accuracy of Josh Rushing's commentary, but it's 11+ minutes of interest for this Vietnam Veteran.

One thing which should be mentioned:
When I was in Vietnam, I heard rumors that the U.S. forces (especially "Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols -- LRRPS or LURPS) had found it effective to leave captured AK-47's where wanna-be VC could find them.

The 'top' of the breach on the AK was latched by a spring-loaded latch at the rear. The LRRPs would weaken the spring-metal on the latch so that it would hold it down until the gun was fired. This was done by simply stressing the metal. When the AK was fired, the latch would soon give way so that the breach cover released. This exposed the bolt and mainspring, allowing the bolt mechanism to travel past its designed limits. The bolt would be ejected to the rear with great force, speed and momentum causing grevous injury to any body parts in its path.

So rumor went. If the rifle was fired from the shoulder, it would be expected to, minimally, crush a cheek-bone. In actual practice, it was probably fired from the hip and the injuries were not likely to be fatal or even debilitating ... unless it broke an arm or took off a chunk of the rib-meat.

I can't attest to the veracity of the story, but it was some small consolation to those of us in the boonies.

A more believable war-story (all these from the 1st Infantry Division in 1969-1970 in the Dian area) is that of a young 2nd lieutenant on the first night of his first 8-day patrol. He had a squad of his platoon spread out in-line in a night ambush covering a known VC path. In the middle of the night a VC discovered the ambush, found a place at the end of the line and hosed the entire squad with a banana-clip (30 rounds) from his AK. They young lieutenant was not the only U.S. soldier to lose his life that night.

You can say what you will about the AK-47, but I know that it worked often enough to be an effective weapon in Vietnam.

Speaking of which, if you watch the video you will see comments about the unreliability and tendency to jam of the M16.

The early M16 did not have the 'forward assist' feature. Most of the problems were caused by fouling of the bolt, which allowed it to move forward without actually going into battery. It was difficult to recognize this situation, and more difficult to correct it.

Later versions (in place when I went 'in-country' in September of 1969) featured the forward-assist, and we found this to be an entirely reliable way of insuring that the rifle was functional

Other improvements included:
  • the introduction of LSA rifle lubrication
  • an understanding that not only the rifle, but also the magazines and the ammunition needed to be cleaned regularly
  • appreciation that magazines (both 20-round and 30-round) needed to be 'underloaded' by two rounds to insure reliable feeding
  • the issue of plastic 'zip-top' baggies to keep loaded magazines clean and dry in magazine pouches
  • a regimen of using up 'old ammunition' between missions on the practice range
  • the practice of always cleaning your rifle (often including using barrels of gasoline as a solvent!) EVERY time you completed a mission, and quick-cleaning your rifle at least every other day whether you used it or not
During the 12 months I was in Vietnam, I never heard of a single major malfunction with an M-16 when these procedures were observed and ritually practiced.

The M-16 was still a mouse load, and those fast, light bullets still couldn't be relied upon to push through the jungle to their target. I carried an M79 grenade launcher (loaded with 'canister' rounds ... buckshot) and backed up with HE rounds and flare 'illumination' rounds, as well as a 1911 .45acp pistol.

Still, my platoon never got a kill that wasn't directly attributable to artillary, the claymore mine, "booby traps" or the M-14 carried by our point men.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Mark Steyn on Gun Control?

Mark Steyn on National Review Online

"... on CNN the other night Anderson Cooper was worrying about the homicide rate in Philadelphia.

The city of brotherly love is the murder capital of the nation, and CNN had dispatched a reporter to interview the grieving mother of a young black boy killed while riding his bicycle in the street. Apparently, a couple of cars had got backed up behind him, and an impatient passenger in one of them pulled out a gun and shot the kid.

Anderson Cooper then went to commercials and, when he returned, introduced a report on how easy it is to buy guns in Philadelphia and how local politicians are reluctant to do anything about it. This is, again, an argument only the expert class could make.

In the 1990s, the number of guns in America went up by 40 million but the murder rate fell dramatically. If firearms availability were the determining factor, Vermont and Switzerland would have high murder rates. Yet in Montpelier or Geneva the solution to a boy carelessly bicycling in front of you down a city street when you’re in a hurry is not to grab your gun and blow him away.

It’s the culture, not the technology."

I've been trying to make that point for years, but without notable success.

Who can compete with the genius of Mark Steyn?

(Go read the whole thing)

Schwarzenegger signs handgun microstamp bill

Schwarzenegger signs handgun microstamp bill

This would be AB1471, which was approved by the governor on October 13, 2007.

(Here is the full and complete text of the bill as it was approved; the last update of 9/17/2007.)

As we discussed in September, 2007, the Gun-Control activists in California have been pushing The Governator to enact draconian anti-gun bills during his reign term in office, and now they have succeeded in Act II. (Act I was the 2004 "Drop Testing" of handguns. It also included, in the same year, the ban on private ownership of .50 caliber rifles. See here and here.)

The Governator's justification was:
"While I appreciate and understand that this technology is not without limitations, I am signing this bill to provide law enforcement with an additional tool for solving crimes committed with semi-automatic handguns in California," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Translation: "I know the technology is unproven and dubious, but it makes me look good to actually sign a bill once in a while; with the other bill I signed last week, this puts both the Anti-gun lobby and the Gay Rights lobby right in my pocket. My message to Family Rights and Gun Rights people is: there aren't enough of you to affect my next election, so Hasta La Vista, Baby!"

The effect on gun owners is uncertain at this time. This is partly because news reports indicate that it only affects NEW guns:
Activists had called for the legislation, which requires new models of semiautomatic handguns sold in California to have internal parts that "microstamp" shell casings with codes that identify the guns when they are fired. Revolvers are exempt. [Ed. - emphasis added]
But the text of the bill which was made available in September suggests a much more draconian effect:
By expanding the definition of "unsafe handgun," the manufacture, sale, and other specified transfer of which is a crime, this bill would expand the scope of an existing crime, and thereby impose a state-mandated local program.
Note the added emphasis: "the manufacture, sale and other specified transfer of which is a crime."

This strongly suggests that not only is the designation of "unsafe handgun" not just applicable to new "gun models", or new guns ... it applies to any "semi-automatic pistol" which is transferred to another owner.

California owners cannot legally sell or trade or give away a firearm which is designated as an "unsafe handgun". If you're a California resident that means, for instance, that the 1911 which Grandpa brought home to commemorate the Battle of the Marne cannot legally be handed down to your children or grandchildren. It means that if you have a Glock 19 and your friend has a Kimber, you can't swap them whether or not there is an exchange of money involved.

It means that you can't take your Beretta down to the gun store and exchange it for a revolver. In fact, you can't even sell it to the gun store.

What happens when you die? That Colt Gold Cup can't be part of your estate unless it is retro-fitted with the "microstamping technology" --- which The Governator has coyly admitted is "not without limitations".

What happens if, by January 1, 2010, the "microstamping technology" has still not been proven? Oh, no problem: the bill is not enforceable until " ... the Department of Justice certifies that the technology used to create the imprint is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions."

Another consideration is that, even though the assumption is that the microstamp will be either on the firing pin (imprints on the primer) or on the breechface (imprinting on the base of the case), the actual text of the bill requires that the firearm be "... designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol, etched or otherwise imprinted in two or more places on the interior surface or internal working parts of the pistol, and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the firearm is fired ..."

Technically, this requires not ONE but TWO imprinting arrangements, which more than doubles the technological challenge. Nobody seems to have questioned whether the primer is considered part of the 'case', as the term is used (but not defined) in the law.

The effect on the manufacture and sale of new guns
is also uncertain. We can only look back on the 2006 "Drop Safety Requirements" to discern the guidelines. You will recall that this law (section 12128 of the California Penal Code) required handgun manufacturers to submit THREE handguns of the specific make and model for testing ... which includes dropping all three handguns on a concrete surface from a height of about 40". If any handgun fails any of the six tests, the make and model will not be certified for sale (failure is if the cocked hammer falls.) This is obviously 'testing to destruction' as the handguns will not be suitable for resale -- being as they are likely to be all dinged up!

Some manufacturers (STI specifically, with 25 models of 'semi-automatic pistols' in their current line) refused to yield to this unreasonable obligation. Manufacturers who gave in to the last (Act I: 2004) round of excessive gun-control legislation are likely to take a second look at the profitability of selling to California buyers when Act II becomes effective.

One more time, just for the record: this is not a safety issue, this is not a 'crime stopping' issue, it's not even a 'crime solving' issue.

It's a back-door 'gun control' issue ... just one more way to keep firearms out of the hands of honest citizens. And that means that by signing the bill, Arnold the Barbarian has signed the bill for purely political reasons.

He wants to be re-elected.

What do you know about the AR15?

I got a letter today asking for information way beyond my experience. Maybe you can answer some of these questions:

I'm Lee ****** and I live in Spokane. I've been active in USPSA pistol shooting since March and am having great fun building guns, reloading ammo, and shooting a large quantity of rounds. We do a little 3 Gun activity at a couple of shooting clubs in the area and I am thinking of buying a used AR-15 (Rock River). I caught your blog in a Google search and thought I'd ask for some advice, if you have the time.
Do you reload for the AR? Is it any more difficult or hassling than standard pistol reloading? Is swaging of military primer pockets as easy as I have read it is? Finally, should I look for a .223 or 5.56 chamber?
I'm running a Dillon 650.
Thanks for the help.

If you can answer some of these questions, either post here or send me an email. I'll forward it to Lee and I'm sure he'll be grateful for your help.

Even if you do choose to contact Lee directly, the next reader who has these questions might appreciate the information here, so ... comments would be appreciated.