Saturday, June 28, 2008

NPR and the Heller Decision

I did a lot of driving today, to and from the Area 1 match, and I spent most of that time listening to the car radio.

Wouldn't you know it; the only station that came in clear over the entire course of travel was National Public Radio (NPR).

There were a couple of 'panel discussion' venues presented, relating to Current Events. One subject which was never omitted was the Supreme Court's decision on Heller vs DC.

Invariably, and probably because the 'panels' were loaded with comedians (and at least one 'sex columnist'), the comments were at best dismissive of the value of the court decision vis a vis the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; at worst, they were deprecatory.

Also quoting from my imperfect memory, the NPR station quoted a (blogger or columnist ... I'm unable to find the internet reference ... does it exist?) to the effect that "Now that I can have a gun in the District of Columbia, I'll be sure to send a shoulder of Venison to Dick Cheney as soon as a deer attacks me on the Capital Mall". I'm certain that this quote is inaccurate in the details, but I am equally sure that the quote is true to the impression it tries to make.

That is, the only legitimate use for firearms is for hunting, and that use is not applicable to the Urban venue of the District of Columbia. The implication is that the entire question of Heller vs DC, and the SCOTUS decision that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, is without practical value.

This is only acceptable if you accept the basic premise: that the Second Amendment only applies to the use of firearms for hunting, and has no applicability to self-defense, or the acknowledgment that the Second Amendment was originally acknowledged to provide the citizenry with the means to overthrow a tyrannical Federal Government.

Well, NPR represents a Kinder, Gentler Nation, and it is loath to consider that a Federal government might be inimical to the Rights of Man.

Essentially, during my several hours of listening to NPR (which I do not exercise as a general practice), I discovered that this Publically Funded venue was unable to find a spokesman who was willing to venture that the SCOTUS decision had some value to the average honest citizen, let alone to the besieged and beleaguered D.C. Resident.

Okay, you don't listen to NPR on a regular basis. Why should you care?

You should care, because this is typical of the entire Liberal/Socialist/Gun-Control though process.

Here is the reportage from a D.C. radio station (WTOP) website:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court may have struck down the District's 32-year-old ban on handguns, but that doesn't mean you can go out and buy one today.

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles says D.C. will start issuing permits to own a gun in 21 days, once the Supreme Court hands their decision down to the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C.

"This is not open season with handguns," Nickles says. "We are going to strictly regulate the registration of handguns. There will be no authorization of automatic or semi-automatics."

[emphasis added

There will be no authorization of automatic or semi-automatics."

Note the attempt to equate "automatic" and "semi-automatic[s]" firearms here.

There we see a transparent attempt to confuse the public by listing "Automatic Weapons" (which are regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act) with "Semi-Automatic weapons" ... they are not the same, but this statement is entirely misleading to the average uninformed reader.

To continue:
The city may also require that trigger locks be kept on guns, Nickles says. The law will restrict people who are mentally ill and who are criminals from owning guns.
One of the issues of Heller VS DC was that the District required firearms owners to store their pistols and rifles in a non-usable condition; either locked with a "triger lock", or disassembled. This is one of the points which Heller addressed, although SCOTUS did not specifically address the issue of 'handguns' being stored with trigger-locks ... because handguns were banned, the question was moot. Now, DC will make it an issue.l

As for the question of "people who are mentally ill and who are criminals ...", these people are already barred from possessing firearms by Federal law. The inclusion here is mer showmanship; smoke and mirrors; obfuscation; bullshit.

Nickles says he expects to allow gun stores to open in the District. There are currently two people who are licensed to sell guns in the District, but there are no gun stores.
Here's another way in which Municipalities may attempt to avoid Constitutional Law. The District of Columbia is in an unique position, because they are not a State and, arguably, they are not a City. However, they can pick whatever argument suits their purpose, which is to deny access to firearms to honest citizens (who are the only residents who don't have 'em!)

They can allow ownership of firearms, but they can deny applications to those who would sell firearms. And they can deny the importation of firearms from outside the municipality.

This is the same legislative "Double-Whammy" which they have previously used, , in that they (a) disallowed the ownership if unregistered firearms, and simultaneously (b) disallowed the registration of all firearms.

It worked for them then, and they are willing to bet that it will work for them again. It took 20 years for the Supreme Court to address their egregious Gun Laws; they're willing to bet that they can throw up enough smoke and mirrors to make SCOTUS weary of addressing all of their petty local laws.

I thing they're right.

I think that D.C., Chicago, NYC and all other governmental entitites can nickle=and=dime SCOTUS to death.

And I have absolutely no doubt whatever that this is the tactic which they will implement, until it doesn't work any more (if that ever happens).

Then they'll try something else equally petty, and do it again and again, and they will tie up the Supreme Court once again, until they wear down the Supremes because, after all, they have more important issues to consider.

The comments (relying on my imperfect memory) included:

"Back when the 2nd amendment was written, did they have concealable muskets?"

"Well, they had voluminous panteloons."

"I bet they didn't have a lot of quick-draws, did they? And you know, it took them over a minute to reload."

The implications here are clearly that the technological circumstances which prevailed in 1791 are not pertinent to today's technology. This is a heavily beaten path to the argument that the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate concealable handguns and semi-automatic weapons, so the Constitutional amendment should not apply to modern firearms.

D.C. doesn't get it. NPR doesn't get it. Well, NPR might be excused because their show is obviously 'entertainment', as is evidenced by a panel composed of Comedians and Sex Columnists.

The thing is, we're paying for NPR. It's the National Public Radio, for crying out loud. It's supported by our taxes. But it doesn't represent us. Instead, it represents snooty Liberal Elitists, Comedians and Sex Columnists.

No wonder Al Queda considers us a nation of Godless degenerates.

They probably listen to NPR every day, just to keep the troops filled with righteous indignation.

Area 1: Geek Disappointments, not all bad

Oh boy oh boy, I'm going to the match this morning. USPSA's Area 1 tournament is running it's second day of full competition today, and I plan to drive the seventy-some miles to Sherwood, Oregon, where the host club (Tri County Gun Club) is holding the match.

I had planned to leave around 7:30, but for a variety of reasons I couldn't get out of town until 10am. That's not good, because the weatherman has forecast temperatures of 98 degrees today, and I won't get there until almost 11:30, which is when the sun really starts to bear down on the range.

Note that the range is in a 'hollow' (for our West Virginia readers: "Holler"); a flat-bottomed area surrounded by low hills. Very low hills, often nothing more than a high berm, but the effect is to act as a parabolic mirror reflecting heat from the thick gravel surface. Whatever the temperature, if the sun is shining the effect is that no matter what the weatherman says, it's hotter.

Being aware of the consequences of dehydration in the sun, I make a stop to fill my water cooler with ice, and buy PF50 sunblock and extra AAA batteries for my earmuffs and the dictaphone. I plan to shoot a lot of pictures, talk to a lot of people, see what's happing at The Big Match and maybe work up an article or two from it.

I was in such a hurry, I didn't even stop to grab breakfast. I know that there's a lunch break from noon to 1pm, and I want to watch some of the stages before I use the break to go talk to people.

I got to the range a little before the predicted time. I was scooting up the I5 corridor even though I had to stop for gas. (I paid $4.13/gallon at the ARCO station, it was $4.23 at the Chevron station a block away; there was a line at ARCO, the Chevron station was empty. Signs of the times.)

The parking was packed, but I found a backroad which allowed me to park with 50 yards of the last stage.

I rolled down the windows a bit to let whatever breeze to keep the interior from frying, and ran around the back of the car to grab my gear.

Iced water bottles from the cooler, tuck 'em in the camera bag after making sure the tops were screwed on tight. Last year I drowned an expensive digital camera because I dumped a bottle of water in the bag. Not going to make that mistake again!

Grabbed the earmuffs, and I even remembered to bring a belt hook to hang the earmuffs from when not shooting.

Went to the briefcase to get the trusty HP R967 digital camera, and came up with a handful of air.

The camera was still at home, 70+ miles away, sitting on my computer desk where I had laid it after downloading pictures from the TCGC Tactical 3-gun match last Sunday.

Understand, I never go anywhere without my briefcase, and my camera is always in the briefcase. That's why I never go anywhere without the briefcase.

Why didn't I check for the camera? See above. I just assumed it was there. Well, there's another mistake I'll never make again. (If you have never arrived at a match only to discover that you have forgotten to pack your gun, your ammunition, your magazines or your holster, then you haven't been to enough matches or you're more organized than I am. Okay, it's probably the 'being organized' thingie.)

For a moment, I considered the "The Hell With It!" option. It didn't take more than a couple of seconds to realize that there were a lot of people here that I haven't seen in a long time, and I wasn't about to pass up the chance to say hello again.

Besides, I could watch some of the best shooters in the world, in their natural element.

That's almost as good as participating myself, and after all I still have my pen and notepad, and the under-utilized 'dictaphone', so I packed what I had into the old green Dillon range-bag, and trudged through the sizzling gravel to Stage 12. (At least I think it was stage 12.)

The first guy I noticed was Guy Neil, who writes the Reloading column for the Front Sight magazine. Guy recently re-located from Idaho to Oregon because, well, he likes it better here.

We chatted a few moments, noted that I wasn't entered in the match and that I was just here to watch. Eventually the question arose as to exactly what I was doing here, if I wasn't shooting.

I briefly entertained the "The Dog Ate My Camera" excuse, but instead admitted to the embarrassing truth: "I planned to see what's going on, take a bunch of pictures, maybe write an article. But that's all gone south, because I forgot to pack my camera".

Guy was nothing if not sympathetic ... I think. "You forgot your camera? How are you going to take pictures without a camera?"

"It won't be easy", I admitted.

While we were talking, I saw Mikey Scribbles watching the stage. We said hi, I introduced him to Guy, we chatted long enough to learn that Mikey was suppose to be spending the day building a new deck at his house, but somehow had sneaked out to watch the match for a while. That's my kind of guy.

We parted, and I wandered into the Vendor Tent. The first person I stumbled against was Carl Schmidt, who exchanged almost the same "Hi, how are you?" dialogue as I had already suffered through with Guy. But when I came to the "I forgot my camera" part, Carl reached into his pocket and came out with a small digital camera. "Want to borrow my camera?" he offered.

Conscience and embarrassment warred within me for a significant number of nanoseconds until I snatched it out of his hand and said Sure, Thanks! He said he was leaving in the morning, so I had to get it back to him before the end of the day. I didn't even ask him how I was going to download the pictures before I disappeared into the crowd.

The details would work themselves out. I had a camera, and even though I had no idea how to work it, I got the how to turn it on and how to take a picture instructions from him before I bolted.

Then I started wandering through the match, taking a couple of means-nothing pictures along the way to make sure I knew how to work the camera.

Most of the stages I saw were familiar; either because I had shot them before (such as "50 Yard Standards", which alone made glad I wasn't competing today), or because they seemed the sort of stage one would expect to see at an ordinary Monthly club match.

I stopped in Bay 9, where a great deal of trouble had been taken to set up a maze with vision barriers. The entrance to the maze was a huge steel door -- it was a Barricade Door, and you had to break into the maze by striking a plate in the door using a huge steel 'door-knocker'. It was the most unusual stage of the day (in truth, it was unique!) I took a lot of pictures of this stage, while Clan Falkner was shooting it.

I'll talk more about the Barricade Technologies, Inc. Steel Door, and Clan Falkner, another time.

... Not All Bad
I spent the rest of the time until the lunch break watching that single stage, and when the 317 competitors broke for lunch I wandered around and said Howdy to a lot of people.

I saw Whitefish, who had one more stage to shoot before his day was ended. He had been so disappointed by his match so far, I caught him smoking a cigarette. He hasn't smoked for at least 5 years. I called him a bad boy, and waited until he was out of sight before I lit up my own smoke.

Evil Bill's Better Half, Nancy, was there with Bill. They were fixin' to shoot the Barricade Door stage. Nancy asked me about SWMBO. I explained that the Walking Pneumonia that SWMBO had been diagnosed with a couple of months ago was not responding to drugs. The doctor had her scheduled for a Bronchioscopy (sp?) and Biopsy, in which they stick a tube in your nose and down to your lungs, then take 'scrapings' to determine exactly what they have to fight since the increasingly heavy doses of antibiotic are not working. Nancy asked me to tell SWMBO that her thoughts and prayers were for her, and also for SWMBO's mailing address, which I promised to send her later because I didn't have it immediately at hand. [Note to self: send address to Nancy, c/o Evil Bill -- done!]

Later I saw Lisa "Smurfette" Munson, who greeted me with her usual big grin and even bigger hug. She also asked after SWMBO, and I gave her the same information. [Note: greetings to SWMBO from The Smurfette.]

Also, Rob and Caryn "MajorNyne": same greetings to SWMBO. There actually too many greetings to SWMBO to enumerate here, except ...

I saw Dale Hash, who asked after SWMBO and said (essentially):

"You know, when I first started shooting a few years ago, you and SWMBO were the first ones who greeted me, who made me feel really welcome. SWMBO was always friendly and helpful, and I really like squadding with you guys." (Note: SWMBO makes me look good; I get a lot of that, and I'm always grateful that she allows me to come to matches with her. )

I told Dale that it was just that he was a bad shot, he triggered SWMBO's maternal instincts. Also, she was afraid to do anything which would distract him from keeping the gun pointed downrange when she was his Range Officer. He laughed.

I saw Higbie, and his son Patrick.
Patrick says married life agrees with him and the cooking is fine. He now officially weighs more than his father, who has been on a stringent diet since his heart attack 3 years ago and looks great!

I also saw Bruce Gary, Area 1 Director and official statistician for this match. Bruce has also been on a diet (news to me) and has lost a lot of weight. I complimented him on his determination: "You look great! It makes you look younger, too. Still homely, of course, but other than that you look GOOD!"

Bruce chuckled and told me The Story:

You know, when I walked into the stats Shack the other day, someone said "Here comes half a Bruce". Someone else said "Yeah, now how do we get rid of the other half?"

I walked around for an hour, talking to people. Some I see every month at Club Matches, some I only see at the occasional Major Match.

Essentially, this was just another Club Match, writ large. I did the same things I do at a club match (except for the shooting part, of course), but I got to visit with a lot more of the Really Good People I've come to know in USPSA.

I like these people. To paraphrase Sally Fields: I like them. I really like them.

For example: two years ago, I DID shoot a Major Match at and when it came to the Awards Ceremony, one of our Ice Cream Squad members, Jim Blanchard, couldn't attend. He had to drive back home to California, so SWMBO volunteered to act as his proxy at the Prize Table. She found a nice 1911 slide for him, and gave it to me to send to him.

One thing and another interfered with that part of the plan. Either I lost the slide, or I lost his mailing address. Most often, I just forgot it. Jim never complained.

Last week I got an email from Jim, saying he was going to compete in the Area 1 match, and if I happened to show up maybe I could bring the slide?

Actually, this was the primary reason which I attended the A1 match today, because I knew where the slide was even though I had (once again) lost his address.

When I delivered the slide to him today, he was not perturbed that it took me two years and not a little bit of email exchanges for me to give him what was rightfully his. Instead, he was tickled that he got his prize. "There was no rush" he said. That's a good thing, because a two-year delivery date doesn't sound like a 'rush' to me. I was glad to end the embarrassment of inadvertently Bogarting his prize.

The thing about the 2008 Area 1 match was that it was hot. I mean, really hot.

Weather reports predicted 98 degree weather. At 6pm, my thermometer read 92.8 degrees, in the shade. At TCGC there was very little shade; and what there was, was thickly populated with sweating bodies.

(On the drive home, my car thermometer registered 101 degrees at 1:30pm, on the I5 corridor.)

By the end of the lunch hour, I was wiped out. I could conceive of no reason to bother the competitors while they're trying to shoot a match.

I found Carl in Bay 5, waiting to shoot his scheduled stages. Mindful of his warning that he was leaving 'tomorrow morning', I returned his camera. I had taken several pictures, some of which I hoped to recover; but because I had decided not to bring my laptop to the match, I had no way to download the pictures I had taken.

Carl offered to email the pictures to me, and said he was glad that I had some pictures of the "Barricade Door" stage because he particularly wanted to film that stage, but had not been able to.

As we talked, I mentioned that I was astonished by the dramatic weight lost of Bruce G.

"Yeah", said Carl. "Did he tell you about 'The Story'?"

"You mean the 'Half-A-Bruce' story?" I asked.

"Yes", he said. "He has been telling that story for two days. I think he likes the story more than he likes having lost the weight."


I've committed to going back to TCGC tomorrow, to get my own pictures and to get more stories.

I'll tell you more, then ... if you can stand it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

We Won! Sort of (Part 2)

Yesterday I posted comments re: Heller v DC which were a dismal reflection of my own pessimistic attitude about the on-going contretemps between gun-rights v gun-control activists.

I stand behind every word I said.

Still, I'm aware that such dour commentary is disheartening, so I spent some time looking for a more positive response from reputable commentators.

Thanks to the Michael Bane Blog, I found this article in the REASON magazine website. The folks who write for this publication are not only excellent writers, they are much smarter than I am.

Here's the short article from Dave Kopel:

Dave Kopel: Heller is a tremendous victory for human rights and for libertarian ideals. Today’s majority opinion provides everything which the lawyers closely involved in the case, myself included, had hoped for. Of course I would have preferred a decision which went much further in declaring various types of gun control to be unconstitutional. But Rome was not built in a day, and neither is constitutional doctrine.

For most of our nation’s history, the U.S. Supreme Court did nothing to protect the First Amendment; it was not until the 1930s when a majority of the Court took the first steps towards protecting freedom of the press. It would have been preposterous to be disappointed that a Court in, say, 1936, would not declare a ban on flag-burning to be unconstitutional. It took decades for the Supreme Court to build a robust First Amendment doctrine strong enough to protect even the free speech rights of people as loathsome as flag-burners or American Nazis.

Likewise, the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was, for all practical purposes, judicially nullified from its enactment until the 1930s. When the Court in that decade started taking Equal Protection seriously, the Court began with the easiest cases - such as Missouri’s banning blacks from attending the University of Missouri Law School, while not even having a "separate but equal" law school for them. It was three decades later when, having constructed a solid foundation of Equal Protection cases, the Court took on the most incendiary racial issue of all, and struck down the many state laws which banned inter-racial marriage.

So too with the Second Amendment. From the Early Republic until the present, the Court has issued many opinions which recognize the Second Amendment as an individual right. Yet most of these opinions were in dicta. After the 1939 case of United States v. Miller, the Court stood idle while lower federal courts did the dirty work of nullifying the Second Amendment, by over-reading Miller to claim that only National Guardsmen are protected by the Amendment.

Today, that ugly chapter in the Court’s history is finished. Heller is the first step on what will be long journey. Today, the Court struck down the most freakish and extreme gun control law in the nation; only in D.C. was home self-defense with rifles and shotguns outlawed. Heller can be the beginning of a virtuous circle in which the political branches will strengthen Second Amendment rights (as in the 40 states which now allow all law-abiding, competent adults to obtain concealed handgun carry permits), and the courts will be increasingly willing to declare unconstitutional the ever-rarer laws which seriously infringe the right to keep and bear arms.

As the political center of gravity moves step by step in a pro-rights direction, gun control laws which today might seem (to most judges) to be constitutional will be viewed with increasing skepticism. The progress that the pro-Second Amendment movement has made in the last 15 years has been outstanding. As long as gun owners and other pro-Second Amendment citizens stay politically active, the next 15, 30, and 45 years can produce much more progress, and the role of the judiciary in protecting Second Amendment rights will continue to grow.

Dave Kopel is Research Director at the Independence Institute, in Golden, Colorado. He was one of three lawyers at the counsel table who assisted Alan Gura at the oral argument on March 18. His brief for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association was cited four times in the Court's opinions.
Wait a minute! This was suppose to be a positive, uplifting and thoroughly reassuring note from one of the Key Speakers for the Second Amendment. He's telling us "As long as gun owners and other pro-Second Amendment citizens stay politically active, the next 15, 30, and 45 years can produce much more progress ...", and this is A Good Thing?

I don't want to wait and work for another 15, 30 or 45 months for the Federal Government to acknowledge that the Second Amendment means what it says. I don't have 45 years left in me; I want what I want, which is for the Socialists to quit screwing around with my life, and I want it now.

I'm tired of writing letters to the editor, to my congress-critters, and to total strangers. I don't want to write about the need to defend the Second Amendment here, I want to write about the high cost of reloading equipment and the funny things that happened at the last shooting match.

But Kopel tells me I have even another lifetime to fight for my rights? I'm tired of fighting for what was given to me by God, and what was guaranteed in 1791 with the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

This isn't as 'positive' as I had promised, is it?

I've got Good News for you, and I've got Bad News .

The Bad News is ... what Kopel said? That's the Good News .

Oh, wait a minute. Here's some good news.

Why is it good news?

It's good news, because the existing situation which the legal challenge addresses describes an Administrative Hell which is obviously designed to discourage firearms owners from meeting 'Reasonable Restrictions':
Under the gun law currently in place, firearms must be re-registered annually.

“Each time,” Gura said, “a tax is imposed, forms must be filled out, photographs submitted. A person who owns more than one gun will find herself or himself constantly in the process of registering each gun as it comes due for expiration. If registration is to be required, once is enough.”

He further noted that Chicago’s bizarre requirement that guns be registered before they are acquired often times makes registration impossible. The penalty for failure to comply with the registration scheme is that a gun not re-registered on time can never be registered again. Gura likened it to a requirement to dispose of a car if it is not re-registered on time with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

And you wondered why I called it "Administrative Hell".

TCGC Tactical 3-Gun: The Rest Of The Story

In case you still don't know what the Tactical 3-gun match (Oregon style) looks like, here's a video tucking 3 stages into one scene.

Mostly I developed the video so I could showcase Gloria Ganor's "I Will Survive" song.

Still, I think it's an interesting video.

Thanks to Alex and The Hobo Brasser for showing us how it works ... mostly with Pistol-Caliber Carbines.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heller v DC: We Won! -- sort of

By now you are probably aware that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has, on the last day of the 2008 session, rendered a decision on Heller v DC.

The short version is, we won. SCOTUS has ruled that the 2nd Amendment is an 'individual right', which supports their decision that the restrictions of firearms possession by the District of Columbia is an unconstitutional burden on the rights of the individual, and must be struck down.

The 157-page decision is available on the SCOTUS BLOG website here. I have converted the PDF file to a MS-WORD document, which you may download here. Unfortunately, the software (Able2Extract) is an imperfect tool, so you may be disappointed that some of the verbiage is illegible. However, it permits slightly more ability for the reader to copy and manipulate/paste the text, so I provide it as a courtesy. The file size, at 350KB, is about twice that of the original PDF (175KB).

I've only read the first dozen pages; I have a lot of reading to do so I can't provide you with a detailed analysis at the moment. I suspect that a lot of other folks are going to perform that service for you, so the best I can do at the moment is to give you my initial impressions based on secondary and tertiary sources.

Those sources include radio discussions, ABC, Michael Bane (both his blog and DRTV), Kim, the SCOTUS BLOG, Yahoo!, and Xavier.

One link (from Xavier) provides early comments from Illinois Junior Senator Barack Hussein Obama, who in a video interview states that the 2nd Amendment defines an "individual right" to own a firearm, and also "... that right can be limited by sensible, reasonable gun laws." [emphasis added]

Reasonable Restrictions

I think we will see a lot of new gun-control laws hustled through state legislatures and city councils in the immediate future. These laws will focus on 'reasonable restrictions".

For example, the city of Chicago is even now talking about "Registration" and "Licensing" and 'mandatory training to make sure the gun-owner understands the city's gun laws'. (The single-quotes here indicate that this is a paraphrase.)

The District of Columbia is already talking about limiting handgun possession to "one gun only", which barely skirts the limits of the SCOTUS decision ... but, apparently falls well within the context upon which the decision is necessarily based.

The SCOTUS consideration is not based upon the wide platform of ".. the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed", you see. It is based upon the platform of current DC gun laws: no handguns allowed, any legal firearm must be kept unloaded and either disassembled or rendered inoperable by means of a gun lock device.

SCOTUS only says that you can't keep people (non-felons, adults, not insane) from owning a handgun, and you can't render it inoperable to the point where it is not immediately available for self defense in the home.

The decision does not state, or imply, that you can possess a firearm outside the home. It does not state that you can have multiple firearms. It does not state that the municipality (etc.) cannot mandate registration and licensing procedures. It does not state that ... well, there are a lot of scenarios which are not even yet envisioned.

What it DOES state is that Richard Heller was precluded from having a handgun in his home for the purpose of self defense. Chicago District laws forbid owning an unregistered firearm. Chicago District laws forbid registration of a handgun. That two-pronged legislative restriction absolutely violated Richard Heller (and anyone else in a similar situation) from keeping a handgun for home defense.

That is the essential consequence of the SCOTUS decision.

But wait, there's more!

Another result of the deliberations is that the 2nd amendment is acknowledged to be an "individual right", as are all other rights in the Bill of Rights. The court was careful to make this point, and that is A Good Thing.

The court also careful to limit its decision (as stated earlier) to the situation defined by Heller; very few 'other' situations are addressed.

For example, the egregious 1930-something Miller decision was cited, and upheld. Why was it 'egregious'? The case involved a sawed-off shotgun which was deemed by the district(?) court to not be covered by the 2nd amendment in that it was 'not appropriate to the military', ignoring the fact that 'trench guns' (sawed off shotguns) had been used by the U.S. Army during WWI. Miller, the defendant, did not attend the trial, nor did a lawyer representing him. The U.S. Government attorneys presented the only arguments. Without a dissenting argument (which may have presented the "Trench-Gun" defense), the judge could only rule on the evidence presented, resulting in a decision which only represented a single side of the question.

Because the scope of the question did not include MILLER, SCOTUS apparently determined that this earlier decision could not be questioned. I have no idea why it was mentioned in the Assenting Opinion, but it is there.

I have heard (on the Lars Larson radio show) ... but have not yet found evidence to support it, that the question of whether the 2nd amendment represents an individual right was accepted unanimously (9-0) by SCOTUS.

However, the basic question of Heller was only accepted 5-4 ... whether the DC laws were unconstitutional.

There is, and will continue to be in the immediate future, much discussion about why 4 of the 9 judges declined to accept the Heller defense. When we have read the Dissenting Opinion, we will certainly have a better understanding of this. Early reports (especially the Rush Linbaugh radio show) made much of this.

I think ... knee-jerk reaction here; not a studied, reasoned evaluation of the available information ... that we must consider this a battle won. We have not won the war against gun control, and while the battle was important, it does not necessarily mean that we have won complete acknowledgment of the rights affirmed by the 2nd amendment.

The opposition (I'm tempted to speak in terms of 'satanically inspired groups who would keep us submissive under their thumb', but that would be just wrong in so many ways), are determined to infringe upon our rights. They have not yielded an inch. They will not yield, and we can expect to be assailed by ever more subtle infringement.

They can't keep you from owning a gun ... but they can keep you from owning more than one gun. They can keep you from owning an unregistered gun, and registration is the first step to confiscation under whatever laws they can imagine: "Unsafe guns", "Unregistered guns", "Unlicensed guns", and laws which make it difficult, if not impossible, to register or license guns, or to meet draconian standards of safety.

They can add taxes, restrictions and other financial burdens on guns and ammunition. I'm specifically referring to "Microstamping" requirements on guns and "Encoded Ammunition", both of which would provide minimal advantage to the the espoused intent to "make it easier for police to solve gun crimes" but which, in actuality, only impose unbearable financial burdens of firearms ownership and usage based upon unproven technology.

They can add so many administrative requirements to the purchase, ownership, storage and use of both handguns and ammunition that the average honest citizen is unable to jump through the arbitrary hoops. Do not allow yourself to assume that there are limits to their perfidy; remember, 90% of legislators at the local, state and federal level are lawyers.

Only yesterday, a state legislator and Defense Attorney stated that in defense of a child rapist who faced the death penalty he would "rip apart" child rape victims on the witness stand. How much objectivity can we expect from a profession which cultivates this minimal level of morality?

It grieves me to send such negative expectation, but at this time it is all too easy to become complaisant, and assume that we have no further need to defend our 2nd amendment rights.

The battle is over.

The war has just begun

Even though we have waited over 20 years to fight this battle; no matter how difficult it has been; the next battle will be much, much more difficult. And the outcome is far from guaranteed.

Believe it.

2008 USPSA Area 1 Championship - HOME

2008 USPSA Area 1 Championship - HOME

I've been remiss in my self-assigned duty to keep you informed on such issues relating to such competition shooting issues as I consider important.

The Area 1 championship is important, if only because the match venue is 'close to me'. That is, it's not inconvenient (if expensive) for me to drive to a match, compete, and return home in the same day.

The link above provides all information necessary to register for the match. Unfortunately, as the match begins in 13 hours, it's probably too late for me to attempt convincing you to participate.

Besides, the match actually began today (Thursday, June 26, 2008) with the Range Officer portion of the match. Not that 'competitors' (paying participants) were scheduled to shoot today; only "Staff" were permitted to shoot, unless special circumstances convinced the match administration to allow someone who was not a match volunteer to shoot this early.


The weather today was almost perfect for USPSA competition. The skies were overcast in the morning, with the cloud cover breaking up in the afternoon with a resultant ambient temperature in the mid-70's.

Friday, however, the weatherman predicts a sunny day with temperatures in the low- to mid-80's. Note that the host range, TCGC, is sited in what is essentially a gravel quarry. The flat area is surfaced in large gravel, which holds and reflects the heat of the sun.

Saturday will be Mostly Sunny, with temperatures reaching 95 degrees.

Sunday will be Partly Cloudy, with temperatures in the low nineties. In fact, an "Extreme Weather Alert" has been issued by the National Weather Service for the area this weekend.

What this means is that, if you will be at this match, you should dress lightly, apply sunblock lotion (and re-apply it during the day), stay in the shade, and hydrate!

By the way, there is essentially NO shade at the TCGC. Wear a hat and dark glasses, avoid he sun however possible (long sleeve shirts and wearing pants instead of shorts will avoid sun damage, but will probably feel too warm to you), and bring a lot of water ... preferably, ice-water.

I had chosen not to compete at this match before the Extreme Weather Alert was announced, for reasons not related to the weather.

However, I will be there on Saturday, at least. I'll be taking pictures, talking to people, with the intention of writing an article for the Front Sight magazine.

I am sure that the match hosts will be providing free water for anyone who is so unwise as to not bring enough. I'll also have some extra water, at least on Saturday (I may not attend on Sunday), so if you see me wandering around with camera and notepad, say hello. I will try to have enough cold water and ice to share, although you may have to walk to my Black Ford Explorer to get it (large blue cooler, white top ... help yourself!)

As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus use to say on "Hill Street Blues", "... be careful out there!"

Have fun, and good luck.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stop the Gun Show Loopholes

Xavier Thoughts: Gun Show Loopholes

Xavier Thoughts has the right of it:

There is no "Gun Show Loophole".

"Don't believe everything you hear."

Of course it's fair that they have guns and you don't

Of course it's fair that they have guns and you don't --

That Washington, D.C., gun ban that the Supreme Court should toss out any day now because it is unconstitutional is often compared to the handgun ban in Chicago.

But what's not often reported by the decidedly pro-gun-control media is that since Chicago's anti-handgun law went into effect in 1982, only two classes of people have had ready access to firearms:

The criminals. And the politicians.

Cynics who scoff at everything decent suggest these are one and the same, but taxpayers know the difference.

The Brits of June

Oh, The Brits! The Brits!

Our British Cousins are are it again, and again it is difficult to wrap our minds around the unlimited perfidy of the British Rulers as applied against their Subjects.

Here's an example:
Father's Day Cards Banned in Scottish Schools.

Children in some Scottish Primary Schools are not permitted to pen Fathers' Day Cards (as has previously been traditional), for fear that children who reside in "Same Sex" households or "Single Parent" (mother only) households, may be psychologically damaged by the fact that they do not have a Father figure in their life.

May it not be true that this breakdown in "The Nuclear Family" is such a societal tragedy that the children already realize that there's something wrong with this picture? Do the Scots think that they can avoid the issues by sweeping it under the rug? Perhaps there is, indeed, "something wrong with this picture."

The picture, of course, will not be drawn. The children are forbidden from expressing their feelings about the lack of a complete family.

Maybe the Scots should listen to the children; isn't this, after all, the mantra of the Socialist Liberal? "If it saves just one child ..."

NHS SCANDAL: Dying Cancer Victim Was Forced To Pay

Linda O'Boyle, a victim of bowel cancer, was receiving treatment under the National Health Service when she learned that a new treatment may be effective in prolonging her life.

When she used her own money to purchase this treatment, "... Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust withdrew her free treatment, including the chemotherapy drug she was receiving."

In other words, they cut off ALL Paid Health Care (which she had paid for with her taxes, and which she had been assured would provide here with the best health care available), and ...

they ... let ... her ... die.
Because she didn't play by the rules.
Because she wanted to live.

The trust said yesterday: “A patient can choose whether to continue with the treatment available under the NHS or opt to go privately for a different treatment regime. It is explained to the patient that they can either have their treatment under the NHS or privately, but not both in parallel.”
That's right. For those of you who think that the Clinton/Obama National Health Care strategy is the best way to insure that the best possible health care is available under a Federally administered situation, you need to know that these Socialist programs are invariably (and necessarily) underfunded, and the administers will use any excuse to cut of benefits ... no matter that it results in the death of the subject citizen.

Here's a tip for you, and I give it for free:

Whenever a politician suggests that he or she will enact laws that will make your life a heaven on earth and support you when you cannot support yourself, if it sounds anything at all like legislation that The Brits have already enacted .....

Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit. Vote for the politician who does NOT make these extravagant promises. Because, as sure as Heaven is NOT on Earth, the policies/laws/legislation he proposes "for your benefit" will cause untold misery on yourself and on your fellow subjects citizens.

The Federal Government cannot adequately manage itself, and you want to let them manage your Health Care?

The Brits may serve no higher purpose than to be a model of failed Social Engineering Concepts.

National Health Care is the epitome of a failed Social Engineering Concept.

Just ask Linda O'Boyle Husband ... the one who lived.

This weekend Brian, O’Boyle’s husband, said he was appalled by the way she was treated. He recalled his wife as a woman with an infectious laugh who had given a lifetime of service to the NHS as an assistant occupational therapist. The couple, who had three sons and four grandchildren, lived in Billericay, Essex.

After she developed bowel cancer and began having chemotherapy, doctors told her she should boost her chances of fighting the disease by adding another drug, cetuximab. It is not routinely funded by the NHS.

When she decided to use her savings to pay for it, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust withdrew her free treatment, including the chemotherapy drug she was receiving.

Note the scandalous admission of The Health Secretary:

Some cancer drugs not yet available on the NHS can markedly increase the chance of survival. But Alan Johnson, the health secretary, claims that co-payment would create a two-tier NHS, with preferential treatment for patients who could afford the extra drugs. Last year he issued guidance to NHS trusts ordering them not to permit patients to pay for additional medicines.
[Emphasis added. Too late for Linda, who (like her husband) was an employee of NHS. Those animals don't even care for their own.]

Still unconvinced that The Brits are out of control?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tactical 3-gun

Today I experienced an entirely new (to me) type of shooting competition, and I was enthralled.


More on that later.

The name (baritone introduction similar to "They Call Me ... MISTER Tibbs") is Tactical Three-Gun.

This is a new (at least to me) sport which includes many of the elements of USPSA 3-Gun competition: A rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun.

Here, at Tri-County Gun Club, "Three Gun" includes a pistol, a shotgun, and a pistol-caliber carbine. (I used my Mech Tech, and was glad for an excuse to shoot this delightful hybrid of pistol and short rifle.)

In "Three-Gun" competition, you may shoot only one type of firearm on a given stage, or you may shoot two, or even all three. (In "Multi-Gun" competition, you will only shoot one type of firearm on each stage; you don't change guns. That is the difference between "Multi-Gun" (*) and "Three-Gun" competition, and it's an important difference considering that each firearm, once used, must be 'rendered safe' and 'grounded' before you can take up another firearm. You will often be allowed to move downrange of that 'grounded' firearm to engage targets with a second or third firearm.)
* (NOTE: The difference between 3-gun and multigun competition is not quite as described here. Go to the comments for an authoritative definition.

And the venue is Tactical Shooting.

What does "Tactical" mean?

Here are some of the things I learned about "Tactical Shooting" today:
  • Your pistol and ammunition must be concealed, which usually involves wearing a vest or jacket, so that neither the pistol or reloads are visible; except: when shooting a stage which involves a shotgun, the shotgun reloads are almost invariably worn on the front of the belt and are visible to the casual observer. Note that in today's 70+ degree heat, wearing a vest would impose serious discomfort to the shooter in a 'real life' scenario. To the alert observer in WalMart, anyone wearing a vest would have immediately typed the wearer as having something to hide. I only wore the vest when it was my turn to shoot, and only because it was administratively required. The vest interfered with the pistol draw, and almost every reload.
  • All reloads are "Tactical". That means that reloads must be made from behind cover, and the competitor is penalized for 'reloading on the move'; except: on some stages, the competitor is required to reload on the move, and tactical cover is not provided in the stage design. No penalty is assigned in these situations, which appear to be completely arbitrary and based upon the availability of range props or exigencies of stage design.
  • Scoring: Cardboard targets (cf: "IPSC Metric Targets") require two shots to 'neutralize' them, and the total scoring value of the hits must total 8 points. Example: two A-zone hits with a major power cartridge scores 10 points; two C-zone hits (same power factor) scores 8 points; one A-zone and one D-zone (5 + 2 in Major Power) scores only 7 points, and that score is not deemed to have 'neutralized the target', so the shooter is penalized. Note that everyone seems to be allocated the "Major Power" scoring. Exception: one hit 'to the head' (either the Upper A-zone, or to the B-zone) is deemed to have 'neutralized the target', and a second hit is not required.
  • Memory Courses: Many of the stages required the competitor to memorize arcane and bizarre stage instructions. Failure to remember these instructions during the course of fire resulted in procedural penalties even though they may have little or nothing to do with the ability of the competitor to perform the basic requirement: to 'neutralize the targets'.
A note on that last point.

Here is an example of the stage procedures for one stage, only slightly modified by my inexact memory and my willingness to demonstrate the absurdity of the stage procedures to be memorized:

From Position A, load your shotgun with ONLY two rounds of shot and then two rounds of slug. At the start signal, engage the falling-steel targets with one round of slug through either Port A, B or C. You may not make up missed shots or reload more slug rounds. From the same position, engage Steel targets 1 and 2 from Port A, B or C as long as it is not from the same port as was used to engage the falling-steel targets. From this position, you must reload at least 3 rounds of shot before moving to Box A.

From Box A you must engage and knock down steel targets 3 and 4 on the left side of the bay. You must have at least 2 rounds loaded before you move forward to Box B.

From Box B, you must engage and knock down steel targets 5 and 6, on the right side of the bay. You must have at least 2 rounds loaded before you move forward to Box C.

From Box C, you must engage and knock down steel targets 7 and 8.

(There are no penalties for reloading on the move; there are no 'tactical barriers' provided for 'tactical reloads'.)

In the actual event, I experienced no disconnectedness on this stage. Although this stage violated almost all USPSA stage-design criteria of 'free-style', I found it not impossible to memorize and adhere to the stage requirements. It helped that, as a 'new shooter', I was allowed to be the last person in my squad to shoot the stage; if I had been the first shooter in my squad, though, I doubt that I would have been able to understand how the stage must be shot.

(Experience tells, and one benefit of this kind of competition is that it may conceivably help 'train' the shooter to perform complex functions while handling all three types of firearms without having to think about handling the firearms.)

One interesting thing about this stage is that it was so complicated, the Range Officer was often confused about the requirements. The end result was that some competitors may have shot the stage in a manner which did not strictly adhere to the requirements, without incurring penalties. (In truth, the penalties were often not clear to either the competitor or to the RO, to the possible advantage to the competitor who was able to shoot the stage so quickly that the RO failed to assign penalties.)

Shooting House Stage: I Am Enthralled

Also included in the match was a 'surprise stage', where the competitor had NO information about the stage. I actually liked this stage, although it violated everything I had learned in 25 years of IPSC/USPSA competition.

Tri-County Gun Club (TCGC) has historically maintained least one bay which featured a berm around almost 360 degrees of the available area. That bay has, upon limited occasion, been the venue for a 'surprise stage' where the competitor does not have the opportunity to preview the stage; does not know the nature of the targets there presented; does not even know how many targets are presented, the minimum round count (here, except that it is "between 1 and 50 rounds") or even know the Stage Procedures until they arrive on the stage and receive a 'confidential' briefing from the Range Officer.

The only thing the Competitor knew, on this day, was that (a) he had the choice of using either the pistol-caliber carbine or a pistol; and (b) the '180 rule' did not exist; he could shoot in any direction, because it was indeed a "Round House" and there was nobody on the stage except the shooter and the RO.

(NOTE: a "Round House", in this context, means a shooting area where a shot in almost any direction will be intercepted by a safe backstop, and thus will not endanger anyone. Experienced IPSC shooters will recognize that this is decidedly different from the typical competitive venue, where the defined 'safe' shooting directions include, at most, 180 degrees of arc. There is almost no "uprange" direction in a 360 degree Round House.)
Here's how this stage was administered, and if I'm not making myself clear I trust that commenters will show me where I have not been crystal clear. And if this sounds like a "Skull and Bones" initiation, I've done a good job of describing the stage.

The competitor must decide whether to shoot the stage with "pistol-caliber carbine' or with Pistol, without having the benefit of knowing what the shooting challenge is.

Having prepped (but not loading) his weapon of choice, the competitor is lead around a vision barrier and instructed to stand behind a 'wall of barrels', which prevents him from seeing the targets. Here he is allowed to load his weapon.

Then he is given his verbal stage directions by RO Phil, which sounded (according to my fallible memory) something like this:

Phil: "if you look around the left side of the barrels, you will see a line of orange tape, which denotes the path you must follow. If you step outside this path, you are dead."

Geek: "not really?"

Phil: "No, but you will be stopped and your score will reflect only the points you have earned."

Geek: "Good. I don't want to be dead."

Phil: "Me either. But you cannot step outside The Path. Know this: targets are not impermeable. If you shoot through a target and hit a penalty target, it will count against you. There is no 180 degree rule here; you can shoot in any direction; don't worry about me."

Geek: "I won't worry about you. You're on your own; don't get in my way."

Phil: " I won't. Know that when you step around these barrels, you must first READ!"

Geek: "Oh good, I have my reading glasses on, I can read 'reading'. I just can't read 'writing'."

Phil: ????

Phil: Make Ready,

After Phil triggers the starting buzzer, I step around the barrels onto the orange-delineated 'path' only to discover that there are a lot of paper targets in view. The first target has the Stage Procedures inked on it's white face, to the effect that:
"The path is strewn with clay pigeons, which are Land Mines. Do not step on the Land Mines. The White Targets are shoot targets, the brown targets are no-shoot targets. Shoot-throughs count. Be sure of what is behind the targets you shoot at. Shoot the white targets only."

As I go down the Orange-Brick Road, Phil counsels me with Special Verbal Instructions:

"Look Hard-Left." There's a target which was not visible earlier. I shoot it.

"Look Hard-Right." There's a target which was not visible earlier. I shoot it.

"Shoot the white target downrange. No, not that one. Okay, shoot the middle white target. No, not that one, the other one."
It turns out that the left White Target has a 'no-shoot' brown (penalty) target behind it, perfectly hidden behind the Shoot Target. I have no idea what I am doing, I am entirely dependent on the commands of Phil the RO to determine what is a safe/legal Shoot Target and which target is fraught with peril.

I think I caught (hit) a semi-hidden 'no-shoot' target, but I am not allowed to linger to watch the scoring process; instead, I am instructed to exit the range and I am not allowed to rejoin my squad. I must move to a different area on the range and if I discuss the stage with squad members who have already shot the stage, Phil will shout "Don't talk about the stage; they can hear you!" (Meaning the squad members who have not yet shot the stage.)

Okay, I'm just said a lot of things which may seem to be very critical about the match. Obviously I don't like the picky-picky Tactical rules, which I'm certain I gave the clear impression that they are ad-hoc and not consistent with any published, codified "Rules of Engagement".

If I have done nothing more than that, this article has not been a total waste of time.

But to stop there is to do a disservice to the emerging sport.

Is the sport perfect? No, clearly not. But it has the potential to be a great sport, and I would not dissuade you from competing for the minor reason that it hasn't yet got its act together.

The sport needs a consistent set of rules, which is not yet available. It has yet to decide what constitutes "Tactical", and to make the definition consistent on every stage no matter what the "Shooting Challenge" might be. They haven't got there, yet. But they could, and they can.

Obvious conclusions:

If the definition includes that belt-gear must be hidden, they need to define 'hidden' in terms which accommodate all of the weapons platforms used. Shotgun ammunition carriers must be defined as an exception, or it should be forbidden. (What do you do with bandoleers, butt-stock ammo carriers, etc.?)

If reloads must always be tactical, must every stage provide cover for reloads? What if it doesn't, but the stage stipulates that 'administrative' reloads are acceptable on occasion? What defines the occasion when a not-behind-cover reload is acceptable?

I may have seemed to be excessively critical about details of stage designs and procedures here, but not without justification. If this portion of the Shooting Sports is allowed to proliferate, there are obvious deficiencies which must be addressed.

I enjoyed the match today, even though I found a lot of areas which could be improved. Mostly, these were areas in which the rules seemed arbitrary and ad hoc.

Well, darn it, many of the rules were arbitrary, and they were imposed in an ad hoc manner.

This is the characteristic of a 'work in progress', and it is subject to change.

If the folks who desire that "Tactical 3-gun" competition continue as a viable competitive forum survives, they will be willing to accept constructive criticism in the manner in which it is intended.

They will allow the rules of competition to evolve, and they will make sure that every match is better, more consistent, and less dependent on the competitor's ability to remember detailed stage instructions than the match which preceded it.

On the other hand, the overwhelming impression I got was that the people who were there just wanted a place to shoot a lot of different guns. It was made only better in that they got to do so in competition with many like-minded people. There were 32 competitors at this match, which was announced as a 'record turn-out'. Obviously, a lot people who had competed in this sport before had brought new shooters with them as a way to introduce them to a sport which they may or may not find attractive.

Personally, I'm not sure if I'm willing to continue my participation in this sport.

I had a lot of "New Guy" problems, which I expected in theory if not in practice (or I would have resolved the problems before the match started), but my biggest problem was that I didn't understand what was required in terms of niggling "stage procedure" requirements. That is, the stage procedures were not generally known and universally understood before competition began, and they seemed arbitrary to the average competitor.

This is the reason, I suspect, why I received so much counseling from experienced competitors to the effect that these matches were referred to as "Invent A Penalty" shooting, even by those who come out every month to shoot Tactical matches.

These fine folks just wanted to shoot their pistols, shotguns and pistol-caliber carbines; the match provided an opportunity, and they would willingly suffer almost any arbitrary administrative indignity to pay for the privilege.

Unlike IPSC (or USPSA), there does not yet exist a body of experience which delineates acceptable standards.

This will evolve, eventually, and Tactical 3-run will become a legitimate venue for competition. We hope.

But it is not there, yet.

Not yet. Not legitimately.

And, as of this weekend, not hardly.

NOTE: I do realize that this is an extremely critical evaluation of a new sport. I hope that it does not serve as a justification for refusing to compete. Tactical 3-gun, and it's many sisters, is a legitimate venue for people who just want to shoot. It needs some time for the evolution into a user-friendly sport to occur, and I don't want to be the guy who ruined it for everyone else. I enjoyed my excursion into The Dark Side today, and I will Be Back Next Month for the next month's competition.

But I do acknowledge that the sport is imperfect, and I do encourage the supporters of the sport to understand the reasons why it is not always attractive to new practitioners, and make such changes as are necessary to provide consistency and predictability to the competitive venue.

To give you an idea of what Tactical 3-gun competition is like, here is a video of the "Pistol/Shotgun" stage (if the stages had an actual name, I was never aware of it). I call this video "Unidentified Lady Shooter (Pistol/Shotgun Stage)":

All photos and videos from this match are available at "Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery: TCGC June, 2008 Tactical 3-gun Match".

Most of the videos are HUGE, because they are raw video. I had planned to upload them in unedited form, but it turned out easier to edit them down to manageable size. Easier for me, easier for you, too.

Here are the videos which are currently available, and the direct links:
Mark (Pistol/Shotgun stage)
Roger (Carbine/Pistol stage)
Unidentified Lady Shooter (Pistol/Shotgun Stage)

As I find the time, I'll edit the other videos so they're smaller and faster to download, too.

Here's the list of the videos which are not yet, but will soon be available:
HPIM1420: Alex (Carbine/Pistol stage) - 25MB
HPIM1421: Mark (Pistol stage) - 20MB
HPIM1422: Alex (Shotgun stage) - 16MB
UPDATE: 24-JUN-2008

I draw your attention to the comments (four of them to date), as there is much to be learned there from people who know much more about this multigun/3-gun sport than I do or I ever will.

Cowboy Blob, whose website regularly features articles and pictures of multigun matches he attends, provides more depth and content which I was unable to offer. His experience is wider and longer, and you can tell how much he loves the sport.

Bruce G. corrects my errors on the relative definitions of "3-gun" vs "multigun". I'll leave my errors in place, but will strike-through them. Listen to The Bruce, not to The Geek.

Dave and Alex, who squadded with me and provided much useful (and patient) advice to this New Shooter, were as ever friendly, courteous and welcoming. I've enjoyed squadding with them at USPSA matches (and a few other matches which weren't strictly USPSA competition), and you can tell by their comments that they are articulate, bright and gracious. They're good competitors, good sportsmen, and good companions. They laugh at me frequently, but then they're the kind of folks who like to laugh.

Oh, and Dave: you're right, that STI Edge ran like the epitome of the gun-maker's art that it is. I didn't hang it up because I couldn't shoot with it, only because I could no longer hit with it. Perhaps the ultimate reason I decided to shoot this match is because it gave me an excuse to buckle on The Mighty Ten, one more time.

(Unfortunately, it's difficult to find a holster which is both appropriate to Tactical Shooting, and will accommodate the full-dust-cover Edge. As Alex gently pointed out, "some guys might take issue with that Speed Holster in a Tactical Match." But he never did.)