Wednesday, February 24, 2010

States push looser gun laws?

Are the individual states "pushing" for "looser" gun laws? Have the 2008 - 2009 fears of American Citizens that a new President Obama would bring back the Assault Weapons Ban and close the "Gunshow Loophole" been proven to be entirely without foundation?

Have I under-estimated the Obama Agenda?

Those are the general impressions one might get from reading this New York Times article dated February 24, 2010.

On the other time, the "The Times" article (it was republishede on the MSNBC Internet website) did a not-bad job of showing at least part of the two sides of the issue.

The fine folks at Handgun Control, Inc. The Brady Campaign to End Handgun Violence are extremely disappointed that Obama failed to meet their own private political agenda. The "fears" cited in the first paragraph are the goals of The Brady Bunch.

They are confused; they did not get the kind of leadership that they had hoped for from Obama.

Hah! Stand in line, Brady Bunch. You're just another "Obama Disappointed" group.

Not-So-Bad Blogger

So after I wrote the "Bad Blogger" apology, I went to the doctor to see what my problem was that I was thinking I was having a heart attack.

No problem, it was some kind of acid indigestion thing, which Doctor Sean (I never thought I would have a doctor named Sean; I always though in terms of Ben Casey ... or Hawkeye Pearce) tells me is the most common thing that causes prolonged upper-chest pain.

Heart attacks and that sort of circulatory system-caused thing are typified by short, acute pain. If it lasts for more than a little while, it's probably a problem with your digestive system.

Now I'm taking an over-the-counter medication for stomach acidity. Darn, if I'm going to give up my nightly dose of Jamison's, it ought to be for a better reason than a tummy-ache.

But just to make sure, I'm scheduled for a Cardiac Stress test on Friday afternoon. I have to walk for 20-30 minutes on a treadmill, while I'm hooked up to an EKG. (They gave me a static EKG on Tuesday afternoon ... nothing to see here folks, move on.)

It's probably a good thing to have a regular doctor, but I'm concerned that I've seen my doctor since I've had a doctor more than I've seen a doctor in all the decades when I didn't have a doctor.

That didn't make a lot of sense to you, did it? But it did to me. Probably, that's why I got a doctor named "Sean", instead of "Marcus Welby".

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bad Blogger

Father forgive me, for it has been 20 days since I have posted to my blog.

Okay, it wasn't all my fault. Besides being distracted by the situation of SWMBO, and my own medical and dental issues, I have not actually had a lot to say for a while.

I did instruct another class in "Introduction to USPSA" on February 6. I had six students, four or five helpers, and a couple of folks who just wandered into the shooting bay and hung around to watch the show. That was a good experience for me, and I hope a similarly good experience for everyone else present.

The next weekend (February 13, Saturday) I actually showed up at the match to compete. I did not do well .... I'm still having problems with my Open Gun as well as with my Dillon XL650 which does not index the shell-plate sufficiently to align with the primer feeder, so I'm loading for the 10mm edge with iron sights and I do not see iron sights well. But I ended up in the mediocre middle. Still, 3 of the six students from the prior week-end class appeared, and two of the squadded with me. I was impressed by their ability, and was proud to award Certification Certificates to two of them. (The third, Greg C., left before the Award Ceremony. Greg, if you are listening, I owe you a card. You deserve it for shooting safely through the entire match. That's better than one long-time shooter did; everybody DQs sooner or later. Match results here.

FWIW, I ended up 29 of 64 shooters, 25th of 21 Limited, and Last of 9 B-Limited shooters.

That's not as traumatic as it should be, I think, because I very much enjoyed my time on the range. From the first stage on, I realized that I was "Shooting for Fun" (an euphemism for "Can't Hit Shit") so for the rest of the day I just relaxed and enjoyed it.

And I had plenty of time to talk with the new shooters in my squad, and carefully avoid providing them with unsolicited advice. The new shooters did fine, they were careful and SAFE, and they had a good time.

SWMBO and I are still experiencing medical problems. Hers are infinitely more serious than mine. The difference is that I can still demonstrated my fading expertise on the range ... she cannot. We both still like to compete, but only I am able to demonstrate my incompetence in public. I miss her company at matches. I still manage to spend most evenings with her, if only to enjoy her company as we watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. She still beats me in yelling out the correct answers, so she is still A Winner.

Tomorrow I turn 65. I am reliably informed that I must register for Medicare, even though I am still working (most days) and still have private medical insurance through my employer.

They tell me that Medicare is "broken", and that I am about to suffer the disappearance of Medicare benefits as the Post War Baby Boomers mature. It doesn't matter much to me. The older I get, the more time I spend in doctors' offices. The more they do for me, the more my health declines. I suspect that there is a cause-and-effect relationship there, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Tonite I experienced two episodes of severe muscular stress in my arms, shoulders and back. I wondered for a while, each time, if this was a precursor of Heart Disease. I wondered if I should seek medical help; then I thought --- why should I? The doctors haven't helped anyone that I know, so far?

But I am reminded of the advice from a blogger that I read often:
One of the duties of a best friend should be to immediately delete the 'History' folder on your computer upon your death.

Straw Purchases

What is a Straw Purchase?

It's the purchase of an item which is not intended for the use of the purchaser.

If you buy a car for someone else, there's no problem

Buy a gun for someone else? Big problem.

Let's look at the compilatio of "Straw Purchases" for firearms as demonstrated by videos on YouTube, mostly by gunundercover

(Note: The creators of these videos may have an ulterior motive. Here's the test: can you accept them on face value? Why or Why Not?)

Illegal Sale Video 1: Seller Passes the Integrity Test

Illegal Sale Video 2: Rejecting Illegal Straw Purchase

Illegal Sale Video 3
: Sellers Fail the Integrity Test

Illegal Sale Video 4: Allowing Illegal Straw Purchase

So here's the deal:

1. If you are not legally permitted to purchase a firearm for your own use, you are not allowed to be any part of purchasing a firearm for someone else. In the best case, you and your "other person" can present yourselves to a dealer and you BOTH fill out the forms. Regardless of who actually pays for the firearm, or who accepts delivery of the firearm, you are both performing a legal action.
2. If you are not legally permitted to purchase a firearm for your own use, and you approach a "non FFL owner of a private collection" (not a "dealer? Not required to hold a Federal Firearms License) and the owner has any reason to suspect that you are not permitted to purchase a firearm ... that owner is not permitted to sell you a firearm.

Sales by "private collectors" are often, even 'usually', permitted at firearms shows. Non-dealers (who do not have a FFL) have less stringent Federal control over those to whom they may sale a firearm. This allows you to, for example, sell a pistol to your brother-in-law. Yes, even if your brother-in-law is an idiot. But if you suspect that the purchaser is not legally permitted to purchase or own a firearms, it is a violation of federal law for you to complete that transaction.

Is your brother-in-law-the-idiot legally entitled to purchase and own a firearm? Yes, you (as a "private collector") can probably complete the transaction legally. I do not know this, but this is my understanding. Don't go to court and present this purely private opinion as your defense; I am not a lawyer nor do I portray one on television.

What we're talking about here is nothing more than the use of common sense in firearms transactions, plus a determination to NOT place anyone at risk.

Depending on where you live, and certain characteristics of the firearm involved, you may not legally transfer a firearm to a convicted felon, a maniac, or a minor (YMMV). But you probably wouldn't want to do this, would you?

The "ownership" (or transfer to) a Minor is often covered by the legal fiction that you as the parent of the minor will allow the minor to use the firearm, but you still own it and are responsible for insuring that the minor uses it in a safe manner within a legal context. Again, YMMV.

But within the context of the situations described above ("Straw Purchases"), the legal transfer of firearms between individuals is subtly different for "private collectors" and "FFL Dealers".

The so-called Gun Show Loophole generally refers to the permission for "private collectors" (or "private individuals") to transfer firearms between themselves without the necessity of performing background checks. That is, if the owner is not a licensed dealer, he is not necessrily obliged to perform a background check through NCIS on a prospective purchaser.

In reality, the sponsors of gunshows now-days usually are inclined to require background checks on ALL purchasers when the transaction is conducted on the premises.

On the other hand, if you put an ad in the newspapers offering to sell a firearm, and someone responds positively to the offer ... while you are not obligated to require a background check (which is difficult under the current NCIS system) on the purchaser, you are STILL required to refuse to sell a firearm to anyone who you suspect the be not a legal purchaser. Again felon, maniac, minor, etc.

Still ... it may often happen that a private person who appears at a gun show with a gun to sell or trade, and who does not rent a table at the show, is approached by another private person who evinces an interest. If they remove themselves from the premises, from the control and authority of the gunshow sponsors, that transaction may be legal as long as the seller believes that the purchaser is legally permitted to purchase and own a firearm.

Depending on the outcome of HR 2324, and depending upon the circumstances (that is, if the sale begins or ends on the premises of a Gun Show),that permission may or may not apply to the transaction.

But it is probably still legal within the confines of your own home.

That, sir is Constitutional Law.

Today. And ... probably ... tomorrow.

Bloomberg, Don't try gun stings here!

Don't try gun stings here, West Virginia pol Kessler warns Mayor Bloomberg

West Virginia state Sen. Jeffrey Kessler says he would throw NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's investigators in jail, if they continue trying to 'sting' WV firearms retailers.

During the past few years, Bloomberg has spent considerable time, effort and (presumably) NY City funds sending 'agents' to Southern states attempting to entice firearm dealers to bend, break or mutilate Federal Firearm Laws by selling guns to 'buyers' who are not legally permitted to purchase firearms from a Federally licensed Firearms Dealer.

One of the more common tactics is for two agents to enter a gun store, and one agent who is presumably a legal purchaser buys a gun for the benefit of the other agent ... who is, in turn, NOT a legal purchaser. This is called "Straw Purchasing".

If the dealer completes the sale, the NYC agents notify local ATF agents with the sole intent of identifying the FFL dealer as one who has violated federal laws.

Other 'stings' may be even more subtle.

Bloomberg claims that most illegal firearms confiscated in NYC (a city with firearms laws so stringent that it is almost impossible for a law-abiding citizen to buy a gun) have been tracked to dealers in Southern States.

Bloomberg has gone to war with these states with his sting operations.

The FFL Dealers in these states have taken exception to the efforts of this out-of-state municipal politician deliberately establishing questionable situations to which they must respond .. and with good reason.

In Smyrna, Georgia (home of GLOCK, USA), for example, one dealer has reacted strongly in a response to Blomberg's predations on his business, asserting "Blomberg Went Too Far". A 2007 NY Times article stated "Jay Wallace, who owns Adventure Outdoors, one of the major gun distributors in the area and a defendant in one of the city’s lawsuits, is countersuing Mr. Bloomberg, alleging fraud, slander and libel. A well-known resident who has operated the business here for 31 years, Mr. Wallace has drummed up support with an online fund-raising campaign, a summertime rally that drew hundreds, and celebrity representation by a lawyer who is a former congressman, Bob Barr."

The dispute has its roots in what has become a prominent theme in Mr. Bloomberg’s second term: stemming the flow of illegal firearms into New York, mostly from other states.

In a sting operation, the city sent teams of private investigators, usually a man and a woman, to five states. Posing as gun buyers, they went to stores whose guns had been linked to more than 500 crimes in New York City from 1994 to 2001.

Bloomberg administration officials said the investigators caught 27 dealerships allowing so-called straw purchases, in which one person submits to the required federal background check for a gun that is clearly to be used by someone else.

The Bloomberg administration sued those dealerships, seeking monetary damages and the power to oversee future transactions through the special master. Of those sued, 15 have agreed to the city’s terms, while the remaining 12 are fighting in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. They include stores owned by Mr. Wallace and a South Carolina dealer who has also countersued Mr. Bloomberg. Yet another South Carolina dealer has filed a countersuit, said Eric Proshansky, of the New York City Law Department.

John Feinblatt, the (New York City) criminal justice coordinator, accused Wallace of having "... had a long history of suspect sales, that it had been cited by a gun safety group and in past federal prosecutions and that it was under scrutiny by the A.T.F."

Mr. Wallace’s lawyers defended their clients’ record, saying that A.T.F. officials he had worked with were planning to provide depositions attesting that he had had no trouble with the agency.

For now, as Mr. Wallace’s case winds through the courts, people who know him are expressing shock and dismay at Mr. Bloomberg’s actions.

“He’s on a witch hunt,” said Tom Wisdom, a Honda dealer and a customer at Adventure Outdoors. “He’s trying to make political hay. If he wants to straighten out something, straighten out his home problems. They’ve got some of the most restrictive laws in the United States, and they’re not working.

(emphasis added)

Now, WV State Senator has responded publically to the charges and counter-charges between states: Senator Kessler ...

... wants to ban the type of undercover stings that Bloomberg has used to showcase illegal gun sales in other states - and throw the mayor's investigators in jail if necessary.

"It's for us to handle within our own borders," said state Sen. Jeffrey Kessler, who is running for governor in 2012. "We jealously guard our gun rights, and we're vocal advocates for the Second Amendment."

Bloomberg has defended the stings as necessary to keep out-of-state guns from ending up on New York streets and in the hands of criminals.

He has put the videos on YouTube and mailed copies to Congress. A spokesman refused to say whether more are in progress.

Kessler's bill would ban those stings, making a felon out of anyone who "persuades, encourages or entices" a gun dealer to make an illegal sale.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bob Lee Swagger is back! | Down Range TV

Bob Lee Swagger is back! | Down Range TV

If you don't already subscribe to DRTV, Michael Bane's (Down Range TV) blog, here's just one more reason why you should:

Michael recently featured an interview with author Stephen Hunter, announcing a new Bob Lee Swagger novel, titled "I, Sniper" (due for release on December 29, 2009 at the time of the interview, but now available from

And in case you have to ask: yes, I have already ordered the book.

The link at the top of the page will allow access to a 9 minute interview of Hunter by Bane, and it tells a lot about the characters and a little bit about the plot.

It also provides a perspective on the love/hate relationship between an author and the 'chore' of writing.

One aspect of Hunter's novels which many readers especially appreciate is his tendency to create characters which are parodies (or more affectionate versions) of actual historical characters.

In this new Bob Lee book, according to the interview, we are promised versions of
"... Joan Flanders,... Jack Strong and Mitzi Reilly...". If I understand the allusions correctly, these would be Jane Fonda, Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn, respectively.

Plus one other "comedian" whose alter-identity I have not yet discerned.

All four are fated to fall victim of the sniper/killer, who is probably not Bob Lee.

As Hunter says in the interview: "I'll leave my politics out of it ... but there's a thing in Hollywood; "if you give the people what they want, they'll stand in line to see it."

(He later says: "I kind of like that part!")

As Hunter says, he's trying to reach the degree of reader appeal which readers found in "Point of Impact" (a NY Times Best Seller) But every time he writes a new Bob Book, his readers say: "It's okay, but it's no 'Point of Impact'"

Hunter responds: "All right, I know, I get it already!

I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of the interview, so go here and watch the entire 9 minute interview.

And get ready for the NEXT Bob Book, tentatively titled "Dead Zero".


While you're waiting, DRTV also features a short video of Hunter actually shooting.