Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cool USPSA Production Poster!

My pal Paul Erhardt cooked this up for USPSA Production Division. Dealers can pick up a FREE copy from the USPSA booth at SHOT...we'll be giving some away on DRTV, assuming we survive SHOT...

Revving Up DRTV for SHOT

Okay! Marshal has crafted a masterful plan for SHOT uploads. He's created a special blog page on DRTV that will go live on Friday. Rather than multiple post all over the place (like I did last year on the proof of concept run), we'll post all our SHOT material...print, JPEGs, audio and video...on that blog.

I'll of course link to the SHOT BLOG off the Michael Bane Blog.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How to Get Found

There's a cool GPS locator for people skating along the edge of the world now available, and at a reasonable price.

The little gadget is called SPOT, which can track your movements through a constant link to the sats. It's not a telephone. Rather it's got three buttons — OK, HELP and 911.

When you push OK, your family (or whomever you designate) is notified that you're okay; hit HELP, and your designees are nitified that you might need a pick-up; 911 alerts rescuers and gives them your GPS coordinates. The box is $170, with $99 for a year's subscription to the service. I've spent a lot of time way off the grid, and a bix like SPOT would have offered a certain peace of mind. I especially like the fact that the 911 button can send the GPS coordinates...rescuers are very special people...they're putting their lives on the line for you, Anything that makes their jobs easier and safer is, by definition, a good thing. The new product has already resulted in five "saves."

Interestingly enough, the company is headed by an old friend of mine, Dave Biggs, whom I worked with at the world-class consulting firm R.D. Garwood. I also worked with Dave on his book on designing new products in a world-class environment. Obviously, Dave know what he writes about!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bitter Kicks Butt!

My good friend Bitter Bitch is kicking some John Edwards butt over on her blog, in response to the Edwards campaign to answer "non-partisan" questions about the Senator's real feelings on guns:
Countertop noted that the “rural liaison” of the John Edwards campaign is answering questions from gun owners over at Field & Stream. This guy just happens to be “Mudcat” Saunders, a Virginia Democratic organizer with a history of sexist and negative rhetoric about gun owners. The campaigns usually just defend him as being “colorful” and ask that he be ignored by anyone other than rural white men, even as they hire him as their spokesman.

I understand the desire of a campaign, especially for someone like Edwards, to try and hire “real” people to counter his very preppy and almost fake image that gives some people the creeps. However, I do find that who they choose to represent gun owners can be very telling in how they view what the gun culture should be. That doesn’t mean I write someone off because they are mostly just a hunter, but when they start proudly spouting off rhetoric that would turn off most non-rural gun owners, I’m concerned since I’m a non-rural gun owner.

So, in an effort to participate in the Democratic primary, I submitted a question to the blog asking Mr. Saunders to address these concerns:

My question is geared for Mr. Saunders and his previous statements regarding voters who own guns, and if the attitudes reflected in those statements reflect the views of Mr. Edwards as well.

While working for a Virginia campaign in 2005, Mr. Saunders publicly referred the gun owner voters as “Bubba.” While he officially represents the Edwards campaign now, I am curious to know how that attitude reflective of sexism and negative stereotypes has either been incorporated into the campaign or if Edwards has distanced himself from such statements.

When I called to lodge a complaint with the previous campaign that issued such statements from Mr. Saunders, I was told that he was simply colorful, so I would like to know if Edwards takes the same position on such negative rhetoric.

As a gun owning graduate of one of the top women’s colleges in the country who has spent years doing outreach to other women on gun safety and the shooting sports, I found this term and the rhetoric of the statements highly offensive. It actually made me reconsider my support for the candidate because of my concern.

Lest anyone think I am simply a reactionary uppity female from New England, I am actually from a very rural Southern upbringing, grew up fishing, and have taken steps recently to get into hunting. I am one of many changing the face of gun ownership and sportsmen/women, and I’d like to know if the Edwards campaign is embracing this progression in gun ownership or if the candidate stands by such stereotypes as the “Bubba” vote.
Read the whole thing...good job, Bitter!

Light Blogging Alert!

This is the week leading up to the SHOT SHOW in Vegas, and I'll be busy as Bill Clinton at a girls' school graduation! Don't expect a huge amount of blogging this week. The DRTV plan at SHOT is to get as much information up as quickly as we can...allegedly, we have access to a T-1 commercial pipe, plus whatever setup we can get going at the hotels.

We'll be running two video crews on the floor — one with me and/or Marshal Halloway; the other with the Marshal-ette — Teresa — and veteran SG & COWBOYS videographer Mark Jury. We also have digital still photography capabilities in case the pipelines aren't wide enough to move as much video as we'd like. I plan to do several — the initial plan is for one each day of the four-day SHOW (Saturday-Tuesday) — podcasts on the new products, trends and other things that catch my attention.

We also know that, as Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke said, "No operation plan extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the main body of the enemy." We'll adapt and overcome!

I will be signing autographs at the OUTDOOR CHANNEL booth in the Gold Hall a week from Sunday at 11 AM...I'll also be in and out of the OC booth many times a day, so you can leave me messages there. I'd love to meet and thank as many of you as I can!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rocky Mountain High

Thought you guys might like to see this Rocky Mountain News special feature on the old Caribou Studios here in the little town I live in. When I used to pal around with country singer Eddie Rabbitt, he used to wax poetic about the "little piece of paradise" in the Rockies where he wrote many of his number one songs...world is damn small:
Some of the greatest names in rock history -- John Lennon, Elton John, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, U2, Chicago, Joe Walsh -- recorded at the Caribou Ranch. The brainchild of frustrated record producer Jim Guercio, the ranch, just outside Nederland, grew to a legendary outpost in the music world with its own distinctive sound.

Stories abound from the studio's heyday, when it was constantly booked with the biggest names in music. A space heater fire ended an astonishing era at Caribou Ranch.

Now Guercio has swung the ranch's gates open for the first time since the fire to tell the story of the legendary studio that got its start after a missed flight.
Whenever he's in Colorado, Robert Plant hangs out at the Pioneer Inn...me, I prefer the microbrewery across the street. I will say, however, that the bar at the PI in the dead of winter, say late March, may be one of the weirdest places in the Known Universe...think bar scene in Star Wars

Friday, January 25, 2008

"Make Ya Famous..."

This is the finished version of my gen-u-wine felted Wild West bowler hat...the vest is also a felted original from You Know Who...

If (or should I say "If'n...?") it's good enough for Bat Masterson, it's certainly good enough for me...

...and before you ask, the gun's a 1956-vintage Ruger Blackhawk .357 rebuilt by Dave Clements for accuracy, and, no, you can't have it!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well Hell...

I've been working like a crazy person all week, and every night I have nightmares about the SHOT SHOW and not being able to get everything done.

We just hired veteran videographer/lunatic Mark "I'm the NRA" Jury full-time for DRTV at SHOT, adding yet another video team for us on the floor. Mark worked with us for several years on SHOOTING GALLERY and COWBOYS, as well as last year at SHOT when Marshal and I launched DRTV.

The Para 1000 Round Challenge videos with Todd Jarrett, currently on DRTV, has gone viral...we're getting responses now from all over the world, and DRTV has set another visitor record. And so we ride the tiger! Next week going into SHOT we've got my "everythigng you ever wanted to know about red dot sights" show.

We will also have some SURPRISES the first day of SHOT on DRTV!

Did you expect anything less?

No pixs of the Sweetie allowed! She is as intensely private as I am public...when we first started going together, she, as an attorney, negotiated a settlement whereby she would not appear in any of my magazine articles, books (non-fiction and fiction) or anywhere on the Internet, with a later coda that added broadcast television and radio to the list.

Funny story...a mystery novelist friend of mine called on the home line one night when I was out of town. My friend, who had never met my Sweetie, said that through my novel, ALL NIGHT RADIO — which features a very smart woman protagonist who used to be an attorney — and the advance work on the sequel he'd vetted, my friend felt like he knew my Sweetie.

"That's not me!" my Sweetie exclaimed. "It's Michael...all Michael's characters are Michael! I am not in his books!"

Well, there you have it, from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our Enemies Celebrate THE BUSH SELL-OUT

This from the Huffington Post; of course, we're all familiar with Mr. Helmke, the man who makes Norwegian rats look good!
More evidence emerged this month that the gun debate is turning a corner in America.

Only days after signing the first gun control legislation in over a decade, the Bush Administration has now disavowed the most extreme outcomes implicit in the gun lobby's view of the Second Amendment.

In its brief in the D.C. v. Heller case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Bush administration acknowledges that because of the "unquestionable threat to public safety that unrestricted private firearm possession would entail" that "various categories of firearm-related regulation are permitted by the Second Amendment."

The Brady Center welcomes this surprising development. It demonstrates the problem with the "private purpose" interpretation of the Second Amendment. This view might have sounded good politically to the Ashcroft Justice Department [pdf], but now the Bush administration realizes that the lower-court decision could "cast doubt on the constitutionality of" common-sense gun control laws like the "federal machine gun ban," the restrictions on firearm possession by felons, and the licensing of gun dealers.
May George Bush find his true place in history, with the other quisling scoundrels, carpetbaggers and traitors.

Genuine Southern Biscuits

So I got up bright and earlier this morning and makde my Sweetie genuine Southern buttermilk biscuits, interestingly enough using one of Alton Brown's recipes rather than my grandmother's recipe. Sorry, Big Mama, wherever you are...I didn't have any lard.

I did modify the recipe somewhat, but I won't tell you how or why! This is a gun column, after all.

I have to decide where to go from here on politics...I know I've said I'm going to stay home, but I'm probably incapable of that. At this point, I'm thinking of who might actually be able to beat the Dems...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thank You, Senator, for Standing Up!

Fred's out. Of course, you read it here on the blog yesterday beofre you heard it anywhere else.

Here's part of his statement:
Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.
Thank you, Senator...you would have been one hell of a President.

From the Inspirational Posters Thread...

...on DRTV...

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Hat!

My Sweetie knitted me this new hat...no, it's not too big! It's going to be a felted bowler, a la the creme de societe in, say, 1882. It shrinks when it's felted, which has nothing to do with being chewed on by Native American women and/or yaks. Of course, my head could get bigger!

Is Tomorrow the End of the Road...

...for Fred?

I'm hearing rumors from very deep but highly placed source that tomorrow may be the day Fred Thompson ends his campaign for the President.

Sigh. We've heard that before, but after Fred's less-than-stellar finish in South Carolina it's hard to imagine how the campaign can go on.

If that's indeed he case, where do we go from there? I think the outlines of the answer to that question can be found in this excellent article, essentially a post-mortem, from Bob Krumm:
Even without a win, Fred’s presence was important to this contest. Before this summer the GOP contest pitted the social conservative, the fiscal conservative, and the military conservative against each other. Fred entered the race and effectively told Republican voters, that they didn’t have to settle for just one. Since his entry, rhetorically at least, the other candidates have echoed his across-the-board conservatism.

Fred’s loss doesn’t mean that he will no longer be a significant part of what happens in Minneapolis. In a divided field his delegates may make a difference; that’s why I’m voting for him in the Tennessee primary in two weeks. And Fred will almost certainly be on the short list of potential running mates no matter which of the remaining candidates is the nominee. Still, “What might have been?” is what millions of Americans wondered as they learned the results of South Carolina’s primary.

Military Prepares for Democratic Takeover

These pixs are all over the Internet, but they're pretty darn funny...and close to home!

Presented Without Comment

From IowaHawk

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Service Pistol Sweepstakes Gets Sweepier as STI Weighs In

Damn! We're all going to have to get new gun safes just to accompdate the flood of new polymer-framed service pistols that look to be showing up at SHOT 2008!

STI International, long a dominant player in the modular-framed 1911 style pistol market — they OWN competition shooting! — just popped their plastic 9mm, the GP6. Here are the initial specs:
Built on a light weight, highly durable polymer (Polyamide GF 30) frame, the GP6 incorporates integrated tactical rails and textured side panels, front and rear straps. The GP6’s all steel slide is tri-topped with front and rear cocking serrations and features a fixed 3 dot sight system. The controls consist of ambi-thumb safeties, an ambi–slide release, firing pin safety, and a user configurable magazine release for equal ease of use in either right or left handed configuration. The barrel is 4.25” in length featuring an innovative rotational lock up system. Long term durability testing units have fired more than 110,000 shots without any change in internal geometry. The GP6 comes standard with a storage case, 2 magazines, and sight keys.
Looks kinda Walther-esque to me...I'm trying to lay my hands on one as quickly as possible, the month before SHOT is always a dicey time. Mo' as it becomes available...am still waiting on at least one more plastic gun, whihc may or may not make it for SHOT...

THE SELL-OUT...MSM Finally Notices

From this morning's WASHINGTON POST:
The Bush administration's position in the case before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the District of Columbia's ban on handguns has created an unexpected and serious backlash in conservative circles, disappointing gun enthusiasts and creating implications for the presidential campaign.

The government's brief, filed by U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement just hours before the court's deadline Jan. 11, endorses the view that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to gun ownership, a finding long sought by gun rights activists.

But it also said an appeals court used the wrong standard when it struck down the District's ban on private handgun ownership, and it urged the Supreme Court to return the case to the lower court for review.

If the justices accept that advice when they hear the case in the spring, it could mean additional years of litigation over the controversial Second Amendment and could undo a ruling that was a seminal victory for gun rights enthusiasts.

Some were livid. One conservative Web site said the administration had "blundered in catastrophic fashion," and another turned Clement, usually a pinup for conservative legal scholars, into a digital dartboard. Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the Republicans' chief deputy whip, called the brief "just outrageous," and Republican presidential candidate and former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) accused the Justice Department of "overlawyering" the issue.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

THE SELL-OUT...John Lott Interview UP!

It's about 8:45PM Thursday and out DOWN RANGE Radio interview with John Lott is up. This is a wide ranging interview on the DOJ brief and the Fred Thompson campaign.

We have also burned an MP3 version that is being circulated in South Carolina by the Thompson campaign.

I'm pretty proud of this podcast. After talking to John, I profoundly hope this makes a difference...please, listen, and pass it on...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

THE SELL-OUT...Special Message from the Thompson Campaign!

Tomorrow morning I'm doing a special interview with Second Amendment scholar John Lott at the behest of the Fred Thompson campaign.

I will post it as a SPECIAL DOWN RANGE Radio podcast as soon as I can, no later than Friday AM!

THE SELL-OUT...Thompson Stands UP!

This from Red State:
Thompson accuses Bush Administration of overlawyering in DC gun case, opposes remand

The Fred Thompson for President, South Carolina bus tour reached Spartanburg today, where the Law & Order TV star candidate fielded questions at Papa's Breakfast Nook from Charlotte, N.C.'s WBT-AM radio talk show host Jeff Katz.

Asked his opinion of the Second Amendment and the Solicitor General's request that the DC Circuit Court remand the appeal back to the trial court for "fact-finding", the lawyer turned Senator from Tennessee said the Bush Administration was "overlawyering" and stated that he opposed remand and that the case should move forward to the U.S. Supreme Court.

THE SELL-OUT...Outstanding Column from Sandy Froman

This is a must-read column from former NRA President Sandy Froman on the Townhall.com site:
Each presidential candidate must speak out on this brief. The Justice Department has not gone far enough to support the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment, and so those who aspire to lead our nation must step up and call on the Supreme Court to affirm the judgment of the DC Circuit striking down the ban.

This is a chance for all the GOP candidates to show what they’re made of, distinguishing themselves from the Democrats. With Bill Richardson out of the race, the remaining Democrat candidates all have an “F” rating from the NRA.
The OSG brief calls on the Court to have the DC Circuit decide the case over again using a lesser standard of protection for the Second Amendment. That would be a defeat for gun owners. And such a rehearing would delay a Supreme Court pronouncement on the Second Amendment for at least a year. With several Supreme Court vacancies likely during the next president’s term, it’s becoming all too clear that the Second Amendment is at stake in this election.
Be sure to listen to today's DOWN RANGE Radio podcast (click the above "Listen Here" link; listen at DOWN RANGE Radio homepage or subscribe on iTunes — search "DOWN RANGE Radio" — for our exclusive interview with attorney and Second Amendment scholar David Hardy as he addresses some of the very issues Sandy mentions.

Todd Jarrett's WORLD RECORD on DRTV!

Today at noon!

Tune into DOWN RANGE Television and click on the Todd Jarrett WORLD RECORD-SETTING...naw, I won't tell you...you gotta see if for yourself. You can get there by clicking on the THEY SAID IT COULDN'T BE DONE box on your right...no no, the other right...here on the blog!

But here's a little hint...

How long does it take to fire 1000 rounds of full-power .45 ACP ammo from a Para USA 1911????

Must see teevee for gunnies!

Teach Your Children Well

"There is no shelter except for the love of your family and the body God gave you. And you can only hope that will be enough..."

— Sarah Conner
Terminator-The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Dems Move To Middle...sort of...

Alphecca has an interesting take on the Democratic debate last night, including transcripts from the debate on gun control. It's clear to me that the Dems are "triangulating" on guns...I suspect you'll see much more of this now that the Republicans have shot tehmselves in the foot on guns. Lot of "the importance of the imporance of the Second Amendment" along with "ban assault weapons as fast as possible."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

THE SELL-OUT...I'm Not Lone...


From veteran gun blogger Gullyborg:
As far as I am concerned, I am done with George W. Bush. I have spent most of the last few years of my political life apologizing for him. No more.
And now... the last straw.

The Solicitor General, an agent of the Bush administration, has submitted a brief in the upcoming DC gun ban case that... SUPPORTS THE GUN BAN!

That's it. Done. No more apologies.

I tend to be a single issue voter when it comes to guns. For the last several elections, I've basically supported the Republican Party without looking to hard at individual positions on gun rights. After all, most Republicans are far, far better than most democrats on guns. The Clinton administration gave us the assault weapons ban. The Republicans who took over allowed the ban to expire without renewing it. That was good enough for me on my single issue, allowing me to look at other things like national security, the judiciary, and fiscal policy. And... President Bush has come up lacking on these issues. But I always felt the need to apologize because, damn it, at least with W in the White House no one was going to take away our guns.

I can no longer continue to believe that.

If this is the way a Republican administration responds to a constitutional challenge of the outright ban on handguns in our nation's capital, then the time has come to remove the blinders and return to single issue voting. If the Second Amendment fails, all our other rights become meaningless. Our next President HAS to be one who will support and defend the Constitution, all of the Constitution, and especially our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Who will that be?

THE SELL-OUT and updates

This from John Lott:
As probably the most prominent Second Amendment law professor in the country privately confided in me, “If the Supreme Court accepts the solicitor general’s interpretation, the chances of getting the D.C. gun ban struck down are bleak.”

The Department of Justice argument can be boiled down pretty easily. Its lawyers claim that since the government bans machine guns, it should also be able to ban handguns. After all, they reason, people can still own rifles and shotguns for protection, even if they have to be stored locked up. The Justice Department even seems to accept that trigger locks are not really that much of a burden, and that the locks “can properly be interpreted” as not interfering with using guns for self-protection. Yet, even if gun locks do interfere with self-defense, DOJ believes the regulations should be allowed, as long as the District of Columbia government thinks it has a good reason.

Factually, there are many mistakes in the DOJ’s reasoning: As soon as a rifle or shotgun is unlocked, it becomes illegal in D.C., and there has never been a federal ban on machine guns. But these are relatively minor points. Nor does it really matter that the only academic research on the impact of trigger locks on crime finds that states that require guns be locked up and unloaded face a five-percent increase in murder and a 12-percent increase in rape. Criminals are more likely to attack people in their homes, and those attacks are more likely to be successful. Since the potential of armed victims deters criminals, storing a gun locked and unloaded actually encourages crime.

The biggest problem is the standard used for evaluating the constitutionality of regulations. The DOJ is asking that a different, much weaker standard be used for the Second Amendment than the courts demands for other “individual rights” such as speech, unreasonable searches and seizures, imprisonment without trial, and drawing and quartering people.

If one accepts the notion that gun ownership is an individual right, what does “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” mean? What would the drafters of the Bill of Rights have had to write if they really meant the right “shall not be infringed”? Does the phrase “the right of the people” provide a different level of protection in the Second Amendment than in the First and Fourth?
Lott concludes with this statement:
But all is not lost. The Supreme Court can of course ignore the Bush administration’s advice, but the brief does carry significant weight. President Bush has the power to fix this by ordering that the solicitor general brief be withdrawn or significantly amended. Unfortunately, it may take an uprising by voters to rein in the Justice Department.
If we have any power as a lobby, now is the time to exercise it. If the eventual Republican Presidential nominee isn't willing to repudiate the Bush sell-out and guarantee an attorney general accetable to us, it is time to stay home! This "lesser evil" theory is nonsense — see how well it's worked for us so far!

I'm going to try and have both David Hardy, producer of the documentary In Search of the Second Amendment and proprieter of the Of Arms and the Law blog, along with Jim Shepherd of the SHOOTING WIRE on the DOWN RANGE Radio podcast tomorrow (which, of course, you can listen to here on the blog or on DRTV or subscribe off iTunes (search Podcasts...DOWN RANGE Radio in the iTunes Store).

Jim as you may or may not know, was one of the original guys at CNN and has been active in television news for the better part of...forever. He is hands down the most knowledgeable person on Washington politics I have ever met. David Hardy is working right now on the academic's amicus for SCOTUS, which will not, BTW, sell us out.

These interviews are predicated on a lot of audio equipment working exactly the way it is supposed to (and exactly the way it worked yesterday PM), so keep your fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I note that the El Salvadorian-based street gang, MS-13, has been advancing the cause of immigrant rights by repeatedly defacing the New Haven, CT, Vietnam memorial by spray-painting the words "KILL WHITES MS-13!" Read about it here; thanks for the tip, Chills!). Well, at least they spelled both "kill" and "whites" correctly! Who says assimilation doesn't work anymore?

According to Newsmax FBI sources, the gang is active in 44 states and as early as 1995 was meeting with al-Qaida, probably to arrange for the purchase of cans of spray paint since there are now strict laws regulating same throughout the United States.

All the more reason to be ARMED IN 2008!

Monday, January 14, 2008


From the ever-intelliget Jim Shepherd at the SHOOTING WIRE:
Hanging Together in the District

Across the internet discussion boards and various news outlets, there is a generally screech of indignation and betrayal going up over the Justice Department’s filing in regards to the case of The District of Columbia versus Dick Anthony Heller.

If you’ve been in suspended animation or something for the past few months, here’s the skinny: Dick Heller (and others) sued the District of Columbia, challenging the district’s 30-year old firearms restrictions. The Heller argument: the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States says there shall be no infringement upon the right of a citizen to keep and bear arms. In other words, the District’s gun ban- that has been held up as the standard in many other instances of case law, is unconstitutional because it deprives a law-abiding citizen of the right to self-protection in the form of a firearm.

The indignant screams come following the Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) brief field by Stephen R. Rubenstein, Chief Counsel of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Paul D. Clement (et al) the Solicitor General and Counsel of Record for the Department of Justice.

In this filing, the Department of Justice tries, as is the habit of the ATF and other bureaucratic organizations, to have it both ways. On one hand, it talks about the fundamental right of the Second Amendment. In a later statement, the case is made that the District of Columbia’s ban should, if not upheld by the Supreme Court, form the base upon which “reasonable restrictions” could be based.

The reasoning? The Justice Department has used the ban as the basis of cases it has argued in the past. In other words, it may have been wrong, but we used it as a reference, and that should be good enough to set the groundwork for “reasonable restrictions” on gun ownership.

Further, the filing argues, the respondent did not claim a “legal right to carry a handgun outside his home” so the court was not required to “consider the more difficult issue whether the District can ban the carrying of handguns in public, or in automobiles.”

The brief also argues that the Court of Appeals accepted, at least superficially, that the district had the right to require that privately-owned firearms be registered, despite the finding that the ban itself was unconstitutional.

The reasoning? Incorrect standards were applied by the lower court. Today’s standards, should be “interpreted in the light of context and history”.

>From my chair, those are fighting words. “in the light of context and history” is the phrase most commonly read when activist jurists are legislating from the bench and basically tossing out the canons of law for the rubber-ruler of “modern standards.”

As General Norman Schwarzkopf once asked “what is it about the word NO that you don’t understand?” Not infringe should mean exactly that. The attempt to outlaw guns in the hopes that eventually the supply of guns will dry up and eliminate the gun problem isn’t just intellectually bankrupt; it’s also the kind of lazy legislation and law enforcement that leads to bad laws. The majority of bad laws on the books today are the result of trying to apply a broad-brush approach to a narrow situation. The law’s don’t fit and create more problems than they cure.

Bluntly put, passing legislation that transforms otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals isn’t just lazy, it’s stupid. After all, it has been proven throughout history that the only people impacted by bans are the people to whom the law has meaning. Criminals are not deterred by rules, they are deterred by law enforcement AND a citizenry that will not allow itself to be victimized. When a criminal sees someone capable of self-defense, they generally look for someone else to victimize.

So, the Justice Department argues for the District of Columbia’s gun ban. In their minds, I’m certain they have no other option. After all, what they categorize as “categorically” precluding any sort of ban calls other issues into question. Among them, the federal bans on ownership of certain firearms (read that as machinguns and AOWs – or “any other weapons” the ATF’s catch-all phrase for a variety of hard-to-categorize arms

In other words, the Justice Department feels the District of Columbia’s ban should be upheld –simply to prevent existing federal statutes from being examined.

Three key points are raised in the argument:

1. Congress Has Authority To Prohibit Particular Types Of Firearms, Such As Machineguns;

2. Congress Has Substantial Authority To Ban The Private Possession Of Firearms By Persons Whom Congress Deems Unfit To Keep Such Weapons;

3. Congress Has Authority To Regulate The Manufacture, Sale, And Flow Of Firearms In Commerce.

Based on those three arguments, the Justice Department recommends the Supreme Court “remand the case to the lower courts to permit them to analyze the constitutionality of the D.C. Laws at issue under the proper constitutional inquiry.” In other words, it would please the Justice Department and the ATF if the Supreme Court simply pushed the whole matter back at the lower court with the instruction to “check this over again and see if you can’t find another way to interpret the Second Amendment so we can keep the gun bans in effect in the District of Columbia.”

If the Supreme Court says not, the friend of the court brief warns, other fundamental regulations (like those under which the ATF largely exists) could be called into question.

That, in the eyes of politicians and bureaucrats, might not be a good thing, but their lofty conclusion says it far better than I:

“The Court should affirm that the Second Amendment, no less than other provisions of the Bill of Rights, secures an individual right, and should clarify that the

right is subject to the more flexible standard of review described above.”

This isn’t a case of the Bush Administration selling out, despite the fact that others – more erudite than I – have said it is. It is a case of bureaucrats selling out the law for some job security.

I may be a cynic, but I couldn’t imagine them acting otherwise. To do so would help make the case that a lot of what they spend their time doing at the ATF, including hassling legitimate businesses over clerical errors, really doesn’t have much to do with either law – or enforcement.

--Jim Shepherd

THE SELL-OUT...from Eugene Volokh

Volokh is, as you know, one of the best and most thoughtful legal commentators on the Web. Here's this AM's post...also, I have some comments at the end of the post on "Saving Georgie's Bacon..."
If not for the massive volunteer work of persons concerned about the Second Amendment, George W. Bush would not have won the very close elections of 2000 and 2004. To state the obvious, the citizen activists would never have spent all those hours volunteering for a candidate whose position on the constitutionality of a handgun ban was "Maybe."

The SG brief was one that might have been expected from the administration of President John Kerry. As a Senator, Kerry voted for a resolution affirming the individual Second Amendment right, and also voted for more repressive gun control at every opportunity.

The 2004 Bush victory over Kerry made a great difference in the US posture at the 2006 UN gun control conference, and in the signature of the Protection of Lawful Commerces in Arms Act. The election does not appear to have made a difference in the management of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, or of the Office of the Solicitor General.
I'm seeing this more and more across the Internet (and, as one of the commenters noted, in the NRA statement. "It's not George's fault...it's the ATF...or the Solicitor General...but not George..."

My question is, "Why not George?" Yes, the ATF is and has been an agency in search of a mission ever since Prohibition was repealed. But does anyone actually believe that President George Bush wasn't involved, or at least kept informed, on his Solicitor General's brief? Does anyone believe that George Bush wasn't informed specifically of the implications of the filing this brief?

Most importantly, does anyone actually believe that George Bush did not sign off on this brief?

I came across a similar theme during the battles with the U.S. Forest Service...I was cautioned out of Washington D.C. to not push my criticism "too high," because it had the potential to "embarrass George Bush." I'm not a very good politician, so I said, "Let me get this straight...USFS officials are closing public lands to shooting across the West and I'm supposed to be careful about 'embarrassing' a Bush appointee?"

Here's my question to our Washington cadre — is power unexercised still power?

It is my believe that the DOJ brief has damaged the progun movement on a number of levels:
•It has outlined a way where we can "win" on the individual interpretation and still "lose" to the gun grabbers.

• It has emboldened our enemies. The antigun forces were dispirited and largely bankrupt. The government's sell-out has given them a new lease on life.

• It has outlined a rationale for a new Assault Wespons Ban...and a subsequent ban on "some" handguns.

• It has helped establish Charles Schumer as one of the most powerful men in Washington...Schumer supports Bush's Attorney General nominee and, viola!...the DOJ reverses itself on the Second Amendment and sells out the very people who got Bush elected...twice.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


From the NRA Institute for Legislative Action website:
The U.S. Government, through its Solicitor General, has filed an amicus brief in this case. We applaud the government’s recognition that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right that is “central to the preservation of liberty.” The brief also correctly recognizes that the D.C. statutes ban “a commonly-used and commonly-possessed firearm in a way that has no grounding in Framing-era practice,” the Second Amendment applies to the District of Columbia, is not restricted to service in a militia and secures the natural right of self-defense.

However, the government’s position is also that a “heightened” level of judicial scrutiny should be applied to these questions. The National Rifle Association believes that the Court should use the highest level of scrutiny in reviewing the D.C. gun ban. We further believe a complete ban on handgun ownership and self-defense in one’s own home does not pass ANY level of judicial scrutiny. Even the government agrees that “the greater the scope of the prohibition and its impact on private firearm possession, the more difficult it will be to defend under the Second Amendment.” A complete ban is the kind of infringement that is the greatest in scope. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit correctly ruled that D.C.’s statutes are unconstitutional. We strongly believe the ruling should be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.


At least we now know where the Republican Party stands on the "gun issue" — behind us, with knives!

This from the morning's LA Times:
Bush administration backs gun regulation

A D.C. ban on home handguns may not be constitutional, the solicitor general tells the Supreme Court, but rights are limited and federal firearm restrictions should be upheld.
By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 13, 2008

WASHINGTON -- In their legal battle over gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment, gun- control advocates never expected to get a boost from the Bush administration.

But that's just what happened when U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement urged the Supreme Court in a brief Friday to say that gun rights are limited and subject to "reasonable regulation" by the government and that all federal restrictions on firearms should be upheld.

Reasonable regulations include the federal ban on machine guns and other "particularly dangerous types of firearms," he said in the brief. Moreover, the government forbids gun possession by felons, drug users, "mental defectives" and people subject to restraining orders, he said.

"Given the unquestionable threat to public safety that unrestricted private firearm possession would entail, various categories of firearm-related regulation are permitted by the 2nd Amendment," Clement said. He filed the brief in a closely watched case involving Washington, D.C.'s ban on keeping handguns at home for self-defense.

The head of a gun-control group said he was pleasantly surprised by the solicitor general's stand.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence, said he saluted the administration for recognizing a need for limits on gun rights.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


More on this later, but I wanted to get it up ASAP. From David Hardy, the Bush DOJ files its amicus brief...for D.C.!

Quick read: Gov't says, yes, it's an individual right. BUT we join with DC in asking Court to reverse the DC Circuit, because it applied strict scrutiny to the DC law. It should only have applied an intermediate standard. That is, the legal position of the US is that DC CIrcuit was wrong, a complete ban on handguns is NOT per se unconstitutional, it all depends on how good a reason DC can prove for it. Some quotes:

"When, as here, a law directly limits the private pos-
session of “Arms” in a way that has no grounding in
Framing-era practice, the Second Amendment requires
that the law be subject to heightened scrutiny that con-
siders (a) the practical impact of the challenged restric-
tions on the plaintiff’s ability to possess firearms for
lawful purposes (which depends in turn on the nature
and functional adequacy of available alternatives), and
(b) the strength of the government’s interest in enforce-
ment of the relevant restriction.

The court of appeals, by contrast, appears to have
adopted a more categorical approach. The court’s deci-
sion could be read to hold that the Second Amendment
categorically precludes any ban on a category of “Arms”
that can be traced back to the Founding era. If adopted
by this Court, such an analysis could cast doubt on the
constitutionality of existing federal legislation prohibit-
ing the possession of certain firearms, including
machineguns. However, the text and history of the Sec-
ond Amendment point to a more flexible standard of

:The determi-
nation whether those laws deprive respondent of a func-
tional firearm depends substantially on whether D.C.’s
trigger-lock provision, D.C. Code § 7-2507.02, can prop-
erly be interpreted (as petitioners contend, see Br. 56)
in a manner that allows respondent to possess a func-
tional long gun in his home.8 And if the trigger-lock pro-
vision can be construed in such a manner, the courts
below would be required to address the factual is-
sue—not fully explored during the prior course of the
litigation—whether the firearms that are lawfully avail-
able to respondent are significantly less suited to the
identified lawful purpose (self-defense in the home) than
the type of firearm (i.e., a handgun) that D.C. law bars
respondent from possessing.9
To the extent necessary, further consideration of
those questions should occur in the lower courts, which
would be in the best position to determine, in light of
this Court’s exposition of the proper standard of review,
whether any fact-finding is necessary, and to place any
appropriate limits on any evidentiary proceedings.
Moreover, even if the existing record proved to be ade-
quate, initial examination of those issues is typically
better reserved for the lower courts."

The Court should affirm that the Second Amend-
ment, no less than other provisions of the Bill of Rights,
secures an individual right, and should clarify that the
right is subject to the more flexible standard of review
described above. If the Court takes those foundational
steps, the better course would be to remand. "

As I read this, the (Bush) Dept of Justice is asking that the Court hold it to be an individual right, but not strike the DC gun law, instead sending it back down to the trial court to take evidence on everything from how much the District needs the law to whether people can defend themselves without pistols and just what the DC trigger lock law means. THEN maybe it can begin another four year trek to the Supremes. That is, the DoJ REJECTS the DC Circuit position that an absolute, flat, ban on handguns violates the Second Amendment, and contends that it might just be justified, it all depends on the evidence.

There was a saying during my years in DC that the GOP operated on two principles: screw your friends and appease your enemies. Yup.

A Gunny Weekend!

My Class 3 dealer, good buddy Alan Samuel, notified me yesterday that my Serbu Super Shorty 12-gauge, built on a Remington 870, has arrived! The Serbu is an AOW, Any Other Weapon, so it's a $5 trwansfer. I figure I've got another month or two for all my paperwork to clear before I can pick up the gun.

Just for the heck of it, later this year, I'm putting together a one-day "Sawed-Off Shotgun Operator" class to fil. Short-barreled pistol-gripped shotguns aren't taken that seriously except in very specific roles, such as breaching or close-in executive protection.

I'm interested in putting together a class that explores what the short shotgun can do. I figure I'll open it up to a few people — we'll have shorties and regular pistol-grip shotguns, probably Mossbergs, which I like in the pistol-grip configuration. Not sure who'll be instructing...I've talked to Bill Murphy, who is IMHO the best shotgun man in the country. If Bill doesn't want to do it, I might approach Al Clark, who was a master of the 870 for the SEALS and now hoas his own training operation. Watch DOWN RANGE for the announcement of when and where.

An interesting firearms trend I wouldn't have expected...the rise of small frame 1911 9mms.

I just got a mailing from STI International that they'll have their Rogue, an intsy-bitsy 9mm 1911, available at SHOT. Here's the spec:
With the Rogue, STI International delivers a compact 1911 pistol with an overall length of only 6½“. This is our lightest pistol yet, weighing about 21 oz.

The Rogue’s “slenderized” classic slide has traditional styling and rear cocking serrations, STI oversized ejection port, and integral sights. The Rogue is built on a forged aluminum STI “LS” sized frame with a stippled front strap. The grip includes a flat checkered polymer mainspring housing configured to provide excellent retention. The controls are an STI singled sided blued thumb safety and a “bobbed” STI high rise blued knuckle relief beavertail grip safety. The barrel is a 3.0” fully supported STI ramped modified cone barrel. The Rogue comes standard with an STI RecoilMaster guide rod system, LS style hammer, and patented STI International trigger system.

The Rogue is standard in 9mm.
This is the aluminum-framed, shorter barreled version of the STI LS system that I've been talking about for almost a decade. The STI LS 9mm is one of the best little carry guns ever made. I carried a customized LS (from Dane Burns) for years, usually in an Alessi IWB. It's a great little gun — flat as a pancake — but at 28 ounces, a bit portly.

What's interesting to me is that when I started carrying the LS9 (as opposed to the LS.40 in .40 S&W), it raised a few eyebrows. Who carried a 9mm when he or she could carry a .40 or a .45?

How things change! There's been a general acknowledgment that ammunition technology has narrowed the difference between the 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP. Sure, the .45 will always reign supreme, but the 9mm is aways going to be easier to shoot, which means faster repeat shots. In the past few months, both Walt Rauch and Dave Spalding, IMO the Gold Standard for thoughtful modern gunwriting, have expressed their willingness to move from a .45-centric universe to a 9mm. Writing in the current issue of Combat Handguns, Spalding writes:
Let's be honest, a bigger bullet is a better bullet; this is somthing that's hard to dispute. But with a heavier, larger bullet comes more recoil impulse, which is something that is detrimental for many shooter. I happen to like the 9mm and have no problem carrying it for personal defense, but I am first to admit I want the best bullet I can get in the chamber. Furthermore, the 9mm is more cost effective to train with, which is something that cannot be ignored. remember the whole shot placement/practice thing?
Obviously, we've had 9mm 1911s available since the Dawn of Time, including lightweight Commanders in nine. The drawback was, of course, that the damn things didn't run without a lot of custom — read, expensive — massaging. Walt has a wonderful custom 1911 9mm, I believe from Armand Swenson, that is a joy to shoot.

Starting with the Springfield EMP, a 1911 single action sized specifically for 9mm-length cartridges, and followed quickly by the superb Para USA Carry 9mm, an 8 + 1 9mm featuring the super-slick Para LDA (light double action) system with full (if smaller) 1911 ergonomics and the higher capacity, 12 + 1 Hawg 9mm, hand-sized 9mms with the familiar 1911 ergonomics were suddenly the concealed carry choice de jour. Kimber has joined the fray with their Aegis line of 9mm 3-inchers, madein their custom shop anjd avaiable in various flavors.

I think this is a great trend! After all those years of competing with a 1911, John Browning's classic design will always feel more comfortable in my hands. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm looking forward to shooting some USPSA Single Stack matches this year...in fact, I'm signed up for the Single Stack Classic, the SS Nationals and Dick Heinie's signature match, in April (I'm shooting on Friday if anyone would like to join me). I'm also on board for what may be the coolest of cowboy matches, the very first Wild Bunch match the weekend before End of Trail in mid-June...instead of single action revolvers, Wild Bunch matches — based on the classic Peckinpah "Wild Bunch" movie — allow 1911s along with heavy caliber lever action rifles and 12-gauge Winchester '97 pumps in military "Trench Gun" guise. Yee-haw! The only thing better would be if they'd allow semi Thompsons as the rifles, but you can't have everything I suppose!

I bring all this 1911 competition stuff up because I made the decision to switch my main carry gun from the Sig Sauer P225/P1 I've been carrying for a couple of years back to the STI LS9. I'm considering a switch from the LS9 to the Para Carry 9 (like the one pictured above), which you've heard me rave about on several posts and podcasts. You can see Carry 9 video on DOWN RANGE...watch the video and you'll see why I'm crazy about the gun!

I've shot the LDA system a lot and don't have any trouble shifting between the LDA and a tradition single action, and I'd prefer the LDA system for times when I off-body carry. I strongly consider you consider one of the new mini-9mm 1911s as a carry option, especially if you have small hands or are one of them women-types. Ammo is not going to get any cheaper, which means it will play a bigger and bigger factor.

In my 9mm carry guns, I carry 124-grain Hornady TAPS; I'm also perfectly happy with the Cor-Bon 125-grain 9mm +P. I wouldn't be uncomfortable with any of the premium American manufacturers' 124/125-grain JHP self-defense loadings. I also carry a spare magazine of older IMI 9mm black-tip carbine ammo (which is effectively a +P+ round and no longer available...you can occasionally find some on the auction sites) because it is extremely penetrative against auto window glass and door panels — I did my own tests years ago. An alternative would be to carry a spare magazine of 9mm ball...some of the European ball has a reputation for being pretty hot. The rationale for this is for civilian purposes, you're unlikely to use all the rounds in your primary magazine anyway, and you'll be carrying antipersonnel rounds in that primary. If you have to go to the second magazine, the situation has gone 'way south, and you may indeed need to shoot through something, hence the ball ammo.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dial 911...and wait...

From YouTube...powerful...

Michael Cheats a Day....

Okay, I'll spill the beans — I took yesterday off and went snowboarding wihtth my Sweetie at Copper Mountain. Well, I went snowboarding...she's a skier...sigh...nobody's perfect! It was a great day, largely by a fortuitous accident.

For the last five years, I've been riding in Raichle hard boots (like ski boots) — a necessity after I splintered three of the bones across the top of my left foot in a pretty spectacular crash — on steel plate blindings. I used them on a stiff "carve board," that is, a board designed to carve like a ski. It's just this side of a dedicated race board. The board/binding/boot combo are as stiff as, well, a board and requires an aggressive, physical style of snowboarding. A day on the slopes left me exhausted.

Parenthetically, I've noticed that over the last few years I've spent less and less time on the board...strange, since I live in a town with its own ski resort and it's exactly 10 minutes from my office chair to the base of the "A" lift. No particular reason...just less and less it seemed worth the effort.

Yesterday we got to Copper, started putting on the gear and I discovered one of my boots was busted, which I hadn't noticed when I pulled the gear out. In a snit, I stalked over to the equipment rental place and rented a basic soft boot/ratchet binding snowboarding rig for the day. After the first run, my Sweetie said, "You look great...smooth!" And heck, I was smooth...the board seemed to flow down the mountain without me working nearly as hard. Instead of pounding down the mountain with Led Zep's "Been a Long Time" on the mental sundtrack, it was more of a Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl" ride...by the end of the day, I was exhilerated and not beat all to crap...apparently I'd refound something I wasn't aware that I'd lost.

Always good! For the rest of this year, I'll spend time in soft boots and figure out what IU loved about the sport in the first place.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Great Response to Reuters Article

Say Uncle did a really nice job on this:
Bernd Debusmann writing at Reuters notes that gun culture in the US is fading. And by notes I mean re-prints Violence Policy Center propaganda. In fact, here’s a link to their study. And by study, I mean a reprint of data from other sources. But it beats their usual method of calling Google searches studies.

SF Handgun Ban Goes Down,,,Again...

The SF Handgun Ban, which has ben tossed out in two courts, got tossed out of the California Court of Appeals:
SAN FRANCISCO (Map, News) - A 2005 voter-approved ban on gun sales and handgun possession in The City was shot down again — this time in the California Court of Appeals.

All three state appellate judges hearing The City’s appeal of a 2006 San Francisco Superior Court decision against the prohibition agreed Wednesday that the law was invalid because state law pre-empted it.

Judge Ignazio Ruvolo, who wrote the decision, took issue with portions of Proposition H that banned the sale, manufacture, transfer or distribution of ammunition of firearms as well as the ban of handgun possession.

“The sheer breadth of Prop. H makes it vulnerable to a pre-emption challenge,” Ruvolo wrote. “We wish to stress that the goal of any local authority wishing to legislate in the area of gun control should be to accommodate the local interest with the least possible interference with state law.”
Should it have squeaked through, it would have faced a Constitutional appeal similar to D.C. v Heller.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Designer Taser!

Named the "Bad Idea of the Year" at the 2008 CES," a designer Taser with an MP3 player! Actually, it shoots the little barbs into you and then plays a Paris Hilton album...Fashion with a bite indeed!

Is the Gun Culture DYING? Scary Stuff!!!!!

Reuters says "yes." Here's the whole story:

America's gun culture - fading slowly?

By Bernd Debusmann

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Is America, land of shooting massacres in schools and public places, slowly falling out of love with guns?

The answer is yes, and it runs counter to popular perceptions of the United States as a country where most citizens are armed to the teeth and believe it is every American's inalienable right to buy an AK 47-style assault rifle with the minimum of bureaucratic paperwork.

But in fact, gun ownership in the United States has been declining steadily over more than three decades, relegating gun owners to minority status.

At the same time, support for stricter gun controls has been growing steadily and those in favor make up a majority.

This is a little-reported phenomenon but the trend is shown clearly by statistics compiled by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC), which has been tracking gun ownership and attitudes on firearms since 1972, the longest-running survey on the subject in the United States.

The number of households with guns dropped from a high of 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006, according to NORC, and the percentage of Americans who reported personally owning a gun has shrunk to just under 22 percent.

So, by the rules of democratic play, one might assume that the majority would have major influence on legislation. But that's not how it works, thanks to the enormous influence of the gun lobby.

The long-term decline monitored by the Chicago survey has buoyed proponents of tighter gun controls. "America's gun culture is fading," says Josh Sugarmann, who heads the Washington-based Violence Policy Center.

According to Sugarmann, those keeping the culture alive and those most vocal in resisting tighter regulations are white, middle-aged men whose enthusiasm for firearms, hunting and shooting is not shared by younger Americans.

Yet, at the moment it's difficult to imagine the U.S. without its gun culture.

But then, who could have imagined France with a ban on smoking in public places, Germany with speed limits on almost half its autobahns, or a black man as a serious contender in this year's presidential elections in the United States?

To what extent gun ownership will continue to shrink depends, at least in part, on a decision by the U.S. Supreme court expected this summer. The court will rule on one of the most acrimonious disputes in the United States: do Americans have the constitutional right to own and bear arms?


At the heart of the long-running debate, argued with more passion than almost any other, is the meaning of the U.S. constitution's second amendment.

Written 219 years ago, it says: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

A string of lower court rulings over several decades held that the amendment meant to guarantee the collective right of state militias, not individual citizens. Such rulings have had limited impact: gun regulations vary from state to state and in most, weapons are easy to buy and legal to keep.

There are a few exceptions: handguns are illegal in Chicago and in Washington, where a court ruled in December that its total ban violated the constitution. That is the case the Supreme Court will take up this year.

No matter how it rules, the court's decision is unlikely to make much immediate difference to the mass shootings by unhinged citizens that have become part of American life.

Gun rampages happen with such numbing regularity -- on average one every three weeks in 2007 -- that they barely make news unless the death toll climbs into double digits, as happened at the Virginia Tech university. There, a student with mental problems killed 32 of his peers and himself.

President George W. Bush this week signed into law a bill meant to prevent people with a record of mental disease from buying weapons.

Virginia Tech was the worst school shooting in U.S. history and rekindled the debate over the easy availability of guns in America. There are more private firearms in the United States than anywhere else in the world -- at least 200 million.

While that arsenal has been growing every year, the proportion of U.S. households where guns are held has been shrinking. In other words: Fewer people have more guns.

One estimate, by the National Police Foundation, says that 10 percent of the country's adults own roughly three quarters of all firearms.


That is the hard core, which counts on the gun lobby, chief of all the National Rifle Association (NRA), to throttle attempts to impose restrictions on the sale of firearms.

The NRA, a group that claims some 3 million members, calls itself "America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights" and backs candidates for political office on their stand on one issue -- gun ownership -- regardless of party affiliation.

Politicians tend to pander to the NRA, some more shamelessly than others. One of the Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential race, Mitt Romney, went so far as to falsely claim that he was a lifelong hunter and had received an official NRA endorsement in 2002.

Small wonder, then, that the debates following every shooting massacre tend to focus not on the easy availability of guns but on preventive security measures.

Metal detectors at the entrances of shopping malls, for example. Or bullet-proof backpacks. They were developed in the wake of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, where two teenagers killed 12 students and teachers and then themselves.

The Columbine-inspired backpacks went on sale in August and have sold briskly. "Sales picked up considerably in the Christmas period," said Mike Pelonzi, one of the two men -- both fathers -- who designed and market them. "Our market is expanding."

(You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters com) (Editing by Sean Maguire)

Podcast Up!

The weekly podcast is up over at DOWN RANGE! You can listen to it, of course, by clicking on the player abovie, or go to iTunes and subscribe. You can also listen to Marshal Holloway's Cowboy Action Radio podcast, which is getting rave reviews!

This week I wax poetic about Max Brooks' great zombie novel World War Z, the oral history of the Zombie Wars. Man, Mr. Brooks can write...you won't be able to put this book down!

I also have an excellent interview with professional shooter Todd Jarrett, and a review of the new Para USA "Super Hawg" 6-inch high-capacity 1911 .45, which I really liked. I'm going to go up top my office and upload a bunch of Super Hawg photos to the blog and the Articles section og DOWN RANGE. We'll also be putting up some video shooting tips from Todd.

I've also decided to move all the political discussion off the blog over to the DOWN RANGE Forums, into the Gun Owners for Fred Forums — and NO, you don't have to limit your discussions to Fred (especially after last night).

Here's a little tidbit from Reason Online in Gun World that annoyed me...the NFL and the NBA take an increasingly harder antigun stance:
Unfortunately, officials in the NFL and the NBA increasingly take a paternalistic attitude toward their athletes. For years, the NFL and the NBA have attempted to distance players from firearms. Some would argue these policies are aimed at a culture that celebrates the criminal use of violent weapons, but the effect is pretty clear: The leagues would rather their players put themselves at risk than protect themselves with guns.
I had a long and really excellent talk with new NRA President John Sigler yesterday. He's right on point, and I think I'm going to get him on the podcast sometime very soon. One thing he said really struck me. "Whomever gets elected," Sigler said, "we'll survive. We survived 8 years of Clinton 1 and constant attack...we'll survive whatever they throw at us." Amen to that!

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Damn Good Question...

...and here it is:

All of you people who are virtually hysterical in your comments on political posts, the "Oh my God...Fred it finished...what's wrong with you kool-aide drinkers...are you all crazy, you sick bastards?"

What would you have me do?

That's right...for all your bleating like sheep being goosed by wolves, for all your histronics, I haven't yet heard an answer to that question.

What would you have me do?

Support Romney? He's in favor of a new assault weapons ban. McCain? Close the gun show loophole and gut the First Amendment. Huckabee? Sorry boys and girls, I was raised a fundamentalist Baptist...I can't say I would look forward to an evangelical as President...especially one who believes in spending spending spending. I am a libertarian at heart...more government is by definition bad. Defend the borders; kill the terrorists and stay the hell out of my life!

Do I think Thompson's doing great? No. But I do believe he's the only man standing up. Romney and McCain want the Presidency so bad they would eviserate their grandmothers in the town square if they thought it would get them elected...they positively stink of ambition out of control...and that makes them exactly the kind of people I don't want running my country.

What would you have me do?

Maybe there's a chance of a brokered convention. Maybe Thompson ends up as a Vice-Presidential candidate, which will hopefully put some pro-gun heat on the nominee. Maybe he drops out, in which case I will do my level best to carry a pro-gun message to the nominee.

I despise politics...I always have. At the national level, it's a game of whores. I believe in the Constitution, and I'd like to save as much of it as I can. I work for guns and for the Second Amendment.

I serve Kool-Aide, I don't drink it.

Back from Blackwater!

Spent a few days in lovely Moyock, NC, at Blackwater. Man! I did a bunch of events at the fledgling Blackwater before 9/11, but I truly couldn't recognize the place...talk about seriously huge!

Marshal and I were there to do some work with ace shooter Todd Jarrett and shoot some new ParaUSA hardware for DOWN RANGE...hopefully we'll have it up Wednesday (we need to get some specs for the guns). It was Big Fun...Todd set a new World Record, and you'll get to see him do it...and laugh!

Later today I'm going to post photos and blog stuff on the Para Super Hawg, the six-inch high-cap 1911 introduced late last year at NASGW. I got to put a lot of rounds through the gun and have a lot of positive impressions. I also got to shoot Todd's .40 cal Limited version, the prototype that he show at last Year's USPSA Limited Nationals...gee, you think Todd Jarrett's Limited racegun might rock?

BTW, Fred ain't dead! There's a really funny line going around New Hamster this week on Mitt Romney...which actor in which movie does Mitt Romney most resemble? Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense...he's dead, but he's the only one who doesn't know it....

Friday, January 04, 2008

Thompson '08 Rolls On!

Hey, it's the morning after Iowa and we're still here! Fred's still here...fake conservative Romey takes a whipping...

Mo' latah!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hectic Day!

Will post a bit more tonight...SHOOTING GALLERY stuff for the new season, which we should be debuting momentarily...we plan t0 do a big roll-out on DOWN RANGE!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Catch-22 of Presidential Politics

From the Samizdata blog this AM:
Fred Thompson: too sane to be President?
Paul Marks (Northamptonshire) North American affairs

This morning Fox and Friends concentrated on three candidates in relation the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night: the two lead candidates in the polls, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney - and John McCain... this was in spite of the fact that Senator McCain is not in Iowa (he is in New Hampshire) and that Fred Thompson is ahead of John McCain is most of Iowa polls.

This is a part of pattern: last night Fred Thompson was on Fox News Sunday, but in the panel discussion, later in the show, the panellists ignored Fred Thompson. He is attacked by people, including me, for not going on enough television shows - but when he does go on what he says is ignored, so perhaps I see why he does not clamour to go on. Yesterday morning Fox and Friends, like the rest of the media, was busy laughing at Fred Thompson's comments about not being obsessed with politics: "If one is not passionate about campaigning one should not run for office," was the message of the media.

But what sort of person is passionate about the political process? Not getting things done - but the process of gaining votes. Of going around pretending to be close personal friends with lots and lots of people one has never met before?

Fred Thompson is in the middle of a 40 town Iowa tour - so he is hardly lazy. And he does go on television shows - thus dealing with critics, such as myself, who attacked him for not going on enough shows. But what sort of person would enjoy all this?

A lunatic. Someone who was interested in office for its own sake - not as a means to reduce the size and scope of government.

What the media, including Fox News (the only non-leftist news station and, therefore, of vital importance in the Republican nomination process), are saying is that Fred Thompson is too sane to be President. It is not enough to produce detailed policies for dealing with the entitlement program Welfare State (a cancer that is destroying the United States and the rest of the Western World), or producing a new optional flat tax (individuals could continue to use the existing system if they wished to) to deal with the nightmare of complexity that the income tax has become.

It is not even enough to have a long record of service, going back to Watergate and taking down a corrupt Governor of Tennessee in the 1970's. And having one of the most Conservative voting records in the United States Senate - before leaving it in disgust at how the system did not allow real reform.

No - someone has to enjoy the prospect for office for its own sake, not to reduce the size and scope of government and restore a Federal Republic. One must enjoy the whole process of politics - i.e. be crazy. Or one must pretend to enjoy it - i.e. be a liar.

And then people complain that politicians are either crazy or corrupt. When they shoo away anyone who comes along who is neither crazy or corrupt.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Crab Cake Success!

Hey! Crab cakes are darn hard to pull off. Luckily, last night I hit a crab cake home run, thanks to two cookbooks — THE FOOD OF SANTA FE and Alton Brown's I'M JUST HERE FOR THE FOOD. There's a tendency in crab cakes to make them too rich, but the Santa Fe recipe was spot on — crab, bread crumbs, eggs (but not too many), parsley and Djon mustard (I subbed out a spicy brown mustard from Sierra Nevada made with their porter).

The accompanying sauce was whipped with with red onions, cilantro, oranges, roasted tomatoes, chilis and a bit of adobo sauce, mixed and then reduced with wine. What I got from Mr. Brown, my personal hero, was getting over my fear of frying. That's right...a scary admission from a Southern cook! When I was growing up, everything was pan-fired in "saved" fat, pulled from a frightening can of lard (stored on top of teh stove), Crisco, old bacon fat and god knows what else, saved from year to year as a study in bacteria culturing...yes, my mother once sent an entire Thanksgiving dinner to the hospital with food poisoning, but that was because of a "casserole"made of canned English peas, Velveeta and warm mayonaise. I wisely fed my serving to the dog, who threw up.

Anyway, I'm not a great fryer. Last night I just took a deep breath, a couple of glasses of wine (Benziger Family Winery's chard...I love that vineyard and the wine), a 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet, a thermometer and 1/2-inch of vegetable oil...perfect! I may have to address the calamari issue next week.

Of course we had to grind out a snowy hike today to pay for those crab cakes!

And Happy New Year!