Did the weekly video blog yesterday, and it's starting to come together. As I mentioned, we'll be running it in beta, with the formal final-product (with all the flashy graphics and stuff) rollout at the NRA Convention in Charlotte mid-May.
I mentioned that I was in strategy meetings last week with the NRA...those meetings centered on U.S. Forest Service's return to the "good old days" of antigun activism. The Rampart Range in southern Colorado has been closed since a negligent discharge that resulted in a death back in July. Forensic examination later revealed that the gun was faulty. USFS has set an irrational set of preconditions for the range to reopen. Recently, signs went up in shooting areas that apparently intentionally misstated the law on "occupied area" by stating roads are occupied areas — an interpretation specifically denied by the Department of the Interior. Finally, USFS unilaterally issued a new requirement that all target shooting must be on paper or steel targets "designed for target shooting." All these actions have been taken without consulting any gun or shooting groups, although USFS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a number of shooting and hunting groups (including the NRA and NSSF) pledging to consult with the groups on any and all decisions regarding shooting on public lands. To the best of our knowledge, USFS has never consulted with anyone other than their own cloistered antigun staff. More as this develops...
I wanted to mention a few more SHOT guns that I didn't get to see, but at least a few of my friends did. The guys at STI International rolled out a whole series of superb little concealment pistols based on their 1911/2011 platforms — the Elektra, the Shadow and the Eclipse. All three are available in 9mm, .40 and .45 and are slick, light and very concealable. Check them out here. I did get the brief chance at the end of the Show to handle the Elektra, and, as usual, I was seized with 1911 Lust. I carried an STI LS9 for years and, of course, shot a .40 Edge in USPSA competition.
I'd also like to throw a shout-out to Henry Rifles, which continues to expand their already substantial lever gun line. Their .22 lever guns are just wonderful...there is no better tool for introducing young people to shooting. I use mine for rifle practice for SASS...there's also an Evil Roy version that's pretty neat. I have an early version of one of Henry's version of the AR-7 .22 survival rifle. I had some problems with that rifle when I got it (about 10 years ago, I think), but the guys at Henry fell over their own feet to make it right. Henry's tooled up an improved version that I want to test. Why? Because it is what it is — a 2.5 pound .22 rifle that breaks apart and completely stows in its 16-inch stock (with 2 8-round magazines) and MSRP's for $245. Throw it in the car, the boat, the RV, the backpack, etc. I'll let you know when I check it out.
Finally, my heart was broken by the story of more than 40 malnourished macaws (and other animals) seized from a condemned home without power or water in Pueblo. I know we are dealing with a far more important human tragedy in Haiti, but if you can find it in your heart, send a few dollars to the great Gabriel Foundation, which is struggling to save these and care for these magnificent birds. Every visitor to the Secret Hidden Bunker is enchanted with our two macaws, Cleo and Bishop, and our gray parrot, Ripley, the Unequivocal King of the World, My Sweetie and I then spend time talking the people out of even thinking about getting a parrot for a pet because of the huge lifelong commitment to caring for these wild — not domesticated — animals. I always fall back on this quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
"Many have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You remain responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."