Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Cheery Afternoon in Texas...

...with an ace epidemiologist discussing emerging viruses...I swear, I will NEVER shake hands with anyone again! Hand me the sanitizer...

While I'm disinfecting myself, here's an article from Kurt Hofmann at the St. Louis Gun Examiner on one of the best pieces of safety equipment that the government regulates at a disproportionate level, the suppressor: 
As with vertical fore grips, the BATFE enthusiastically enforces their interpretation of laws regulating suppressors, to the extent that they have prosecuted (persecuted) people because they possessed rubber washers--supposedly "unregistered silencer parts."

Often called (rather inaccurately) "silencers," suppressors were invented around 1900, and work on the same basic principles that exhaust mufflers for internal combustion engines do. They were also developed for the same reason--protection of hearing and reduction of noise pollution.
What they were not designed as is "assassins' tools." Granted, the ability to fire a quieter gunshot would have some utility for crime, but by the same token, having a muffler on the exhaust system of one's getaway car, or the car from which one does a drive-by shooting, is useful for the criminal, as well.
The strict regulation of suppressors in the U.S. came about in 1934, with the advent of the National Firearms Act (NFA), which also introduced strict regulation of fully automatic firearms, short barreled rifles and shotguns, and firearms with a bore of greater than half an inch (exceptions are made for shotguns).
Most accept as an article of faith the idea that the NFA was passed in response to the violence of the gangster era of the 20's and 30's. This ignores the fact that it was passed after the repeal of prohibition, when such violence was dramatically reduced, anyway. Additiionally, while the Thompson submachine gun ("Tommy Gun") was famously associated with gangsters and bank robbers, accounts of rampant "silencer violence" are pretty difficult to find.
Currently, in fact, some countries with much more restrictive gun laws than those of the U.S. impose no restrictions whatsoever on suppressors.
And why should they? Why would anyone object to a device that protects one's hearing?
You guys know SHOOTING GALLERY has gone to the mattresses supporting suppressors, and we're going to continue down that path. I realize the likelihood of easing suppressor regulation is pretty much impossible with the current pack of morons running the government, but it's still worth the effort, I think.

I'm really looking forward to shooting the FNP 45 next weekend, after, of course, I boil it in bleach, just to be sure. It feels pretty good in the hand, and I liked the heck out of my FNP 9mm until my Sweetie seized it as her very own. I still don't think I'm ready to go back whole hog to .45...too much downside in these no-ammo days. There does seem to be a good bit of 5.56 around, so that's a positive.

The third book of Matt Bracken's Enemies Foreign & Domestic, FOREIGN ENEMIES AND TRAITORS, is finally out. The first volume, ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC, was good, but the second volume, DOMESTIC ENEMIES: THE RECONQUISTA, was just spectacular. I'm definitely looking forward to volume three...maybe I can read it in my Clean Room...

...and from the Wall Street Journal a cool look at guns in China, the home of many emerging viruses (tip of the ole virus mask to The Firearms Blog for the story): 
China's weapons laws are among the world's toughest. Its blanket ban on private ownership of rifles, pistols and even gun replicas is a core tenet of social policy. Still, a gun culture is taking hold.

China may be freer from gun crime than many nations, and official statistics show overall crime on a continuous down trend. Yet, these days, reports about gun crimes turn up as often as several times a week even in the tightly controlled state-run media. The reports are often brief, without much follow-up as cases progress. Still, the splashy gunfights, murders, gun-factory raids and smuggling busts that get reported contrast with China's zero-tolerance stance on guns, and point to changes in criminals' behavior.

But the trend is about more than crime. Guns are now fashionable in paintings and movies, while Chinese-language Web sites and glossy magazines cater to gun buffs. And legal shooting clubs in cities let customers fire away at targets for a fee. Bored with golfing, some affluent businessmen slip into the countryside for hunts.

Even as China's government seeks to keep guns off the street, and shields its massive gun-manufacturing business behind state-secrets laws, it helps stoke the public imagination about guns. Schoolchildren learn to salute the flag shouldering imitation rifles, while state media celebrate the heroism of military and athletic marksmanship.

"In the 1960s, shooting was for national defense," said Xie Xianqiao, a former amateur shooting coach. "These days, shooting is entertainment." 
Well, they make okay 1897 and 1887 Winchester shotgun replicas, so I guess that's a start. I hope the gun culture takes hold in fun to shoot over there!

Excuse me, I have to go wash my hands...and the iPhone...and the television remote...and my computer keyboard...maybe the toothbrush...


Geoff aka Pathfinder said...

Don't forget to autoclave the book before handling it. Can't be too careful, now, can we?

Anonymous said...

I stopped shaking hands a few years ago Mike....just respectfully decline......

Turns out that statistics show only 2 out of 10 people wash their hands after using the facilities and that number includes Doctors and Nurses...

People are filthy animals! :)

JT said...

Don't touch anything.

Anonymous said...

I touch everything! If you don't get "contaminated", your body can't build up its immune resistance.
Shake a hand. Crawl in the dirt. Eat something that's been left out for a couple of hours (but even I draw the line at overnight).

It's good for you!
B Woodman

Anonymous said...

So, Chinese school children have more rights than American school children when it comes to guns? They get to salute their flag, while carrying fake guns! We expel our kids for doing the same thing! Our's get expelled for even drawing a picture of a gun! We call it "zero-tolerance".
Who'd a thunk?
Life Member

P. S.: Regarding germs; In the "old days", we had a saying. It went: "You have to eat a bushel of dirt before you grow up". We were less fastidious on the farm and in the woods and we're still alive and well. We were also taught something that isn't very common today; "common sense".

Mr. Completely said...

At the European Steel Challenge Championships I had a great conversation with a couple of German shooters about gun laws around the world. They had a good laugh when I told them that in Washington State you can own a suppressor, you just aren't allowed to attach it to your firearm!

Mr. C.

(Going to GBR-IV?)

Dock said...

Hi Michael-

Well heck - you're just up the road from me right now! I'll be glad to swing your way and say "hi" - just leave a comment on my blog. Assuming you have time, or feel like touching a keyboard! :)

Last night's DRR podcast was really great. I confess that I frequently overlook the FNP when considering pistols; it seems to occupy a blind spot for me. Maybe I should blame Karl Rehn, he and his merry band of instructors are all XD-holics!

I hope you're enjoying your time here in Texas - been a bit warm of late, but in truth, cooler than we're used to for this time of year... count your blessings, I guess. (You can feel free to laugh at me if I ever come to Colorado - I'll be the one in the Antarctic survival gear, shivering like a jackhammer!)

Anonymous said...

I was watching the BBC tv show called The F Word, and Gordon Ramsey was hunting deer with a high-power bolt action with a suppressor (IN THE UK!). Can’t seem to find any pictures of him setting up on the hunt, but news story below highlights the episode.