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Pearl Clutching Alert: Range & Restaurant in Daytona Beach

Miguel notes that our opponents are freaking out because a shooting range in Florida is also going to have a license to serve alcohol. He is correct to point out that this is nothing new, and also perfectly safe if done correctly. But since it helps drive the narrative of the reckless gun owner, the media will be happy to run stories on this.

My club has a strict “no alcohol on premises” rule, and it’s against the rules to be intoxicated on club property. But I’ve been to other clubs that have a bar, and even one club that had a pretty decent restaurant on site too. The rule usually is if you come to have a drink, you get flagged and aren’t allowed to use the shooting parts of the facility. Most clubs I’ve ever been to, rules are taken quite seriously and the penalties for serious safety violations are generally ejection from the club.

But Americans have always been a bit puritanical about alcohol to begin with. The Swiss take it even a step further, and it’s not uncommon there to have a glass of wine or beer before hitting the firing line with fully automatic assault rifles. I don’t think anyone would argue the Swiss are irresponsible with firearms. It’s a different culture, and a different set of attitudes. I thought we were supposed to celebrate diversity, and different cultures?

Regardless, there’s absolutely no danger in what this club is doing if it’s done safely, and I’m sure it will be done safely.

Guns Won’t Deter Every Criminal

A man in West Philadelphia was robbed of a gun when the guy behind him in line noticed he was carrying and decided to relieve him of his firearm (warning, news footage will auto-play). You can read Bob Owens’ take here, and Tam’s here. I don’t really have much more to add. My bet, given the neighborhood, and the guy’s apparent age, is that the victim was probably a student living farther out in West Philadelphia than is generally prudent for a naive kid from the ‘burbs. Good on him for thinking enough about his safety to arm himself, but here he paid the price poor concealment, poor holster, and poor training. The 600 block of North 40th Street is not a good neighborhood (at least it wasn’t when I was going to school there).

Still, I feel for the victim. I’ve done more training than your average carrier, which really isn’t saying much, at all, because one thing more training teaches you is that you don’t have nearly enough! I won’t pretend I’m some kind of ninja who would have reacted any better. I am more conscientious about printing than I used to be, because some people know what to look for, and you can’t expect the sight of a carried gun is going to deter every criminal. Most of us get away with a lot of poor choices in self-defense because we live in quiet neighborhoods where, to be honest, you’re more likely to die from a poor diet and bad driving than lose life or limb to a criminal. But that neighborhood? I’d recommend starting with full size pistol and a good holster, and adapt everything else in your wardrobe (and plan) around that.

NY Times Advances Narrative of Brutish Gun Owner

It’s pretty apparent this New York Times article about the impact of shooting on federal land is meant to smear responsible shooters as reckless and irreverent heathen out terrorizing the quiet countryside, but it would do us no good to pretend that every shooter out there is a good steward of the land. Back years ago when I used to shoot at public ranges, I saw a lot of cringe inducing behavior, and I have left a range on an occasion or two because of grossly unsafe behavior. I used to not only pick up my own trash, but would pick up other garbage people left on the range as well. Poor stewardship of public shooting areas makes us all look bad.

But I used to hike too, and I can tell you that not all hikers are good stewards of the land either. Same is true for mountain bikers, ATV operators, snow mobiles — you name it. What bothers me about the Times article is that it paints shooters as being some kind of unique jerks. You’ll find a healthy share of jerks in any recreational activity. The Times is simply working to advance the politically convenient narrative of the dim-witted, reckless, and brutish gun owner.

Flamethrower Company Runs Into Trouble

IonXM42While it’s true that flamethrowers are unregulated, they don’t have a culture surrounding them like firearms do. Which means there’s no preemption law to protect manufacturers, sellers and buyers from the ravages of hysterical local politicians, who are often petty little Napoleons in their own right. Such is the Mayor of the town of Warren Michigan, who is moving to ban flamethrowers. Warren is where Ion Productions makes the XM42. You might think “well, he’ll just have to ban super soakers then too,” but I’m not certain that his proposed legislation doesn’t actually do that:

It describes a flamethrower as “any transportable device that can emit a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid at a distance of more than two feet.” It doesn’t include open-flame cooking devices as defined by the International Fire Code, torches used for industrial purposes or smaller flame-producing devices, like cigar lighters. It also makes exceptions for any officers, employees or members of the Armed Forces, law enforcement, fire department or local, state or federal government workers on duty and acting within the scope of his or her employment.

I’m not sure how this doesn’t cover a super soaker, since it’s certainly can “emit a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid at a distance of more than two feet” with a pretty minimal level of creativity. Let me also say how relieved I am that the Mayor decided to make an exception for Law Enforcement, because I guess we never know when we might have to burn people out of their homes, or hose down a rowdy crowd with some napalm — legitimately, and as a function of law, and for their own good, of course.

I like that a lot young people are embracing libertarian ideas and philosophy, but they are coming against the hard reality that most people aren’t libertarian in philosophy or thought, and aren’t going to agree that people can have dangerous things that they themselves don’t see any legitimate use for. I get taking on the man, but without the cultural underpinnings to support a particular freedom, attracting undue attention to it can result in that freedom ending for everyone. At the end of the day, what does it accomplish?

It’s an dilemma I don’t know how to resolve it. I think people should be allowed to have things that aren’t inherently dangerous to others, which a flamethrower is not. You have to do something stupid and/or evil with it in order for someone to get hurt, and the law would be more just to only punish the stupid and/or evil behavior than to ban the instrument that enabled it. Are there places where even using a flamethrower is stupid? I think that’s debatable. But again, that’s restricting use. If I want to take it out to a quarry and have a good old time setting piles of wood chips on fire, it ought to be my freedom to do so.

But most people don’t think this way. They aren’t willing to live in a society where there’s more risk in order to preserve someone’s “strange” idea of fun. These are people who live relatively conventional lives, and don’t exist much outside of convention. For the most part, they run the world. The reason we’ve been successful with guns is because we’ve abandoned the idea of defending firearms rights on the basis of recreation, which doesn’t appeal to anyone who doesn’t engage in the hobby or who lacks any curiosity about it. Instead, we embraced defending it on the basis of self-defense, which a lot more people can relate to. I worry that at the end of the day, preserving people’s right to have fun with flamethrowers, or their right to make guns at home, won’t prove compelling enough to ordinary people to stand against a tide of public hysteria if it were to come this way.

You know, it occurs to me I don’t have a “flamethrower” category. I guess I’ll have to file this under “civil liberties.”

Look Who’s Spendin’

Bloomberg’s anti-gun movement has been frustrated in many states, except Oregon has recently tilted in his favor. It should be no surprise, then, that Everytown outspend pro-gun rights groups 10 to 1 there too. The other side wants to talk about the well-funded “gun lobby,” but reality is that Bloomberg can outspend us election after election if he really wants to, and money talks. If we don’t match Bloomberg’s cash with real and sustained grassroots energy, he will end up being able to successfully buy legislation, as he succeeded doing in Oregon.

That’s a great pep talking video, except that he can do a hell of a lot of damage with his money. We have to match it with grassroots energy more than cash. NRA only has so much money it can spend in a state in an election year, and Bloomberg has been carefully targeting states he thinks his money can make the difference. The question is whether it makes sense to bite and throw everything at the states Bloomberg has targeted, or stick to making things better in states where we have a definitive grassroots advantage.

Latest Propaganda from Everytown

Bloomberg has been using his money to fund quite a number of studies that say guns are bad, Mmkay? The latest is that police officers tend to be killed by guns in states with more guns.

“If we’re interested in protecting police officers, we need to look at what’s killing them, and what’s killing them is guns,” says Swedler.

What’s killing them is cars, really. Take a look at this NPR story looking at 2014 deaths, and you’ll note that firearms deaths are only about 1/4 of all the police officer deaths. NPR also notes this:

One important asterisk to this news: While gun deaths of officers have increased, they still remain 12-percent lower than the decade-long average of 57.

And that’s while the civilian stock of firearms has been skyrocketing. Reuters has another article on the study. The media eats up these stories from Bloomberg’s researchers. Unlike other studies, this one can be found online. You can find John Lott’s deconstruction of the study here.

Vox Gets What No Gun Control Group Does

If I had a list of rules of effective political advocacy, on that list would be that you should be able to know and argue your opponents position as well as, or better than they can. The left-leaning Vox.com runs an article speaking truth about who they are up against in the fight for more gun control, and I think they pretty much get it right.

But money alone cannot explain the gun lobby’s success. Members of the NRA and allied groups bring an intensity, volume, asymmetry, and geographic reach of passion that is rare in American politics. Until that is matched on the other side, the gun lobby will continue to win.

This is essentially why Bloomberg struggles for success, despite being able to outspend us. If the Democrats were supportive of the Second Amendment, even if it was just lukewarm, I could probably find better things to do on election days when I’m dissatisfied with the Republican choices on other issues (which I usually am).

CNN Wets Themselves Over Legal Flamethrowers

Apparently someone at CNN Money heard of a company selling surplus flamethrowers for $1600 bucks, and laid an egg when they found out that they are totally unregulated. It seems even more silly to ban flamethrowers as it does firearms. A super soaker would not be the world’s safest flamethrower, but if you were hell bent on harming people it would do in a pinch. It won’t set you back $1600 dollars either. I believe it is Joe Huffman who often argues that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted with matches and gasoline either. It would seem there are plenty of people who agree! But probably not in a way that promotes freedom.

Slow Gun News

If you’re like me, you find nothing particularly new or interesting about vapid celebrities bloviating on gun control, it’s been a slow news cycle over the past week. In some ways, I hate to complain about that, because careful what you wish for. These days I’m reminded I was complaining a lot before the Sandy Hook gun control fight that things were getting pretty boring in the issue. Charles C.W. Cooke recently did an interview with Ann Coulter speaking about The Donald, including his vacillation on gun control topics over the years.

I’ve long argued that people can be educated, and that those who seek and hold political office will often gravitate towards or away from positions based solely on political expediency. That Trump once held a different opinion doesn’t bother me too much. But all things being equal, I’d rather have a candidate who’s been more solid on the issue over the years. Coulter is correct that Kasich once voted for an assault weapons ban, but has since come to Jesus. I don’t think Kasich has a prayer of winning the nomination.

These days, I’m kind of leaning toward Carly, who has been pretty consistent for at least a few years on the gun issue, and I’m impressed with how well she handles hostile media. But I’d still classify myself as undecided.

Cousin Eddie’s Crazy Glock Torture Test

Bob Owens links to this Glock torture test video, but I can’t get over the fact that this guy sounds exactly like Randy Quiad playing Cousin Eddie from the Vacation movies.

The whole time I’m watching it, I keep thinking:

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