The Irony, It Burns

I could fisk this editorial from the Philly Inquirer about the evils of concealed carry reciprocity. But most of you have heard those arguments before. Instead, I’ll just highlight a relevant point compared with some other news from today.

The NRA and its acolytes in Congress argue that this measure simply brings a degree of uniformity to concealed-carry permits in much the same way as one state honors another’s drivers’ licenses.

But the stakes are much higher, since making the right determination about who should – and should not – carry a gun is a potential matter of life and death to a degree unmatched by rules about who gets to slide behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Follow that with a report from the front lines in Philly about their crime problems:

With last night’s vehicular homicide, the kill tally in #Philly is now 302.

I look forward to tomorrow’s editorial calling for the end to the “49 state loophole” that allows drivers from other states to come into Pennsylvania with their tools of death (aka cars) that are too dangerous for Philadelphia’s streets.

Sugarmann Has Seen Better Days

Joe Huffman frequently reminds us of quotes from the gun banners in the 1990s, and this quote from Sugarmann, speaking of gun control merely being a half-mesaure, is telling. Joe comments:

Sugarmann, goes through regulatory proposals such as licensing, registration, expanding background checks at gun shows and stopping the import of high-capacity magazines. He then concludes a complete ban is the only rational conclusion.

I grudgingly admire Sugarmann for his genius in regards to “assault weapons” and his honesty in saying the endgame must be, always has been, and always will be a complete ban.

Sugarmann was, at one time, quite an intellectual force in the movement to ban guns. Violence Policy Center has never really minced words about the fact that it believes a ban is the only way to go, with anything less being just a stepping stone. Ultimately, and perhaps ironically, his honesty about the end-game is part of what contributed to the downfall of the movement. As genius as his pushing of the assault weapons issue was, as an incremental step along the way toward broader gun controls or gun bans, it was a bridge too far for many gun owners, and ultimately greatly contributed to the demise of his cause.

I’ve often found myself agreeing with Sugarmann on the ineffectiveness of half-measures proposed by many gun control advocates. But Sugarmann thinks you can ban guns, which as we’ve been pointing out, is being rendered a joke of an idea by advancing technology, and the emergence of international smuggling. It will be interesting to see how VPC and Brady fare in the post-Heller world. I think most of the gun control movement that was spawned out of the 70s, in the wake of the Gun Control Act, is fast coming to a close. It will be replaced by new groups like MAIG, who are going to be mostly focused on defending gun regulations in the few states controlled by their large cities. Grand dreams of prohibition are over.

We’re Winning, Part 248

Gun wary reporter from the Boston Globe, Kevin Paul Dupont, takes a look at shooting scholarships being offered by schools, and manages to do a good article on the topic.

According to Hammond, college shooters are typically a cerebral lot. His current coed squad of 10 includes eight shooters who are pursuing engineering degrees. Over the years, he said, his athletes in arms have come from various cultures, including city kids and some from small-town hunting communities. By and large, the students are bright, disciplined, goal-driven athletes who have the requisite endurance and patience to squeeze off 60 shots at a target, needing to remain on their spot for 1 3/4 hours.

Read the whole thing. A big problem our opponents face, despite being trounced in the new media space, is the traditional media has been more willing to take our issue seriously, and cover it more fairly. I think a few things are driving this. One, most online articles now include e-mails to the reporters. While there are a lot of bozos on the Internet, there are still plenty of our people who are willing to engage with folks on the other side in a reasonable way. I think this has come a long way to helping the media take us seriously.

The other is the rise of alternative media, which through interacting with traditional media has provided a source of information, and more importantly correction, when the traditional media has gotten it wrong. Despite the fact that I’ve had only a handful of reporters ever comment on a link of mine to a story of theirs, I’m sure a lot more at least notice when new media sources are talking.

This is, of course, bad news for advocates of gun control, which have always relied on emotions rather than facts to make their case, and who engaged in a campaign of vilification and mischaracterization of gun ownership and Second Amendment advocacy, depersonalizing us with terms like the “gun lobby,” or by suggesting that our whole issue is driven by “gun industry profits,” rather than by individual citizens who value our shooting heritage and value the right to keep and bear arms.

New York Times Article on the Freedom Group

The New York Times has an interesting article on the Freedom Group, including a link to this blog pointing to an article we did a few years ago when George Kollitides ran for the NRA Board. I think they are suggesting there is more controversy here than there actually is. We’re not really all that worried about what the Freedom Group is busy doing with the firearms industry, so much as we just had concerns as to what exactly George Kollitides was going to bring to the NRA Board.

I’ve never really been able to figure out what Freedom Group’s strategy is, short of being able to take advantage of economies of scale by consolidating what has generally been an inefficient cottage industry into something more lean and profitable. But what innovation has Freedom Group really bought to the industry? I think some of the biggest factors holding the industry back, namely marketing to younger shooters, is just as bad as it’s even been.

Fairly Detailed Article in Arizona Republic on F&F

Well worth a read, as it covers just about everything involved in the scandal.

Family History

Sebastian received some information about his grandfather’s WWII service that sent him into research mode last night. While he was at it, he looked up what he could based on what he knew of my grandfather whose grave we visited out in Hawaii last year. Several similar names popped up, but few results on my actual grandfather.

As he told me about it this morning, I whipped out my computer and googled on my grandfather’s full name which just happens to also be my dad’s full name. Guess what I learned?

My dad was part of a state supreme court case before I was born. He won, by the way.

I have texted my mother to find out exactly how I did not know this before now.

Shopping for the Gunnies on Your List

The Outdoor Wire ran a holiday gift ideas list for outdoor enthusiasts last week, and it featured at least a couple of items for gun nuts. Two mentions are guns – both Smith & Wessons at that. Their first mention is the M&P22 pistol because you really can’t go wrong with a .22 to shoot cheaply all day long. The next recommendation is the M&P15 Sport.

Regardless, neither one of these is easy to pick up for the family member of said gun nut. On that front, his only other recommendation is the EoTech XPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight. The Outdoor Wire cites the battery life as a big plus to this sight. The only review on Amazon is low, but that’s because the guy got a defective one that was promptly replaced with a perfect one.

Perhaps the most amusing thing I find on his list would also work for a gunnie out at the range on a cold morning. A Coleman Portable Propane Coffeemaker. I can’t tell you why I find this so amusing, but I do. I think it speaks to the fact that I am not a hardcore coffee person, so I can’t imagine being in such dire need to own this. However, from the way I have seen some coffee addicts search out their next cup of java, I could totally see a market for it – complete with twitching hands trying to replace the propane cylinders when they realize it emptied just before making their next batch of brew.

You’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Dorothy

You know you’ve left the Northeast when you look at the Black Friday ads and find several listings for gun sales.

No, we won’t be heading out to purchase a gun. However, we will be checking out the local gun shop to see what their selection of pepper spray looks like since a family member could use it.

Obama Administration Backs Down Officially

Salazar has issued a statement, which can be found here, saying that shooting on BLM land won’t be interfered with. They unofficially backed down earlier, but this makes it official.

Telescope Blogging

Clayton is offering advice on telescopes for Christmas. This is kind of timely, because after our star tour to the top of Mauna Kea last year, I’ve been thinking I should get one. But it’s a daunting topic. Reflector or refractor? And which kind? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Do I want one that would be easy to schlep to Hawaii? I’d definitely need one that would be easy to transport, because there’s not a whole lot that be seen sandwiched here between Philadelphia and New York.

I’ve also thought that astrophotography would be pretty cool, but I’m guessing pretty expensive as well.

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