I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that the ATF made this determination

(With my best Capt. Renault impression).

So, the ATF went and sent a letter (PDF link) to the manufacturer of Can Cannons that said their product was not a firearm, but that attaching it to a rifle receiver made the rifle a Short-Barreled-Rifle, or attaching it to a pistol receiver made the pistol an AOW. Cue Internet Rage(TM).

As you might have gathered, I’m not at all surprised by this determination. This device does not, after all, stop the receiver from being a “firearm,” being basically a variation on a blank-firing-adapter. And it’s shorter than 16″ (short-barreled), and a smoothbore (AOW for pistol). This is a consequence of the Can Cannon being a accessory to what is legally a firearm. If they had instead built it as a complete unit, completely unable to fire conventional ammo, things might be different. As it is, though, an AR-15 doesn’t stop being a firearm when you mount a Can Cannon on it.

This is just another reminder of how mind-numbingly stupid the patch to NFA’34 to allow handguns, but still effectively ban anything that could be considered a handgun but isn’t actually a handgun. (That sentence hurt just as much to write as it does to read, I assure you, but was the only way I could express how I understand the history of the Act.)

On the other hand, I am a little surprised they didn’t just rule the assembled weapon as a Destructive Device (that bore is way bigger that 0.50″)


EDIT: The ATF Determination Letter

A high-schooler, a clock, a bomb?

L’affaire Ahmed has been reverberating across my facebook feed for a while now, and it looks like we’ve gotten about all the facts that are going to be shaken loose outside of discovery in a civil suit (if there is one). And while I can’t say I’m surprised at some of the knicker-twisting, I’m a little disappointed. First, a picture of the clock (or hoax bomb). CNN says this is police provided. No real scale is provided, but note the power plug – the case is approximately the size of the top half of a piece of paper, when closed, per this amazon listing. (Amazon listing complete with self-amusing internet jokers in comments)


clockbox closeup

According to this post and comments (which is where I pulled the above pics from), the guts are a 1970s-1980s vintage digital clock, contained in a pencil box available on Amazon. Since the CNN article notes that it was discovered in Ahmed’s backpack when an alarm went off, I’m going to assume that there was a 9V battery in place at the time (or some other on-board power source since removed).

Now, there are (at least) two competing narratives running around. Ahmed’s story is that he made this as an alarm clock, brought it in to show a teacher, and then another teacher discovered it and brought it to the attention of the authorities, who then flipped out, etc. The other narrative is that he deliberately made a fake bomb, and allowed it to be discovered, because Reasons. The second narrative really doesn’t pass Occam’s Razor for me, though. First, that’s a really bad fake IED. A real IED is supposed to be innocuous, of course, and not draw attention to itself until too late. A fake one, that you might want to use in a bomb scare, on the other hand, needs to be obvious. This is a pencil box when closed up, with nothing (except possibly the power cord) showing on the outside to make you think it’s anything else. And when it’s open, where’s the “payload?” Even Hollywood Bombs have obvious explosives in them. No play-doh, no red-painted cylinders with wires coming off of them, nothing that shouts “I’m a thirty-minute bomb, I’m a thirty-minute bomb!” Secondly, there’s the whole “he didn’t make that” meme, because it’s a commercial product, disassembled and half-way mounted into the case; rather than being a from-scratch project. The thing is, it’s a 30-ish year old clock, in a recent case. There’s an incongruity there that irks me. Finally, Ahmed’s behavior doesn’t fit. Why did he establish the device was his own practically as the first thing he did upon bringing it to school, and why did he maintain possession of it the entire time he was in school?

Here’s my theory. A 14-year old tinkerer was bored one day and opened up a broken alarm clock made before he was born, and got it working again (loose wire, broken solder, what have you). He decides to install the repaired clock into a pencil case, and he’s “made” himself a custom alarm clock from stuff lying around his desk. In a fit of 14-year-old enthusiasm and forethought typical of 14-year-old enthusiasm, he takes this alarm clock he made into school to show his friends and teachers this cool thing he did. In previous times, it might have been a shiny new pocketknife, or a wrist rocket (slingshot), etc. He shows it to a friendly teacher, who may have encouraged his ambitions, but tells him to keep it out of view because someone might overreact. Ahmed goes on with his day, forgetting he has an alarm set (or not knowing. I have a similar vintage alarm clock that is distressingly easy to accidentally arm the alarm on, and it’s defaulted to 0000 hrs. Very annoying). Alarm goes off in his backpack, disrupts class, teacher wants to see, teacher freaks. Then the school administration, being a bunch of zero-tolerance idiots, freaks and bring in Johnny Law. Ahmed insists he’s done nothing wrong – it’s a clock, see? Keeps time and everything. Possibly following the advice given out regularly around these parts of “don’t talk to the law without a lawyer.” The notable thing at this point is that the school administration never believed it was a real bomb, since they didn’t do evacuate the school or otherwise put into action bomb-scare plans. Instead, they jumped right to bringing down the hammer on what, at most, is a little understandable high-school-frosh eager stupidity, and thus splashing this all over the country.

Bringing the thing into school wasn’t the wisest idea in the world, and I’m not going to say the school should have not reacted at all, but calling the cops in and interrogating a student without benefit of counsel with the cops present? Yeesh.

Shooting the LARC M19-A

In the last news links post, I mentioned having fired an LARC M19-A BB-machine gun, linking to an article about it in Small Arms Review. My friend and sometimes co-blogger Jason still has the one I fired, and offered to take some video of it in action. It’s a lot of fun. If the anti-gun folks like calling semi-automatic rifles a bullet hose, this is about the closest you’ll come to one, except it shoots BBs. Watch it tear up this empty anti-freeze bottle:

Jason told me that the regulator on his air compressor struggled to feed the beast enough air, but there’s one good satisfying burst.

Kathleen Kane Now Ineligible for Office?

It seems like there’s now a question over whether Attorney General Kathleen Kane is, as of today, now ineligible to hold the statewide office. Why? Because the state Supreme Court just suspended her law license.

Yes, the woman who Mike Bloomberg spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect, can’t even represent one of Mike’s Illegal Mayor allies who held a man hostage with a gun.

Oh yeah, and just because I try to remind the voters in the central part of the state who voted their football allegiances over gun rights every time that Kathleen Kane is in trouble – elections have consequences.

Interesting News on New York Employment Law & Handguns

Eugene Volokh has a great post up on the Nassau County District Attorney’s office policy that forbids employees from owning handguns at home.

While he does first address the Second Amendment constitutional rights, I found the second part of the post the most compelling. There’s actually a law in New York that forbids employers from discriminating against employees or candidates for employment based on their lawful hobbies that in no way impacts their work (no compensation, no use of work equipment, not done on premises, etc.). I had no idea that such a statute was on the books in their Labor Code, but it seems like one that gun owners in New York might want to keep in mind.

Volokh only makes the case that this protects handgun collecting, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t also protect a competitive shooter. Sports are listed as a protected leisure time activity. Regardless, this was a very interesting tidbit that could come in handy should an anti-gun boss decide to take an extreme action against a New York gun owner – like the DA’s office has apparently decided to do in Nassau County.

Partial Win in DC Circuit

A 3 judge panel has struck down some of DC’s gun laws. In the Heller III case. The Court threw out their gun rationing scheme, which is good news. The panel struck down the requirement that gun owners re-register every three years, appear in person, but upheld registration and training in general. The full opinion can be found here:

For the reasons set forth above, the district court’s final order is AFFIRMED with respect to: the basic registration requirement as applied to long guns, D.C. Code §7- 2502.01(a); the requirement that a registrant be fingerprinted and photographed and make a personal appearance to register a firearm, D.C. Code § 7-2502.04; the requirement that an individual pay certain fees associated with the registration of a firearm, D.C. Code § 7-2502.05; and the requirement that registrants complete a firearms safety and training course, D.C. Code § 7-2502.03(a)(13). The district court’s order is REVERSED with respect to the requirement that a person bring with him the firearm to be registered, D.C. Code § 7- 2502.04(c); the requirement that a gun owner re-register his firearm every three years, D.C. Code §7-2502.07a; the requirement that conditions registration of a firearm upon passing a test of knowledge of the District’s firearms laws, D.C. Code §7-2502.03(a)(10); and the prohibition on registration of “more than one pistol per registrant during any 30-day period,” D.C. Code § 7-2502.03(e).

Mixed bag, really. I’d probably not want to file cert on this case unless there’s a change on the Supreme Court that would make it stronger on the Second Amendment. It would be risky taking a case challenging these issues forward.

h/t Dave Hardy

Weekly Gun News – Edition 15

Just when you think maybe your fall won’t be that busy, the landlord boots our company from its palatial estate. Not because they don’t like us or anything, but because we lease from a client of ours, and they need the space for themselves. We’ve known this was coming for a while, but now it’s panic time. This is going to make a lot of work for me over the next several weeks, so I appreciate everyone’s patience. But let us see how many useful tabs I have open:

Gun writer Frank James has passed on. R.I.P.

Lessons from the field: don’t misplace your gun.

As a tech geek, it gets on my nerves when tech geeks comment on technology, like guns, they don’t know the first thing about.

Millennial may be moving to greater gun ownership. I feel like I wrote about this or linked this before, but maybe I only intended to. I’ve said before, I think gun control advocates are going to be disappointed with this generation. Gun control is a movement of old white women, for the most part.

A dose of reality about Australian gun laws.

The biggest gun grabber in the IL State Senate, Dan Kotowski, is stepping down to join a ‘Child Advocacy’ group in Chicago.”

Here’s the old gun and cars meme again, saying we should treat guns more like cars, even though we already mostly do. Cars are actually far less regulated in many areas. Our opponents have always tried to deceive people into believing that guns are essentially unregulated.

Al-Queda is targeting billionaires, including Mike Bloomberg. Good thing they have all that armed security. Remember, good guys with guns never stop bad guys with guns, right Mike?

Dave Hardy has been digging through the Clinton Archives, looking at his executive agenda on guns. I’d wear gloves if I were you, Dave. You don’t know where those documents have been.

A look at Time Kaine’s gun control bill.

They don’t want a national conversation about gun control, as they claim, they want to lecture everyone else.

A guide for GOP candidates on how to fill Court vacancies. A lot is at stake this coming election. The next President will shape the court for a generation.

I’ve actually fired one of these. Very fun.

GOA endorses Ted Cruz. Jacob is right, that it’s way too early. But it all makes sense if you understand that GOA may have motivations that go beyond gun rights.

The Pennsylvania State Police have no authority to conduct inspections of FFLs, absent a valid warrant.

Apparently hunting licenses and hunting fees are an important part of wildlife conservation in Africa. Who would have guessed? Actually, I’m surprised to see this in the New York Times.

The police are allowed to take your firearm during a traffic stop, says federal court. Pennsylvania isn’t a duty to inform state. How did the officer find out you had a gun? If I’m not legally obligated, I never tell an officer I’m armed. Just goes smoother and safer that way.

McAuliffe brings an armed guard to the gun control rally. They are big, important people, you see. Know your place, peasant!

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people floating this idiotic idea over the 15 years I’ve been paying attention to this issue, but it’s still as dumb today as it was then.

Clayton Cramer says to the anti-gun folks, if they don’t like guns, stop promoting bans, because threats of bans seem to sell a lot of guns. Like I’ve said before, the gun control movement is having an impact.

You don’t say: “Criminals Pretty Much Avoid Buying Guns Legally, Says University of Chicago Study

Dispelling a common myth: “You Don’t Need a License to Own a Gun In Philadelphia” Gun ownership in Philadelphia is the same as in the rest of the state, except you need a License to Carry Firearms to carry a firearm on the streets at all, openly or concealed.

Off Topic:

Rudy Giuliani shows how to sell conservative ideas without making it seem like you want to push grandma off a cliff or starve the homeless.

Hillary’s campaign is imploding. This is no real surprise. I’ve seen Township Supervisors with more raw political talent. Her only real political accomplishment was marrying Bill Clinton. She’d have trouble getting elected dog catcher otherwise.

Text of S.2016, Tim Kaine’s New Gun Control Bill

This bill isn’t meant to be serious, it’s mean to grab headlines. It’s shameful. It doesn’t not have even a single cosponsor as of this writing. It’s so short it’ll take just a minute to read. Basically it converts the offense of selling a gun to a prohibited person into a strict liability offense. That’s all it does. It doesn’t define what measures constitute “reasonable steps to determine that the recipient is not legally barred from possessing firearms or ammunition.” So we have no idea how one complies with this law. It’ll end up being whatever the judge decides it is. If this were a serious bill, and not an epic troll on the part of Senator Kaine, this bill would be a big concern to FFLs.

In actuality, this bill is likely unconstitutional, since it creates a serious felony offense as a strict liability crime. Typically serious offenses require culpability on the part of the accused. That’s even putting aside the Second Amendment issues. This bill is a joke, literally. Kaine thinks so little of your gun rights, he doesn’t even have the decency to take twenty more minutes to make a serious bill. This was about grabbing headlines, and little else.

Hopefully the Virginia GOP gets serious next election and finally puts the Former Senator Macaca out to pasture. Those seats could be up for grabs with a serious candidate.

The Trouble with Flashlights

Tam has been carrying a SureFire E2D Ultra, and comments that the switch design leaves a lot to be desired. I carry a Fenix LD10, showing here:

Fenix LD10

It’s a bit more worn than that today, and in truth it’s probably out of date. With the Fenix, you adjust the intensity by screwing out the lens a bit. That’s fine when you have both hands, but sometimes you don’t, so I leave it on the highest setting. The big issue leaving it on high is the on switch, which is on the butt of the flashlight, gets switched on when I sit down sometimes. It can either engage furniture or engage the sheath of my Leatherman. Now, give it 10 minutes or so, and I’ll usually notice, “Something feels warm in my pocket, and I know it isn’t that, so the flashlight must have gotten stuck on again.” I’ve had batteries drain completely in this scenario, and it happens often enough I now use NiMH rechargeable, and just change them regularly. I use the flashlight multiple times a day.

Ideally I’d like a flashlight where I can turn on and off, and change intensity using only one hand. The SureFire E2D Ultra looks like it might be a solution. It would seem the solution to Tam’s issue would be to make it a one second double click instead of two. Maybe even half a second. I can double click a switch a hell of a lot faster than I can move my whole body. Perhaps a microswitch could be fitted somewhere inside that allows the user to adjust the double click speed.

Steel Gong Bleg

A few months ago, our club started putting in gongs for members to shoot at on both the 100 yard and 200 yard rages. I thought this was a great idea, because I’m a big fan of reactive targets and getting people exiting about putting bullets on steel. But we’ve had problems with the frames getting shot up on the 100 yard gong. There have been suggestions that people are using AP ammo on the gongs. I have some experience shooting steel, but mostly with pistols and .22LR. I’m pretty sure AP will punch through 3/8 AR500 steel. Plus, AP just isn’t very common. The most common is M2 AP, and it’s not so common you’d want to target shoot with it. It’s my opinion the craters on the gong are from steel core ammo, and the small divots are from regular old 5.56x45mm. The gong is made of AR500 steel, 3/8″ thick.

Gong Pitting

The frame holding the gongs up is mild steel bar, about 1/2 inch, and took this damage:


I asked Joe Huffman, who has a lot more experience with this kind of thing than I do what the damage looked like to him, and he was kind enough to run an experiment. Sure enough, regular old .223 rounds will shoot right through mild steel, while pistol ammunition will just polish it. Looks to me like these are rifle hits, with just ordinary ammunition. I’m thinking we may want to acquire one of these armored stands from Salute Targets. We expected this to be a maintenance items, but so are wooden target frames, and people like to shoot the gongs. There’s also speculation among club leadership that some of the damage is deliberate. I’ll admit the tight group on the bar right where the straps were is suspicious, but I’d hate to see someone brought up on charges and booted from the club for poor marksmanship. I’m also thinking we might need to ask members not to shoot at the gongs with steel core ammunition.

If anyone else can offer their experience, I’d be appreciative.

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