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Civil Disobedience on Assault Weapons

Boulder residents are standing firm on not complying with the city’s ban on assault weapons:

Boulder’s newly enacted “assault weapons” ban is meeting with stiff resistance from its “gun-toting hippies,” staunch liberals who also happen to be devoted firearms owners.

That’s great. Why don’t you try to send a message by not voting for anti-gun Democrats. You see, because if you keep voting for assholes who want to do this to you, they will keep doing it.

“That was a neat protest because it really brought out people from Boulder,” Ms. Hollywood said. “People you would never expect to be gun owners were standing there, the gun-toting hippies, basically, saying, ‘Why are you guys doing this to us? We didn’t do anything wrong, and now you’re coming after us.’ “

Stop voting for them.

State Wide Offices

The Dems have pretty much locked the GOP out of state-wide offices. I don’t believe one is held by the Republicans. That’s going to burn us eventually, and it’s already largely started. Auditor General isn’t usually an office I worry about spewing gun control, but in this day in age, when everything is political and we all love ourselves some virtue signaling, I guess we have to worry. Points that DePasquale’s report makes that I have issues with:

  • Encourage doctors sticking their nose into business they have no expertise in. If I’m suicidal, I can understand a doctor asking about things in the household I could use to potentially hurt myself or others. But most people are not suicidal, and if I’m not seeking mental health treatment it’s no business of any doctor whether or not I own a firearm.
  • Pushes ballistic analysis which has proven in other states to be a useless waste of law enforcement resources.
  • Encouraging Sheriffs to check on references. The problem is information related to applications is private, and sheriffs can’t reveal information about an application to anyone. So what can they really check?

A lot of these points he makes don’t sound all that objectionable. But if you read the fine print, a lot of it is useless feel-good crap.

“Doctors’ offices should provide free information on firearm safety to all patients.”

Really? What expertise do they have on this topic. Do they teach firearms safety in medical school? No. Keep them out of this. Doctors should only have a role in this if their patients start acting crazy.

“Suicide and domestic violence should also be addressed in firearms classes.”

Again, we’re getting away from expertise here. What do firearms instructors know about suicide and domestic violence prevention, other than telling people it’s a bad idea to let crazy or violent people have access to your guns? If you ask us to hand out bullshit propaganda from the medical establishment, the answer is going to be, “No!” The place to address this is at retail, if you’re going to involve the firearms community.

“It also encourages [dealers] to display and distribute suicide prevention materials. NHFSC developed these materials based on feedback from firearms retailers.”

That’s fine, as long as it’s good material and not anti-gun propaganda. At retail is where you’re likely to encounter someone looking to harm themselves. Someone looking to off themselves isn’t going to take a class. We don’t teach people how to use a gun for that purpose in a class.

The problem with a lot of DePasquale’s recommendations is no one involved in the gun issue trusts the medical establishment, and for good reason. They are virulently anti-gun. The AMA supports a whole slew of gun control measures, including gun bans. Bloomberg could have written that position paper. So if the question is will I acquiesce to getting medicine more involved in the gun issue, the answer is “Hell No!” They’ve picked their side, and they are the enemy.

Happy 2019

I am back from a prolonged trip, and have gotten caught up with a lot, except for getting the blog going again. I hope you all had a nice Christmas, or whatever you might celebrate. We’re getting close to my 12 year blogoversary, which is Sunday. I’ll be busy that day, so will not be blogging again about it. I’ve slowed down a good bit from when we started this venture, but in 2019 I’m going to try to post more in the coming year. I’ll never be able to get back to what I used to do, but I don’t wish to hang it up quite yet.

To start off the year, I recommend reading Kevin Creighton’s post at Ricochet: “Gun Owners are Being Othered, And We’re Letting it Happen.

I’ll offer some observations for 2019, because I think this is going to be a challenging year for us. In my mind gun people are suffering from a number of maladies:

  • Everyone underestimated how much Bloomberg’s money would make a difference for the gun control movement. It’s made a huge difference. Our biggest asset historically has been our ability to self-organize. There have always been a sizable number of people who would support gun control, but the movement won’t organically provide the money and organizing talent to make them a force. But with Bloomberg’s money, and the money from other elites he’s bringing along, that’s no longer an issue for them. With the money a given, it will buy them a movement.
  • We surrendered the “horizontal interpretive communities” that got us where we are to top-down social media which are centrally controlled. I can remember seasoned activists from the 80s and 90s tell me they got their message out using informal fax networks to organize back when that was a new technology. We’ve always been on the bleeding edge of self-organization. But our community doesn’t have an answer yet for the problems being caused by Google and Facebook, who would rather see us disappear and largely have the power to accomplish that if they really wanted.
  • Too many people insisted on bringing unrelated culture war issues along with gun rights, which has made it difficult to expand our base, and has completely removed us as a force in one of the two major parties. I’m not saying that means we support anti-gun Dems: the damage has already been done. Our only hope is keeping the Dems confined to a minority of states to keep them from power until they come to their senses. There is some hope we can accomplish this with the Senate.

Not all of this is our fault, or a result of people sitting on their laurels. We gun owners didn’t surrender the distributed Internet of the 90s and 00s to a handful of Silicon Valley elites. Society as a whole decided centralized control of the Internet was desirable, and we’re being dragged along. I suspect before too long a technology will come along to disrupt Google and the social media companies. When that happens, we have to be ready to dominate it and start self-organizing. It’s what we do best.

Red Flag Laws are Bullshit

It’s via Bloomberg’s propaganda outlet The Trace, that we learn of a “successful” use of Vermont’s Bloomberg-bought-and-paid-for “Red Flag” law:

They say through interviews, investigators learned the suspects planned to get guns and bring them to school Dec. 18 at noon to shoot a student. They learned a second student volunteered to get guns from a relative.

One suspect was taken to Porter Medical Center for psychiatric counseling and treatment in the custody of DCF.

Prosecutors got an Extreme Risk Order so the guns could be seized from the other student’s relative’s home.

Woah, back up there. Let me make sure I understand this: Red Flag laws mean that if I’m targeted by a conspiracy by two individuals related to me to steal my property and misuse it, that I can lose my guns? Who’s the victim here? How can this possibly be constitutional?

Remember this: Bloomberg’s people consider this a success. A man was targeted to have his guns stolen, so the state decided to come in and steal them first. This is success, according to them. It’s how the system is supposed to work. It used to be the solution to something like this would be to lock up the thieves. Conspiracy to commit a crime is illegal, if they took any steps to further the conspiracy. Once they were on the police radar, this is what should have been done.

What’s Going on at NRA?

I should preface this by noting that over the past two years, I’ve focused on things other than keeping up with internal NRA gossip and goings on. We still know people there, and still can give some Board members a call to find out what’s going on, but for the most part, I’ve been focused on other things. So people who ask me what’s going on in Fairfax, I don’t likely know more than you do at this point.

That said, I’ve noticed a few things going on at NRA over the past several months. One is that The Trace is actually doing some quality reporting on NRA’s internal issues. Granted, you have to understand the lens through which they want to present things, which is to make NRA look bad generally, but they are doing interesting work if you read it with a critical eye.

Second, whatever is going on at NRA, there are people willing to leak to The Trace either because they are that disgruntled, or to gain the upper hand in internal battles by outing their internal opponents dirty laundry in a way that will cause embarrassment. Either way, it tells me the internal quibbles are bad enough that there are people who think airing dirty laundry to the enemy is better for the organization than letting their internal opposition win. That’s not a good situation to be in.

I know there are reformers out there trying to make a difference, and I’m open to reformers. But I’m not seeing anything out there I feel like I could get behind. So I offer the following advice for reformers, which you can take or leave. I don’t really care either way:

  • If you’re going to come in hard and strong, openly claiming to represent an upending of the status quo, and challenging the Board’s powerful members (I’m talking to you, Adam Kraut), you better be coming with an army behind you. NRA has 76 Board members. One, two, or three people aren’t going to change the Board, and you can absolutely expect any organization to circle the wagons against an avowed revolutionary.
  • Even if you can get one, two, or three reformers on the Board, you’re better off learning the Board’s politics and working with it. At this stage it’s important to not be seen as having personally antagonized people. Otherwise the body is going to do everything they can to keep your reformers out of the loop and keep them as powerless as they can manage.
  • Every organization I’ve ever been involved with has a handful of practices that are culturally destructive. You won’t be able to fix all of them. Take them on one at a time. Your allies for each will probably be different. You may not even be able to get the worst practices. Stick to what’s doable, and what’s doable is going to depend on what you can find allies for.
  • Even people who agree NRA needs reform need to understand the political situation and know what limitations we face. There are times when retreat is necessary. Generals who don’t understand when they need to retreat in battles lose armies and lose wars. You have to know when a position is untenable, and the best option is to fall back and regroup. Here’s an unpleasant truth: bump stocks are not a tenable position. Machine guns or anything that shoots like a machine gun is not a tenable position. Saving semi-automatic rifles is a tenable position, and they are under severe threat in a number of states, such as Washington, Oregon, and probably soon to be Nevada and Colorado. Machine guns were lost in 1934. That was the time to fight, and our grandparents and great-grandparents blew it. We’re in a “save what we can, where we can” situation with respect to machine guns, and the bump stock issue threatens to upend that whole applecart. I just use this issue as an example. But fighting everything, everywhere, all the time, 100% is a recipe for losing. “No compromise” is a recipe for losing. We do not have the numbers to always get our way.

I’m not saying revolution is bad, necessarily. In 1977 it was necessary. Maybe it’s necessary again. But the NRA of today is very different than the NRA of 1977. For one, it’s about 5x larger. Over the years it’s also put mechanisms in place to thwart revolutions. It would be very difficult if not impossible to pull off another Cincinnati Revolt. If there’s NRA is to reform, it’s probably going to come incrementally.

Pick one or two issues. They can be big issues. Even issues that is likely going to make some staffers cringe. But be realistic about what you can achieve. Be very careful about attacking people personally. If you do so, you better be sure doing so will gain you more allies than it’ll cost you. If you’re going to aim for the king, you had better not miss.

Couldn’t Have Happened to a Bigger Bunch of …

Dicks Sporting Goods says it may have to close its Field and Stream stores because of poor sales. Still, they say they don’t regret their choices and would make the same choices again if they were given a do-over. It’s not many companies that will deliberately and knowingly piss away significant business while telling investors they are happy to have cost them money. I notice they are rated a sell currently.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc holds several negative signals and is within a wide and falling trend, so we believe it will still perform weakly in the next couple of days or weeks. We therefore hold a negative evaluation of this stock. Due to some small weaknesses in the technical picture we have downgraded our recommendation for this stock since last evaluation from a Hold/Accumulate to a Sell Candidate.

Sounds about right to me!

There’s No Possibility Getting National Reciprocity During Lame Duck

Why does everyone in the gun issue think a Lame Duck passing of National Reciprocity is possible? It’s not. Not happening. Wasn’t going to happen in any known universe of possibilities.

Lame duck sessions are when you might get an outgoing party to do something for an important constituency they didn’t want to otherwise do if having to face re-election. It’s not a magical time where you can get anything you want. First, the Lame Duck House has already passed National Reciprocity. They weren’t the problem.

The problem is getting 60 votes for cloture in the Senate. The votes for that aren’t there, whether it’s a lame duck session or not. The only option would be to eliminate the filibuster, and while I do think the filibuster should be taken back to what it used to be prior to the 1970s, I have a bad bad feeling if we did that now, we’d very much come to regret it in the not too distant future.

The only way we’re likely making progress is to have the courts firm up the 2nd Amendment a bit, and make Bloomberg reel some. Strategically, I think the number one goal should be to get gun bans off the table. You cannot ban handguns, rifles, and shotguns, no matter what they look like, and what ergonomic features they have. Semi-automatic firearms are categorically protected. We also need some kind of protection for common accessories, like magazines. If those are off the table, we’re on much better ground for moving carry forward. I’ve never agreed with putting carry first on the priority list. We need bans off the table, first and foremost.

Kennedy May Have Been the Weak Link

Dave Hardy noticed something in John Paul Stevens’ piece on writing his memoirs:

He said he had taken an extraordinary step in trying to head off the decision. Five weeks before Justice Antonin Scalia circulated his draft opinion for the majority, Justice Stevens sent around a draft of what he called his probable dissent. He said he could not recall ever having done anything like that.

“I thought I should give it every effort to switch the case before it was too late,” he said.

The effort failed. But Justice Stevens wrote that he helped persuade Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who was in the majority, to ask for “some important changes” to Justice Scalia’s opinion. A passage in the opinion, which Justice Scalia had plainly added to secure a fifth vote, said the decision “should not be taken to cast doubt” on many kinds of gun control laws.

As Dave notes, this is pretty strong evidence that Kennedy was the weak member of the coalition, and his replacement by Justice Kavanaugh may tip the balance. Of course, that assumes there was only one weak link, not two. But this is very encouraging. It’s clear that Stevens targeted Kennedy to flip, and when he wouldn’t he at least convinced him to water down the ruling. Indeed, those passages have been latched on by lower courts and gun control advocates to render Heller and McDonald largely meaningless.

This is very good news, because at some point the Republicans will be out and the Dems in, and Dems are still competitive in dozens of states with currently reasonable gun laws. We really do need strong court protections for the Second Amendment, and we’re not going to get them through Congress.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Looking to Exit Guns

They’ve been taking a beating, and are looking to exit the business. How stupid is Dick’s CEO? Let’s say you’re in a business where part of your business is regulated in such a way that emerging players like Amazon can’t easily compete with you. Lets also say you have some good economies of scale over mom and pop businesses that are your other main competition in that area, and can move product more efficiently and offer lower prices. Do you:

  1. Make every effort to stay in the regulated space and keep those customers happy with your brand, so give your brick and mortar business a business line Amazon can’t touch?
  2. Decide, in the same of Social Justice, to anger your customers in your regulated business and piss it away, leaving you to compete directly against Bezos, who eats brick and mortar stores for breakfast, in markets he finds much more favorable.

If you went with two, you’re about as stupid as Dick’s CEO. Angering gun owners and pissing away that business was about the dumbest things Dick’s could have done. You had a strong presence in a protected industry. Are you nuts?

New Shiny Thing: Mk.262

At my club, 200 yards is the max I can reach out to, so the regular old 55 grain FMJ-BT is my bullet of choice. These days what powder I use depends on where I can get some for a very low price or free. Since I’m still going through powder I have scrounged from various sources, I’m not all that familiar with the wide array of choices. I generally have been sticking to Varget, H322, IMR4895 and I just came across a few pounds of Varmint and IMR4198.

I know a couple of guys who occasionally head to a 600-yard range near Atglen to do some long-range silhouette shooting. I haven’t really shot Silhouette in years, because it’s honestly about as much fun as watching paint dry if you’re not getting better. I don’t have the time, patience, or desire to master the sport. Those Silhouette guys helped improve my shooting a lot, but there came a point where it had done everything it was going to do for me without devoting more time to the game than I was willing to give.

But turn it into a precision rifle event with half-scale animals at ridiculous distances? You once again have my attention. That’ll be fun even if I’m missing a lot, and it gives me an excuse to tinker, which never gets old.

However, the most precisionist rifle I have is my AR, which isn’t anything to write home about. I bought it during the height of the ban almost 20 years ago by this point and it’s 100% stock, save the bayonet lug and birdcage flash suppressor I put on after the ban. It has regular old A2 furniture. A few weeks ago I uncased at the club and had some young guy say, “Wow. That’s old school!” It seems like just yesterday it was me saying shit like that to grey haired shooters. I resisted the urge to come back with, “You know, back in my day, we didn’t have any of these free-floatin’ barrels and fancy-dancy ACOGs with illuminated reticles.”

Old school or not, I’m thinking of slapping a halfway decent optic on it, and taking it out to see how I do at that distance with so-so equipment. But no way I’m taking my regular 55 grain load. I’m interested in the capabilities of the Mk. 262 round for reaching out to 600 yards. For those of you who may not be familiar, the Mk.262 is a 5.56x45mm round developed by SOCOM for longer range work. It uses a 77-grain Sierra Match King bullet. It is about as decent a round as you can get and still be able to stuff them into a magazine. I want to work with a practical round and not with loadings that have to be single-loaded into the rifle.

The trouble is, I’m not used to working with bullets that heavy in this chambering, and I’m paranoid about overpressure. A few months ago, I ran into a supply of 75gr HPBT bullets, and I am starting with those. That bullet with 22gr of H322 driving it isn’t yet a compressed load at 2.26″ OAL. Hodgdon says that’ll push out at about 2785ft/sec with 48,100 CUP from a 24″ test barrel. For a 77gr bullet, 21.8grs of H322 pushes 2,721ft/sec a 50,900 CUP. Black Hills seems to get close to 2900ft/sec out of a 20″ Colt AR barrel, so I’m guessing they have to be loading over the SAAMI spec and closer to the NATO spec on chamber pressure, which is about 10,000CUP higher. Anyone have any experience trying to replicate this load to get the same performance as the factory Black Hills load?

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