Common-sense Measures – Depends On Who You Ask

The Brady Campaign put out a press release today commemorating the 17th anniversary of the effective date of the Brady Law. They claim almost 1.8 million supposed criminals, wife beaters, and mentally-ill persons were stopped by the Brady Law from purchasing firearms from FFL’s over this 17 year time period.

To commemorate the 17th anniversay, Paul Helmke has released a list of 17 “common-sense” gun control measures that he would like to see passed. They all can be “easily and quickly can be put in place to reduce gun violence.”

The List:

•Close the” Gun Show” Loophole: Extend Brady Background Checks to All Gun Purchases
•Close the Terror Gap: Prohibit Gun Sales to Suspected Terrorists
•Stop the Sale of Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines (aka Big Bullet-Blasting Boxes)
•Restore Justice to Gun Violence Victims: Repeal the Gun Industry Legal Protection Act
•Repeal Tiahrt Restrictions on Disclosure of Crime Gun Data
•Require Licensing of Gun Owners and Registration of Gun Purchases
•Strengthen ATF Authority to Regulate Gun Dealers and Crack Down on Corrupt Dealers
•Require Gun Owners to Report Lost or Stolen Guns
•Improve the National Violent Death Reporting System Date, and restore firearms research funding for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
•Restrict Large-Volume Gun Sales
•Require Licensed Dealers to Adopt Safeguards to Prevent Gun Thefts
•Require Licensed Dealers to Perform Background Checks on Employees
•Prohibit The Transfer of Gun Inventory Without Background Checks After a Dealer’s License Has Been Revoked
•Prohibit Gun Possession by People Convicted of Violent Misdemeanors
•Prohibit Gun Possession by Persons Convicted of Violent Acts as Juveniles
•Repeal the 24-hour Brady Record Destruction Requirement
•Support new technologies to help law enforcement more effectively trace crime guns and supporting development of safety features to childproof guns

Just reading through the list I learned new words. For example, I didn’t know that my standard capacity AR-15 magazines were actually Big Bullet-Blasting Boxes. Somehow I doubt the MidwayUSA catalog will have a category for Big Bullet-Blasting Boxes.

Moreover, I was somewhat surprised to learn that the Brady Campaign has taken upon itself to speak for NRA members. At least that is what the Brady Campaign claims:

Most Americans, law enforcement officials and a majority of NRA members agree with the Brady Campaign’s goal to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, the dangerously mentally-ill and others who should not have them. None of these 17 recommendations would prevent or impede law-abiding citizens from owning firearms.

What the Brady Campaign forgot to report was how many battered spouses were killed by their abusers in the pre-NICS era of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act due to the five-day waiting period. I guess inconvenient details such as that don’t make for good PR.

Weird Coincidences

I was just reading a release from the Brady Campaign trumpeting the 17th anniversary of the effective date of the Brady Law which is today. The Brady Law went into effect on February 28, 1994.

Another anniversary happens on February 28th as well. On February 28, 1993, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (as it was then called) stormed the Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco, Texas beginning what would become a 50-day siege. Ultimately, four ATF special agents were killed and 78 members of the Branch Davidians died from either the raid or the fire that ended the siege.

I am not saying that there is any relationship between the two events but just that it is odd that both took place on February 28th.

NC Castle Doctrine Bill Scheduled For Final Vote Tonight

The North Carolina State Senate has put the Third Reading or final vote for S. 34 – The Castle Doctrine – on the Senate calendar for this evening’s session. It passed its Second Reading with a 37-13 vote. Normally, it would have had the Third Reading then but for an objection from one of the anti-gun senators.

In something of an anomoly, one of the senators voting against the bill in the Second Reading was St. Sen. Ed Jones from eastern NC. Senator Jones is one of the co-sponsors of S. 34 and is still listed as a co-sponsor.

S. 34 as passed out of committee is a strong bill with support from both the NRA and Grass Roots NC. The fear is that the anti-gun legislators will attempt to add amendments which will weaken the bill. GRNC sent out an alert last evening telling members to ask their state senator to pass the bill as it is currently written.

Real Military Surplus Stores

When I was a kid, Army-Navy stores were common and they were filled with surplus items from WWII and Korea. Since it was before the Gun Control Act of 1968 you even found racks of old Mausers and Springfields full of cosmoline. If you wanted to play Army (how un-PC is that!), they had all the stuff you needed.

Today it is rare to find a real military surplus stores that has actual surplus items and not crap made in China. Usually the closest they come to surplus is selling ribbons, medals, and insignia for wannabe SEALS and other “SpecOps Operators.”

I am fortunate that I have a real military surplus store little more than 5 miles from my house. The Old Grouch’s Military Surplus sells the real thing whether it is surplus USMC motorcycles, wooden practice shells for a 3″ naval gun, or an Alice pack. You keep going back because you just never know what they will somehow lay their hands on. They are located in beautiful downtown Clyde, NC, population 1,324. The store is right across from an old naval gun that is the town’s war memorial as you can see in the picture below.

Thanks to the second generation in the business, the Old Grouch’s son Tim, they now have both a blog and an online presence. They even have a Facebook page! If you are some of the more unusual surplus items along with the common stuff, I suggest giving them a try. If you are ever visiting western North Carolina, drop in to see what a real military surplus store looks like.

Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast just put out a video review of surplus Italian Army alpine rucksacks sold by Old Grouch’s. I have one of the bunch that they sold earlier minus the assault pack. I concur with Jack that they are well made.

Microstamping Bill Introduced In Massachusetts

Rep. David Paul Linsky (D-Middlesex) has introduced House Bill 1561 in the Massachusetts State House. The bill would mandate all semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols sold or manufactured in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts be capable of imprinting a “microstamp” on the face of a cartridge effective January 1, 2012.

The text of the bill reads:

SECTION 1. Chapter 269 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by deleting Section 11E and inserting the following new section:-

Chapter 269: Section 11E. Serial identification numbers on firearms.

Section 11E.

(A) All firearms, rifles and shotguns of new manufacture, manufactured or delivered to any licensed dealer within the commonwealth shall bear serial numbers permanently inscribed on a visible metal area of said firearm, rifle or shotgun, and the manufacturer of said firearm, rifle or shotgun shall keep records of said serial numbers and the dealer, distributor or person to whom the firearm, rifle or shotgun was sold or delivered.

No licensed dealer shall order for delivery, cause to be delivered, offer for sale or sell within the commonwealth any newly manufactured firearm, rifle or shotgun received directly from a manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor not so inscribed with a serial number nor shall any licensed manufacturer or distributor of firearms, rifles or shotguns deliver or cause to be delivered within the commonwealth any firearm, rifle or shotgun not complying with this section.

No licensed manufacturer within the commonwealth shall produce for sale within the United States, its territories or possessions any firearm, rifle or shotgun not complying with paragraph one of this section. Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of five hundred dollars. Each such violation shall constitute a separate offense.

(B) All semiautomatic firearms as defined in Chapter 140 Section 21 manufactured or delivered to any licensed dealer within the commonwealth shall be capable of microstamping ammunition.

(C) For purposes of subparagraph (B), a firearm is capable of microstamping ammunition if –
(i) a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the of the firearm is etched into the breech face and firing pin of the firearm; and
(ii) when ammunition is fired from the firearm, the characters are copied from the breech face and firing pin onto the cartridge case of the ammunition.

(D) Subparagraph (B) shall apply only to semiautomatic firearms which –
(i) are manufactured, or imported into the Commonwealth on or after the effective date of this subsection;
(ii) have not been transferred to a person not licensed under Chapter 140 of the general laws.

(D) Whoever violates paragraph (B) shall be fined an amount equal to –
(i) in the case of a first such violation by the violator, $1,000 multiplied by the number of firearms involved in the violation;
(ii) in the case of a second violation by the violator, $2,000 multiplied by the number of firearms involved in the violation;
(iii) in the case of a third such violation by the violator, $3,000 multiplied by the number of firearms involved in the violation.

(E) The effective date of this act shall be January 1, 2012.

The NRA-ILA had this to say, in part, about the bill:

If passed, the availability of semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns in Massachusetts could be in jeopardy, as manufacturers simply may choose not to build or sell firearms for purchase in the state. In fact, this bill would likely create a de facto ban on new semi-automatic firearms.

Unless I am misunderstanding the language of this bill, both Smith & Wesson and Savage would be impacted by this bill as they both have manufacturing operations in the state and both make semi-automatic firearms.

Smith & Wesson would feel the heavier impact as they manufacture more semi-autos. Given that they were given a grant by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to expand operations in Springfield while at the same time closing their Thompson-Center plant in New Hampshire just a couple of months ago, one must wonder if they are having second thoughts.

As it is, microstamping is an unproven, untested, and unreliable technology that can be defeated with a common nail file. If the true intent of Rep. Linsky and his fellow compatriots was to drive the gun makers out of the Commonwealth and kill job creation in Massachusetts, then they just might succeed if this bill passes.

The Shooting Wire On Project Gunwalker

Jim Shepherd, the publisher of The Shooting Wire, had an excellent editorial today on Project Gunwalker. He also has some updates in the Sabre Defence story. Jim brings the administration to task over the failings of ATF in the Southwest much better than I could.

If you aren’t a regular subscriber to the Outdoor Wire, the Shooting Wire, and the Tactical Wire, you should be!

Investigations and Findings

Two weeks ago, we told you that a Valentine’s Day auction was set to sell the Nashville, Tennessee company formerly known as Sabre Defence Holdings. The sale by Cadence Bank, was organized under a UCC filing after the bank called the company’s line of credit.

Only days later, the story took another nasty turn as federal officials arrested Sabre’s senior corporate officers, charging them with a litany of charges related to “years” of illegal international arms trafficking. At that point, Cadence saw their hoped-for cashout on Sabre drop to a best bid of only $2.3 million from Alabama’s Manroy USA.

This one just keeps getting more convoluted.

Last week, Sabre filed for bankruptcy, hoping to stop the sale. Now, the Office of the U.S. Trustee for the bankruptcy has appointed Nashville attorney Michael Collins as a third-party trustee to oversee Sabre’s assets.

Next week, Cadence Bank will have another day in court as they have petitioned for relief- an end to the bankruptcy. At that point, the Manroy USA sale is expected to proceed.

Yesterday, we spoke with one of the industry insiders involved with the now-aborted liquidation. What we’ve learned is that this story is far from over- and the ripples from Sabre’s conduct over the past few years may spread “from the U.S. State Department to the British Home Office”.

It has all the ingredients of a great mystery: international arms deals, shaky business conduct, an arrogant owner who thumbed his nose at government regulations, and, lest we forget, a company with a reputation for solid products that seems to have effectively been destroyed by shaky business products.

Watch this space -the Sabre Defence Holdings story is far from over.

To whom do you turn when the chief law enforcement officer of the land ignores you? That’s the question being asked across the firearms industry as Attorney General Eric Holder continues to turn a blind eye to BATFE disaster increasingly being referred to as “Project Gunwalker”.

As facts emerge, it appears that ATF agents actually let firearms “walk” into Mexico as part of some screwball operation designed to see where the guns turned up. The idea they would let this number of guns (some are now saying up to 2,500) “walk” into what is basically a combat zone (Mexico), is screwball enough; the truly crazy thing now the Justice Department continuing to call for crackdowns on legal gun dealers while ignoring a half-baked scheme to go investigated.

Increasingly, evidence says that murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed by one of those walking firearms. And the Justice Department refuses to comment.

Fortunately, National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea and blogger Mike Vanderboegh got onto the story early and refused to let it die – or be swept under the bureaucratic carpet.

Now, it’s getting major national attention. In fact, CBS News has called it a story bigger than Ruby Ridge or Waco – not what an administration that wants to crackdown on private firearms rights wants to hear.

Now, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa-who just so happens to be ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – is calling for a full investigation of the ATF and Justice Department actions.

ATF and Justice have stonewalled to this point, but organizations like the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) have started calling for more than an investigation- they want the immediate firing of acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson, a new director from outside the agency, and a full and open investigation of the whole sorry mess.

And CCRKBA head Alan Gottlieb has said that, should Attorney General Holder remain reluctant to investigate ATF and “gunwalker” he, too, should be shown the door.

After roiling across the internet via discussion boards, forums and all the social media much the same way democracy has shaken up the middle east and given Colonel Khadafy and other despots fits, it looks like mainstream media -or at least CBS News – has found a hot story to ride.

Here, in the crucible where the idea of democracy was formed, it remains to be seen if our current leadership is even paying attention.

Unfortunately, the administration’s idea of policing firearms is much like the old saw about the NCAA’s unwillingness to punish marquee schools. “The NCAA’s so angry at Kentucky,” the old saw used to go, “that they’ve given Slippery Rock three more years of probation.”

In this sad scenario, anyone who is a law-abiding gun owner is being cast as Slippery Rock.

Hopefully, Senator Grassley will stick to his proverbial guns and get to the bottom of “gunwalker” – no matter how distasteful the findings.

Should the administration not toss the old cloak of “national security” over the whole thing, we’ll likely find that once again, we’ve set our lowered expectations not nearly low enough.

The Justice Department has already started their crab-walk away from the whole affair, saying ATF – an agency under their ultimate responsibility- would never “knowingly” allow such a thing to happen.

Unfortunately, we’ve become so numbed to poor conduct from our government that it’s not going to be hard to predict the way the administration would like to see this play out.

If- the Senate gets its investigation, top officials will disavow any knowledge of the event – or be unable to determine who gave the ultimate permission for it to happen. A few lower-level administrators will be ceremonially tossed to the wolves in a bit of misdirection that would make a Las Vegas magician proud.

I realize that’s cynical; but it has been allowed to happen innumerable times before. This time, we need to let our “elite leadership” know they’re neither following nor above the law.

A housecleaning is still essential to clean up the mess, even if there is an honest investigation.

–Jim Shepherd

Reprinted with permission. Here is a link to today’s Shooting Wire with the editorial.

Holder – Investigate and Fire, Or Resign

CCRKBA issued a blistering press release this afternoon calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Project Gunwalker and to fire those responsible. It goes on to say that if he isn’t willing to investigate it, he should resign himself.


BELLEVUE, WA- Following new revelations regarding the growing scandal over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Project Gunrunner- the most recent on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News – the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the allegations and remove ATF officials responsible, or hand in his resignation.

“Instead of cracking down on American gun owners, it is time to crack down on the ATF,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, who earlier this week urged gun owners to pressure Congress to cut ATF’s budget.

The Gunrunner scandal was originally uncovered by National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea and independent blogger Mike Vanderboegh. The case now has the attention of U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. CCRKBA believes the committee should launch a full-scale investigation of ATF and that Grassley should not stand alone in his pursuit of the truth.

“Two weeks ago,” Gottlieb noted, “Sen. Grassley called on Holder to ‘come clean’ about this scandal, and the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. He was greeted with silence. Agent Terry was likely killed with a gun that ATF allowed one of the Gunrunner suspects to purchase more than a year ago. We have seen documents that show the gun was recovered at the Terry crime scene.

“Almost immediately after he took office,” he continued, “Holder joined other members of the Obama administration in calls for new gun laws to crack down on American gun dealers and gun owners. He wanted to renew the ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’.” Now, thanks to independent Internet reporters and CBS News, it appears hundreds, if not thousands of U.S.-origin guns that made their way to Mexican criminals were allowed to cross the border by an inept ATF operation that was even criticized by ATF agents.

“Senator Grassley’s inquiry has been met with stonewalling,” he said, “but with these new revelations, the time for silence has passed. ATF officials in Phoenix who allowed this travesty to continue, over objections from field agents who knew better, should be fired. Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson should go immediately, and a new director, from outside of the agency, should be appointed to clean up this mess. If Eric Holder is not willing to hold ATF officials accountable, he should resign.”

HB 74 – The Second NC Castle Doctrine Bill – Opposition From Surprising Corner

Grass Roots North Carolina sent out this message a couple of hours ago regarding HB 74, the second – and originally stronger – castle doctrine bill. The amazing thing to me is that the person attacking the bill is Republican House Majority Leader Paul Stam. Without pro-gun voters there wouldn’t be a Republican majority in the NC General Assembly. The former House Majority Leader went down to defeat over this very issue.

* Republican House Majority Leader attacks HB 74, portending battles to come
* Senate version passes 2nd Reading: 3rd Reading Monday

Two Castle Doctrine bills are working their way through the NC legislature. Which bill might ultimately be enacted into law remains to be seen.

SB 34 has been much improved from its original weak version and today passed its 2nd Reading Senate by a vote of 33-17. Vote details for particular Senators will be published when they become available. Generally (although not always), 3rd Reading is a formality. Both may be accomplished in a single day provided no member of the body objects. Apparently, one of the perennial anti-gun members objected, delaying 3rd Reading until Monday.


HB 74, originally the stronger Castle Doctrine bill, met far tougher resistance in a House Judiciary subcommittee, however, as it was repeatedly attacked not only by anti-gun Democrats, but also by Republican House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake, formerly GRNC ****).

In relentless questioning apparently intended to tie up the bill, painted scenarios of drug dealers shooting it out and using Castle Doctrine as a legal defense (this was rebutted by committee counsel), likening the bill to “expedited execution.” Using phrases like “dead people on the floor” and “shoot first and ask questions later,” Stam eventually produced handwritten language he claimed would accomplish “95%” of what bill supporters want, but which actually offered crime victims few protections beyond current law.

Equally obstructionist were Reps. Darren Jackson (D-Wake, 0-star), and Grier Martin (D-Wake, GRNC 0-star), both of whom repeatedly demanded impossible statistics on home invasions until both GRNC president Paul Valone and representatives of the Administrative Office of the Courts pointed out that such statistics are not kept.

Advocating passage of the bill were subcommittee chair Mark Hilton (R-Catawba, ****), stalwart George Cleveland (R-Onslow, ****), freshman Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe, ****) and Shirley Randleman (R-Wilkes, ****). Hilton, Cleveland and Randleman are primary sponsors for HB 74.

The bill eventually passed in a 5-3 vote with Reps. Cleveland, Jordan, Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke, ****), Rayne Brown (R-Davidson, ****) and Ric Killian (R-Mecklenburg, ****) voting for it, and Stam, Jackson and Martin voting against it.

HB 74 now heads for the full Judiciary Committee, where it will undoubtedly meet resistance not only from the same individuals but other anti-gun Democrats including Deborah Ross (D-Wake, 0-star), who chaired the committee which in the last session killed Castle Doctrine by denying it a hearing. Moreover, when the senate bill, SB 34, crosses to the House, it will also be referred to the same committee, portending tough battles for both bills.

* CALL AND E-MAIL MAJORITY LEADER SKIP STAM: Remind him that gun owners helped replace previous leadership over precisely this issue. Reach him at: and 919-733-2962. Note: If his office complains about the subcommittee hearing giving “no public notice,” remind them that ad hoc committees are not required to and rarely do. If he says his proposal is “better,” remind them that HB 74 mirrors every other state which has adopted Castle Doctrine.
* E-MAIL SPEAKER THOM TILLIS: Pro-gun Speaker Tillis (R-Mecklenburg, ****) supports Castle Doctrine, but needs POLITE AND CONSTRUCTIVE input to rein in Majority Leader Stam. At this point, gun owners from outside his district should e-mail only. Constituents should call. Reach Tillis at: