Free Stuff

Aaron at The Weapon Blog is his usual efficient self and has compiled this month’s list of firearm and outdoor related giveaways. You can find it here.

In the handgun category, you will find a number of Berettas, Swiss-made Sphinx pistols, a Boberg, and a Ruger Commander-sized 1911 among the items.

The rifle category has its usual assortment of AR-15/M-4s, the newish Ruger 762, an IWI Tavor, and the Barrett 99.

You will also find a ton of stuff in the Accessories or miscellaneous category ranging from cleaning accessories to a Zombie Factor Bug Out Bag to a Parker compound bow.

If you enter any of these contests, take a moment and leave a thank you to Aaron in the comments section. Compiling such a list takes some time and I really appreciate the work he has done.

There’s Salary And Then There’s Compensation

Shannon Watts of Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors is trying to make a big deal out of the salary received by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. She posted a tweet on Saturday asserting that Wayne made the big bucks while she, in an attempt at gun control sainthood, had zero salary.

She may be correct in her assertion that she receives no salary. That doesn’t mean she is not compensated for her efforts to infringe on our Second Amendment rights.There are many ways to be compensated for your work that isn’t salary.

For example, if you look at the Form 990 for Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors for both 2011 and 2012 you won’t find any salary payments to then-Executive Director Mark Glaze or a listing of him under their highly compensated employees. However, you will find payments of $210,000 and $220,000 respectively to The Raben Group which was his long-time employer. Mr. Glaze was certainly compensated but it wasn’t with “salary” from Bloomberg.

Likewise, I think if you search long enough or when we finally get the 2014 Form 990 for Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors you will find substantial payments to an outside consulting group. Further investigation will probably show some sort of affiliation with Shannon Watts.

Of course, Shannon Watts could be the 21st Century’s version of Joan of Arc but for gun control instead of France. She could be doing this all out of altruistic sense of duty. I don’t believe that for a minute and I doubt any one reading this would either. She and her husband John may be “one-percenters” but they never have seemed to be the sort to do anything for free.

There is some very valid speculation that one of the reasons that Moms Demand Action merged with MAIG was to avoid having to file a Form 990 for 2013. The merger took place in December 2013 so their finances would be subsumed under that of MAIG. Of course, this assumes that MDA received their 501(c)3 determination letter from the IRS and would be required to file the form.

As I said earlier, there are many ways to be compensated for your efforts monetarily that don’t appear as salary. While Shannon Watts may be correct that she doesn’t receive a salary (and that is iffy given her track record with the truth), she is getting compensated for her efforts one way or another.

Balanced Report On Open Carry In Texas….From NPR?

When the Complementary Spouse got home from work yesterday, she told she had just listened to a report on open carry in Texas that was rather balanced. The report was on NPR’s All Things Considered afternoon news show.

After I listened to it, I agreed. The report by John Burnett interviewed Cory Watkins of Open Carry Tarrant County, C.J. Grisham of OCT, Stephanie Lundy of Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors, and Alice Tripp of the Texas State Rifle Association.

Alice Tripp made the point that open carry of ARs and AKs in restaurants was not helping get open carry of handguns passed in the Texas legislature. She is quoted as saying, “It’s not helpful. It’s not good manners. It’s not thoughtful. It’s not conducive to facilitating the legislative process.”

The report was balanced enough to note that both Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis were in support of allowing Texans to open carry handguns. Coming from NPR, who woulda thunk it?

You can listen to the whole report at this link. I had tried to embed it but it just wouldn’t work.

Vultures In DC?

Saying that there are vultures in Washington, DC wouldn’t surprise anyone. Saying that they are the actual avian vultures would especially since they’ve made their home, appropriately enough, on lobbyist-infested K-Street.

From the Washington Post

Bird experts speculate that this is a breeding pair of black vultures staking out a new territory and feeding ground. The urban dwellers of DC seem to be fascinated by the pair.

But two vultures in the city are less of an annoyance and more a source of wonder. Described as the “garbage men of nature,” the birds often are seen hunched over roadkill on country roads, but Dupuy said it’s possible they could be living off dead squirrels and other city animals. Unlike hawks that find their food by seeing it, he said vultures use their sense of smell, following the scent of decay to its source (cue the “House of Cards” references).

On a recent afternoon as people walked past the spot where the vultures now nest, many tried to guess what carrion had drawn them to the area. A few people blamed the rise in food trucks and the waste from restaurants. Others let their minds go to more humorous places. One Department of Homeland Security employee who asked not to be identified, undoubtedly because he’s not authorized to discuss vultures, suggested they were “after Obama’s political appointees.”

I think the DHS employee may be on something given the way President Obama throws his appointees under the bus on a regular basis.

It could also be that the vultures are staking out a new feeding ground in anticipation of the November elections. If they go the way I’d like to see and that the polls seem to indicate that they are trending, there will be plenty of carcasses coming from the majority side of the US Senate for these vultures to feast on in a metaphorical sense. If Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis doesn’t blow it, the accidental career of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) will be one of them.

Normandy: Then And Now

By this time on June 6, 19944, Allied troops had established a beachhead on all five invasion beaches. I came across an interesting photo essay contrasting Normandy in 1944 and now. It  used pictures taken by combat photographers in June 1944 and then went back to today’s Normandy to find the same exact locations. A lot has changed in the last 70 years but so much of the countryside and buildings remain the same.

Here are couple to give an idea of the essay. The first picture shows a US paratrooper with a German prisoner of war.

And now that same location today.

As I said, so much of Normandy remains the same. Other than a repaired dormer window, a paved road, and some different vegetation, it looks the same as it did in 1944. You also have to wonder about the two soldiers pictured, American and German. Did they make it through the war and are they alive today?

Photographer Patrick Elie certainly had to do some research for this photo essay. The whole set of 204 pictures can be found here.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission Is Doing Good Things About Ranges

Having a place to shoot is one of the critical items facing the gun culture. With increasing urban and suburban development, it is getting harder and harder to find a place to shoot. Many states’ fish and game commissions are working to fill the void and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is no exception.

On the heels of rehabbing a closed shooting range in the Uwharrie National Forest and partnering with the NRA and county officials in Cleveland County on another, comes the announcement that they are seeking to open a new range in Burke County. This range will be in the Pisgah National Forest.

From their press release:

MARION, NC – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold an informational meeting on June 19 to discuss constructing a shooting range on the Linville Tract of the Pisgah Game Land in Burke County.

The meeting, which is scheduled from 6:30-8:30 p.m., will be held in Rm. 104 at McDowell Technical Community College, located at 54 College Drive in Marion.

The proposed range will be located near the intersection of N.C. 126 and Wolf Pit Road, north of Lake James, in Burke County. It will include a 25-yard pistol range and a 100-yard rifle range.

The proposed range is part of an initiative by the Wildlife Commission to develop and enhance public shooting facilities across the state. The Commission recently partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to renovate and improve the Flintlock Valley Shooting Range in Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County.

If my numbers are correct, this would make the third fourth outdoor shooting range managed by the Wildlife Resources Commission.

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right

The rest of that song by Stealers Wheel goes “here I am stuck in the middle with you.”

That is how I’m feeling about the whole open carry fiasco in Texas. I doubt that there are many readers of this blog that don’t support the extension of open carry in Texas to include handguns. Many states including my own North Carolina have unlicensed open carry.

What is incredibly frustrating is watching Shannon Watts and her fellow gun prohibitionists at Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors making hay out of the bumbling ineptitude of groups like Open Carry Texas. Sonic, Chipotle, and god knows who’s next have issued “Starbucks-style” statement asking the open carry activists to leave them out of the argument.

Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has done yeoman’s work in examining the folly of their actions. You can read some of those posts here, here, and here. There are more.

The attention whoring of these OC activists has caused such backlash that the NRA issued a statement last Thursday which said, in part,

Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.

Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here). In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that’s counterproductive for the gun owning community.

More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. Using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.

Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA backed away from that statement yesterday saying it was the personal opinion of some unnamed staffer and not the NRA’s official position. He apologized for any confusion it caused. Others such as Charles Cooke of National Review disagreed saying that it was what needed to be said. I think I and the majority of the gun blogging and gun podcast community would agree that it needed to said.

Bob Owens had an interesting observation on this at He noted that often in cases like this where a statement is retracted that it is the original statement which reflects the internal thinking of the organization. In other words, it was what we called back in my political science days “signalling“.

As Michael Bane emphasized today in his Downrange Radio podcast, our goal in the gun rights community needs to be winning. We no more win hearts and minds with these open carry demonstrations in restaurants than the US Air Force did with carpet bombing in South Vietnam. I would send a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People to everyone in the Texas open carry leadership if I could.

I can’t, so in the meantime I will implore them to cut out the narcissistic displays, clean up their websites and Facebook pages, and, as Michael suggested, think before you do stupid. Those of us stuck in the middle would appreciate it.

Need To Cut Back On Sugar? M&M’s Doesn’t Consider Knives “Family Friendly”

In my email this morning was an alert from Knife Rights. It seems that they had placed a business-to-business order for packets of M&M candies with the Knife Rights logo on it. The candies were for an upcoming promotion which I assume is the Blade Show. The order was placed, the salesperson was very friendly, and all was good until four days later when the salesperson called back saying his bosses had declined the order because the word “knife” was not considered “family friendly”.


I’ll let them continue the story.

The candy was ordered for an upcoming promotion through M&Ms’ customized Business to Business department.
The customer service representative, Christian, was very helpful and
the order was placed. Then four business days later we received a call
from Christian to let us know that they would not fill the order since
“the word knife is not family friendly.” That certainly came as news to
us! Christian apologized for the delay getting back to us, we had called
twice seeking confirmation the order would arrive in time, saying he
had argued hard for us, but that his bosses wouldn’t budge.
asked for a confirmation in writing of what he had told us, but when
that was not forthcoming, we sent an email to him confirming the
conversation we had and asking the company to correct anything that
wasn’t factually correct. Shortly thereafter, Christian’s supervisor,
Kathy, called. We had a similar conversation with her, to no avail, and
again asked that they confirm that they were rejecting the order for the
reasons both Christian and she provided, that the word “knife” was not
“family friendly.” Instead we received a totally disingenuous email:
“Thank you for your email and allowing us to respond to your concern.   
would like to confirm that we have received and processed your request
to cancel your order.  We are sorry to hear that you are cancelling your
order and hope to have an opportunity to make your next event more
special with personalized MY M&M’S® Chocolate Candies”.
To which we replied:   
for this, but your email falsely states that this order is being
cancelled at my request.  Please note that I do NOT wish for the order
to be cancelled — it was your
company decision to cancel the order because you object to the name and
mission of our civil rights organization.  I have had several phone
calls with representatives of your company trying to save this order. 
Your cancellation notice falsely stating that the order was cancelled at
my request only adds insult to injury, and is outrageous.
that email they went from simply making what we view as a poor business
decision by irrationally discriminating against Knife Rights, America’s
knife owners and our many Second Amendment supporters, and moved on to
falsely describing the entire transaction in a outrageous attempt to
avoid responsibility for their actions. Knife Rights did not cancel the order; M&M’s did. 
just thought you ought to know. For ourselves, we intend to wean
ourselves from their products. Mars, Inc. is the parent company and one
of the world’s leading food manufacturers, that while perhaps best known
for its chocolate and candy brands (M&M’s, Milkey Way, Altoids and
Life Savers to name but a few) is also in food, pet care and drink
products with many brands you know, including Wrigley, Uncle Bens, Seeds
of Change, Pedigree and Whiskas. You can find lists of their products

Halloween this year our family will carve our pumpkins using several
different knives, but instead of giving the children who come to our
front door M&M’s, Snickers and Milky Ways, as we have for many
years, they will be given a treat that will not bear the Mars, Inc.

you’d like to let them know how you feel about the word “knife” not
being “family friendly,” you can contact M&M’s at: 1-908-852-1000
(M-F 9:00-5:00) or via email using the form at: 

 You can also leave a comment on M&M’s Facebook page.

My doc has been after me to cut carbs and sugar so
eliminating products from Mars Inc. will become one way I’ll be doing

I’m was surprised to find out that Seeds of Change, which I assumed was a small organic grower of seeds, is just another cog in a corporate conglomerate. I wonder how many back to the earth, Birkenstock-wearing, gardeners are aware of that. You might as well be telling them that it is owned by Monsanto.