Does Senator Avella Think New Yorkers Are Going To Go All Hutu Or Something?

I read the most ridiculous story in the New York Daily News yesterday. New York State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) wants to ban the sale and possession of machetes in New York. The move is in response to a murder in July in which a machete was used as the murder weapon.

The sale of machetes should be outlawed after several recent attacks, a Queens pol said Wednesday.

State Sen. Tony Avella plans to introduce a bill to ban the possession of the scary blades in New York.

“The fact that anyone can easily purchase this potentially lethal tool is just crazy,” he said.

Smaller knives such as switchblades and gravity knives are already banned and listed as deadly weapons under state law, but machetes are considered the same as butcher knives.

Avella’s bill, Senate Bill 3199-2015,  would add machetes to the list of deadly weapons. This puts them in the same category as firearms, switchblades, gravity knives, brass knuckles, and the “pilum ballistic knife”. He claims in the justification that it will allow those who use a machete as a weapon will be charged appropriately. Does it really make that much difference if a person uses a “deadly weapon” as opposed to a “dangerous weapon” when they commit a crime?

According to the Daily News this legislation would mean mere possession of a machete could land you in prison for a year.

It is obvious that Sen. Avella is a nanny stater playing to the media with this proposal. Given New York State’s ethnic diversity I’m a bit surprised that he didn’t make reference to Rwanda and the desire to avoid a genocide as machetes were the weapon of choice of the Hutu against the Tutsi. Or, better yet, to give this a New York context, the Sharks versus the Jets a’la West Side Story. Just substitute machete for switchblade.

Machetes are a tool. I have many of them in various forms, shapes, and sizes. My favorite is one that I inherited from my dad. It is a bolo style machete that I think he picked up in the Caribbean during WWII when he served in the Caribbean Defense Command. The sheath is nicely tooled leather with a pistol belt hook attachment.

This bill is a joke just like its sponsor. Both should be consigned to the dustbin of history. Whether that happens or not only time and public disgust will tell.

The Proud Grandfather

I have been battling a cold and have been reluctant to hold Olivia Grace for fear of passing it on to her. However, last night I covered myself in Purell and got to hold her for the first time.

She had just eaten and was taking her post-prandial nap. Her weight of 7.7 lbs doesn’t sound too heavy in the abstract but when you hold her she feels quite substantial.

Though you can’t see it because of her cap, she has a full head of curly hair. She is and will be a cutie.

Read Before Commenting On The Proposed M855 Ban

David Codrea has a habit of getting the answers to questions that the Justice Department and BATFE would rather not answer. Yesterday he got an answer to why the proposed regulation change regarding removing the exemption of SS109/M855 62 grain 5.56×45 ammunition from the armor piercing banned list was never published in the Federal Register.

BATFE says they are exempt.


Per Denise Brown of ATF Enforcement Programs and Services in this afternoon’s telephone conversation, this will “not actually be a [regulatory] change, more of a policy along those lines.” Brown said the framework document is a notice only, and will therefore not be published in the Federal Register, characterizing the document’s intent as “information gathering” in order to collect technical information, which could affect the Bureau’s final determination.

Brown confirmed ATF’s decision not to publish in the Federal Register is based on the exemption provision in the APA. That states “Except when notice or hearing is required by statute, this subsection does not apply … to interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice.” Also exempted is “when the agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefore in the rules issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.”

Could the Eric Holder’s Justice Department and B. Todd Jones’ BATFE say “F-you” any louder?

Read the whole column here. I think it gives a critical perspective on their proposed change and will help in formulating your response that is due by March 16th.

I agree with Michael Bane that this is a well thought out and orchestrated assault on gun owners and the Second Amendment. Along with commenting to BATFE, we need to be sending copies of these comments to our Senators and Representatives. I’d also send a copy of David Codrea’s column and ask if the BATFE is not subverting the will of Congress. I’d do the latter in a second letter. The more times we can get this before their radar screen, the better.

My Heart Just Got Stolen

My heart just got stolen. The thief is named Olivia Grace Miller.

Her first picture.

Little Miss Olivia Grace was born this morning at 2:19am to my step-daughter Laura. Can you believe that? Born at 2:19 on 2/19. And it was Laura’s official due date to boot. Olivia Grace came into this world weighing 7.7 lbs and 20 inches long.

In her daddy’s strong arms.

Both mother and baby are doing fine which is a blessing unto itself. Laura was a real trooper. She fought through the pain and delivered Olivia Grace naturally. It wasn’t easy but she hung in there. And as she said this morning, no anesthesia bill!

“Without Even Notifying The Police”

You might respect anti-gun politicians a little bit if they brought reason to the debate. However, given the statement below from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in response to the introduction of The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015, there is little chance of that happening.

“This bill is a menace to New York and would allow potentially dangerous people from other states to carry concealed weapons in our grocery stores, movie theaters and stadiums, without even notifying the police,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the Daily News.

“It is a nightmare for our law enforcement officers and the community, and I will fight this legislation tooth and nail.”

Imagine that.

People would actually enter a grocery store without even notifying the police that they are carrying concealed.

The horror.

John Cornyn On His Reciprocity Bill

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced his bipartisan S. 498, The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015, on Thursday. It currently has 16 co-sponsors including one of my own senators, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). The text of the bill is not yet available. An identical bill, HR 923, has been introduced into the House by Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN).

I have more hopes for this bill in this session of Congress than in past sessions. First, Sen. Cornyn is the Majority Whip or number two Republican in the Senate. Second, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is a co-sponsor and the bill has to go through his committee. Finally, there is a Republican majority in both houses of Congress. What happens when it hits Obama’s desk is another story unless it is merged in with something he desperately wants as was carry in National Parks.

Sen. Cornyn was interviewed by Cam Edwards of NRA News regarding this bill on Friday. Among the points brought out by Cornyn are that the bill is intended to eliminate “gotcha” moments like happened to Shaneen Allen, he thought national reciprocity was analogous to how his Texas driver’s license is recognized in all states, and he thought a number of Democrats will support the bill. He was less optimistic about the reception it would get from President Obama. Cornyn did say it was early in the process and that there is a need to build public opinion in support of the bill. He urged people to contact their Senators and Representatives expressing their support for this bill.

GRNC Alert On First Citizens Bank

First Citizens Bank is headquartered in North Carolina and has 570 branches in 18 states. The majority of its branches are in the Carolinas and Virginia. First Citizens, while publicly traded, is still controlled by the Holding family. Frank B. Holding, Jr., CEO of First Citzens, is the grandson of the bank’s founder Robert P. Holding. The bank’s Vice Chairman and fellow board member, Hope Holding Bryant, is his sister. Their brother-in-law Peter Bristow is the president of the bank.

Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Frank and Hope’s cousin, represents the 13th Congressional District of North Carolina. He was A-Rated and Endorsed by the NRA-PVF in the 2014 elections and was ranked 4-stars by the GRNC-PVF. According to his last financial disclosure report filed in 2014, he held stock in First Citizens (NC and SC) valued at more than $500,000 and less than $1 million.

The bank’s Board of Directors recently voted to prohibit lawful concealed carry holders from carrying on their premises. As Grass Roots North Carolina notes below in their alert, they did this despite bank robberies being at a 10 year low in North Carolina. Being a non-public entity, they are certainly entitled to do what they want on their own property. However, their customers and potential customers are just as entitled to vote with their feet if they disagree with the board’s action. No state in their markets are lacking in other alternatives.

From GRNC:

FCB Risks the Safety of Banking Customers
In a unified show of ignorant disregard for your safety, First Citizens Bank’s Board of Directors recently decided to disallow concealed carry at their branches. This puts all law abiding citizens at risk and should convince current and potential customers of First Citizens Bank (FCB) to reconsider patronizing this, or any bank, that puts customers in harm’s way.
What problem are they trying to solve with the ban? If it’s bank robberies, the N&O reported in this article that bank robberies hit a 10 year low in 2014 of 91 (as of Nov. 30), down from 267 in 2004. The fact that this correlates perfectly with the exponential growth of CCW in NC suggests that CCW is a large part of that fix. Are they trying to fix the non-existent problems they have with CCW permitholders? Where are those reports?
First Citizens Bank has given its customers a false sense of security inside the bank (criminals will not obey a CCW ban) while enhancing the real and present danger that banning concealed carry presents to its patrons outside the branch doors. Criminals know the best place to find people carrying large amounts of cash is in the parking lot of a bank. A concealed weapons ban means customers will be forced to leave their lawfully carried weapon in their car when they walk into, and out of the bank. None of the bank’s elaborate security will do anything to protect people outside of the front doors. In addition, the parking lots of First Citizens Bank will also become fertile hunting grounds for criminals looking to steal guns from cars.
Until First Citizens Bank revokes this counterproductive ban it is imperative that its customers and patrons understand the risks of banking at an institution that jeopardizes its customers’ safety by banning them from lawfully carrying a gun for self defense.
It is imperative we express our safety concerns to First Citizens Bank
  • Email first Citizens using their contact page
    linked below.  Copy and paste the message provided under ‘Deliver this Message’
  • Phone First Citizens Bank and tell them you will not do business with a bank that disregards its customer’s safety by banning them from lawfully carrying guns for self defense. Use the phone number provided below.
You can find contact info for FCB on their web site:
No email address is supplied but you can send email from a form on the contact page.

The general customer support number is: 1 (888) 323-4742
FCB Head of Security

Skip Lee
FCB Board of Directors
John M. Alexander, Jr. Victor E. Bell, III
Peter W. Bristow Hope Holding Bryant
H. Lee Durham, Jr. Daniel L. Heavner
Frank B. Holding, Jr. Robert R. Hoppe
Lucius S. Jones Floyd L. Keels
Robert E. Mason, IV Robert T. Newcomb
James M. Parker

Suggested Subject: Revoke Concealed Carry Weapons Ban

Dear First Citizens Bank,

I am writing to voice my strong objection to your Board of Directors’ recent decision to ban lawful concealed carry in the branches of First Citizens Bank. Not only does this create a false sense of security in the branch (criminals will not obey a CCW ban), but customers will have no way of defending themselves in parking lots where criminals await customers they believe are carrying large sums of cash.
Until this policy is fully revoked, I will not risk my safety doing business with First Citizens Bank and will pass my concerns to my friends and family and encourage them do the same.
I will continue to monitor this situation through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.

Win Some Guns

Aaron at the has released his monthly compilation of contests. It has some interesting guns this month.

In the handgun category, a CZ Scorpion EVO 3 is on the table. I had a chance to handle it at the SHOT Show. Despite it being a PDW without the stock, it still was easy to handle. It cries out for a SIG brace to be used as a shoulder stock but ATF has said that is a no-no.

In the long gun categories, there are also some interesting guns. There is a Beretta ARX 160, an Arsenal ATI STG-44, and a whole slew of ARs including ones from both Daniel Defense and Aero Precision. There are also a couple of Mossberg shotguns on the table.

A Part Of GCA’68 Found Unconstitutional

A Federal judge in Ft. Worthy yesterday said that the ban on the interstate sale of handguns was unconstitutional. By interstate, I mean where the purchaser both buys and takes possession of his or her handgun in a non-resident state. The Gun Control Act of 1968 allowed the interstate sale of long guns but expressly forbid it for handgun. This is a big win for gun rights. It is also a win for Alan Gura as well as the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

From CCRKBA on the win:


Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today won a major federal court ruling in a case involving interstate handgun transfers in which the judge applied strict scrutiny to determine whether a ban on such transfers meets constitutional muster.

The case, which was financially supported by the Second Amendment Foundation, is known as Mance v. Holder. It involves plaintiffs residing in the District of Columbia and Texas, and could have far-reaching ramifications, according to CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb.

“Our lawsuit strikes at the heart of a debate that has been ongoing for several years, since the creation of the National Instant Check System (NICS),” Gottlieb said. “With the advent of the NICS system, it makes no sense to perpetuate a ban on interstate transfers of handguns.”

Indeed, in his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, writes, “(T)he Court finds that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment.”

The judge later added, “By failing to provide specific information to demonstrate the reasonable fit between this ban and illegal sales and lack of notice in light of the Brady Act amendments to the 1968 Gun Control Act, the ban is not substantially related to address safety concerns. Thus, even under intermediate scrutiny, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face.”

CCRKBA and the individual plaintiffs are represented by Virginia attorney Alan Gura and Texas attorney William B. “Bill” Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas.

“It is bizarre and irrational to destroy the national market for an item that Americans have a fundamental right to purchase,” Gura observed. “Americans would never tolerate a ban on the interstate sale of books or contraceptives. And Americans are free to buy rifles and shotguns outside their state of residence, so long as the dealers respect the laws of the buyer’s home state. We’re gratified that the Court agreed that handguns should be treated no differently.”

From Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned:

I’m sure it will take a while for FFLs to get updated on this, but unless the government appeals the ruling, and the decision is stayed or reversed, the 11th of February will go down as the day we won Interstate sales of handguns through FFLs. This is a great win for us, and one which I would like to congratulate and thank Mr. Gura and his plaintiffs.

Sebastian has more on the case here.

Attorney Dave Hardy at Arms and the Law has this to say about the reach of the ruling:

UPDATE: it’s not clear to me how the ruling applies geographically. Clearly it applies in the Northern District of Texas. But it orders the Attorney General (any by extension anyone working under him) to stop enforcing the requirement, so may apply anywhere: if he enforced it in Maine or in Washington, he’d have violated the injunction, and could be held in contempt by the Texas court. Citizens’ Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms was an organizational plaintiff (the court cites to it without the first word in its name), suing on behalf of its members, so the ruling would protect, at the very least, its members.

The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, Fredric Russell Mance, Jr aka Rick Mance is a fellow gun blogger and blogs at Traction Control. His response is summed up in his headline: Heh. He also has links to other posts about the decision.

I have not had a chance to read the full decision yet as I was podcasting last night. I hope to have another post up after I read through the decision. In the meantime, you can find the opinion and order from US District Court Judge Reed O’Connor here.

ATK, Formerly Alliant Techsystems, Is No More

ATK, or Alliant Techsystems as it was formerly known, is no more. In its place are two new companies: Orbital ATK and Vista Outdoor. When ATK merged with Orbital Sciences Corporation, the sporting group  of ATK was spun off into Vista Outdoor while the defense contracting component remained in the new combined organization at the close of business yesterday.
If the first day of trading is any indication, shareholders have placed their bets with the sporting group or Vista Outdoor (VSTO). It was up $1.91 at the close while Orbital ATK (OA) was down $1.90.
Vista Outdoor stable of brands includes everything from Federal Premium and Savage Arms to Bolle and Serengetti sunglasses. For reloaders it includes well-known names such as RCBS, CCI, Alliant Powder, Speer Bullets, and Federal. 
Mark DeYoung, former CEO of ATK, cast his lot with Vista Outdoor instead of the defense component. The new company is headquartered in Clearfield, Utah which is halfway between Salt Lake City and Ogden. Vista Outdoor has 5,800 employees.
They released this video profiling Vista Outdoors yesterday.