NRA Foundation Helps North Carolina Students

Catching up on emails that arrived while I was out of town, I came across this one from the NRA. It discusses the substantial donations made by the NRA Foundation to Montgomery Community College to fund scholarships for gunsmithing students.

NRA Foundation Funds Montgomery Community College Scholarships

TROY, N.C. – Nearly $100,000 in NRA Foundation grants have funded Montgomery Community College scholarships for its gunsmithing program since 1994. These merit-based scholarships help spur high academic achievement and pristine attendance records while providing students with the freedom and flexibility to undertake notably challenging projects.

Throughout their time in MCC’s gunsmithing program, students develop skills tooling and blueprinting, metal finishing, firearm diagnostics and repair, and custom firearms manufacturing. More than two-thirds of class time is spent hands-on in the college’s 5,400 square feet of shop workspace.

“Friends of NRA and the NRA Foundation are both great proponents of Montgomery Community College’s gunsmithing program,” said Mark Dye, gunsmithing program director at Montgomery Community College. “In their biggest show of support yet, the NRA Foundation granted us funds to award 12 gunsmithing scholarships this year. We are truly grateful for the NRA’s unwavering commitment to our focus on this great American tradition.”

Both the East and West Friends of NRA State Fund Committees in North Carolina award grants to the program each year. In 2014, nearly half of all scholarships awarded to MCC gunsmithing students came from The NRA Foundation.

I am especially gratified by these donations as my family connections to Montgomery County go back to before the Civil War. My father was born in Troy and I still have cousins living there.

If you need a tax deduction for 2015, a donation to the NRA Foundation is tax deductible. You have until midnight tomorrow to make one if you use a credit card.

The Live ‘Possum Returns To Brasstown

Clay Logan puts on a New Year’s Eve show every year that is appreciated by all. All, that is, except the so-called animal rights activists at PETA. I’ve written about the Possum Drop in the past and PETA’s legal machinations to prevent the use of a live opossum. With New Year’s Eve almost upon us, I thought it was time for an update.

It appears that PETA is finally being stymied in its efforts to prevent a live opossum from being used in the Possum Drop. A bill that was passed this year by the North Carolina General Assembly removed the opossum from state wildlife laws and regulations during the period between December 29th and January 2nd. The bill sponsored by Rep. Roger West (R-Cherokee) was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) back in June.

PETA went to Superior Court in Wake County to seek a preliminary injunction to stop the event. Judge James Roberson turned down their request in an order issued on December 14th.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

Organizers of this year’s New Year’s Eve ‘possum drop in Brasstown can use a live animal, a judge has ruled.

Superior Court Judge James Roberson this week turned down a request for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented use of a real opossum for the annual event in western Clay County.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is suing over a law the General Assembly passed earlier this year that suspends enforcement of state wildlife rules regarding opossums a few days before and after New Year’s Eve. PETA says the law, sponsored by Rep. Roger West, R-Cherokee, is unconstitutional because it is special treatment for ‘possum drop organizers and makes it unclear what laws apply to people who work to return injured wildlife to their natural habitat.

Roberson wrote in an order filed Dec. 14 in Wake County, where the case is being heard, that PETA and other plaintiffs “have not shown the likelihood of success on the merits of the claims asserted in” their lawsuit so the request for an injunction should be denied. The decision still allows the lawsuit to go forward.

Undoubtedly this ruling will be appealed by PETA. They have another appeal pending before the NC Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of a previous law that exempted only Clay County from wildlife regulations during the period before and after New Year’s Eve.

Nonetheless, baring any last minute court orders, the event is on and Clay Logan is happy about it.

“I’m tickled. My plan’s just to have a live possum, carry on like we used to and have a good time,” said Clay Logan, event organizer and owner of Clay’s Corner store, in Clay County.

Despite all the claims of cruelty by PETA, I think if I were an opossum, I’d prefer to be in that plexiglass container being feed treats when you consider the alternative. The alternative being where most people see opossums – squished dead on the road.

Evidently Money Talks In Virginia

There has been a lot written about the ad hoc decision of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) to drop the recognition of out of state CCW permits from 25 states. The move impacts approximately 6.3 million Americans. I am one of those as Americans as North Carolina’s permit will no longer be recognized in Virginia. However, I can assure my friends in the commonwealth that their permit will be recognized in North Carolina as we have universal recognition of out of state permits.

The non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project takes as its mission the goal of making government data regarding campaign finance disclosure understandable and accessible to the general public. From what I can see, they do a good job of it.

Given how much money Michael Bloomberg has funneled into Virginia both directly and indirectly I thought it would be interesting to see if Attorney General Herring was a recipient of his generosity. As Deep Throat said to Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money”.

Lo and behold the top donor to his campaign for Attorney General was none other than Independence USA PAC. They gave $1,292,417 of in-kind donations to his campaign. The money went for media production and advertising buys. To put this into perspective, the next two highest donors gave approximately half this amount each. The only candidate to get more money from that PAC was Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA).

Independence USA PAC is Bloomberg’s personal super-PAC. FactCheck said this about it:

Independence USA is a super PAC that focuses largely on helping to elect candidates who support stricter gun-control laws. It was founded in October 2012 by Michael Bloomberg, and, so far, has been entirely funded by the former New York City mayor.

The race for Attorney General between Herring and Republican St. Senator Mark Obershain was exceedingly close. The final vote tally left Herring winning by little more than 900 votes. Indeed, up until the last poll, Obershain was either in the lead or tied with Herring.

When you owe your elected position to Michael Bloomberg, when he says jump, you say how high. Evidently now was the time that Bloomberg said jump and jump is what Herring did in response.

Ocean Triggerfish (Repost)

NOTE: I am reposting this 2011 post in memory of Bill who was killed in a car wreck in Texas on Tuesday. He was on his way home from work when a truck crossed the center line and hit his pickup. He leaves behind his wonderful wife Annie and dog LB. Tight lines, Billy. I know Heaven must have fish as Christ built his church using fishermen.

The name Ocean Triggerfish sounds pretty gunnie to me.

A new Texas state record and body of water (Gulf of Mexico) record Ocean Triggerfish was recently caught. It weighed 11.2 lbs compared to the previous record of 8.8 lbs. The average for the Ocean Triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico is in the 3-5 lb range. More from the website

Other Names : Ocean Tally, Great Trigger, Ocean Triggerfish

Range & Habitat : This fish is more common in the southern Gulf of Mexico, but is scattered in all offshore waters. It is an open-water species, less likely to be found near reefs, rocks, and offshore oil and gas platforms.

Identification & Biology : This fish is bulkier than other Gulf of Mexico triggerfish, but it still has a deep, laterally compressed body. Its body is longer than the gray triggerfish and the anal and second dorsal fins are longer. Body color is brownish-gray to dark gray, almost black. Little is known of its biology.

Size : Ocean triggerfish average 3-5 pounds, often larger

Food Value : Good, but difficult to clean

The reason I care about this is because the angler that caught the new Texas state record Ocean Triggerfish is my first cousin Billy Sheridan of Brazoria County, Texas. He caught the Ocean Triggerfish while out fishing for yellowfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. He caught a few of those, too.

Billy is a hardcore angler and would rather fish than eat or sleep. I remember going fishing with him many a time when we were kids growing up. So congratulations to my cousin Billy on a fishing record that is well-deserved.

Ummm – Not Exactly Correct, Ms. US Attorney For Connecticut

While reading the Book of the Face I was stunned to learn that Stag Arms had just lost their Federal Firearms License for a variety of violations including having 62 machine guns (actually just the receivers) that were registered to another entity or not registered at all. More on this in another post.

What I found very interesting was this paragraph from the joint press release from US Attorney for Connecticut Deidre M. Daly and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

A receiver is the key regulated part that is considered a machine gun. All other parts necessary to transform a receiver to a fully functional semi-automatic or automatic machine gun can be purchased over the Internet.

On the face of it, this is true. The receiver is the key regulated product of machine guns as well as any other firearm manufactured in the United States. It is the part that is serialized. It is also true that you can get all the normal trigger parts including the auto sear over the Internet to go into a registered machine gun receiver.

However, thanks to ATF Ruling 81-4, drop-in auto sears which allow some semi-automatic AR15s to become fully automatic if they have the other M16 parts are considered machine guns and are regulated under the National Firearms Act.

Regardless of the date of manufacture of a drop in auto sear (i.e., before or after November 1,
1981) the possession or transfer of an unregistered drop in auto
sear (a machinegun as defined) is
prohibited by the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. § 5861, and the Gun Control Act, 18
U.S.C. § 922(o).

This may be a niggly, little quibble but it was the BATFE’s own ruling that decreed the drop in auto sear a NFA item. Since they wrote the regulation they should be held to a higher standard when it comes to the verbiage used in a press release. (Alinsky’s Rule No. 4) A drop in auto sear is not just something that you can buy off the Internet to make a receiver into a fully automatic firearm.

Deconstructing An “Appalling” New York Times Editorial

The New York Times ran an editorial yesterday castigating the Republican presidential candidates for not talking about gun control in their recent debate. They titled it “An Appalling Silence on Gun Control”. After reading the editorial, the best thing about it is that they don’t hide their intentions behind the “gun safety” euphemism.

Now to deconstructing the editorial:

It was remarkable that the Republican presidential candidates’ debate this week, supposedly focused on keeping Americans safe, was devoid of questions and comments about the public health issue of gun violence.

First off, gun violence is an inaccuracy. The gun is a tool and an inanimate object. The gun itself cannot jump up and shoot someone. The gun doesn’t pull the trigger; a human finger pulls that trigger. The gun cannot commit violence.

Second, it is not a public health issue. Violence committed by urban gangs in turf battles, violence committed during the commission of a home invasion or burglary, and violence committed by minorities on fellow minorities is not a public health issue. It is a crime issue. No amount of research by pet academics at Harvard or Johns Hopkins can change this fact.

That would have complicated their pitch, and more important, would mean thinking about gun violence in ways that would displease the gun industry and its political lobby. Those forces demand unquestioning allegiance from politicians fearful for their careers — outspoken candidates who retreat into shameful timidity when serious ideas on gun safety are needed. Strangely, the debate moderators didn’t care to touch the gun issue either, thereby burying a public health challenge that is a lethal, daily threat.

It is not the firearms industry nor the NRA that is calling the shots here. It is the voters. Specifically, it is the single issue gun rights voter that is demanding no more gun control. The Times is so used to top-down organizations and astroturfing that they can’t recognize real grassroots movements when they see it at work. The gun industry dances to the tune of the consumer and not the other way around when it comes to gun rights. That is why Ruger is pledging to donate up to $2 million to the NRA-ILA and why Smith & Wesson almost went under as a result of an agreement with the Clinton Administration.

The majority of Americans have said that they don’t want what the Times considers serious ideas. The most recent polls say that people reject assault weapons (sic) bans and actually think carrying a firearm is a better way to fight terrorism than “gun safety”.

As Jeff Knox always points out, we are the gun lobby.

It’s easier for these candidates to engage in eerie discussions of whether the next president should be free to bomb civilians in Syria or shoot down Russian bombers in a no-fly zone. They are experts at stoking fears about terrorism and great at wringing their hands about the unfounded bomb scare that shut down the Los Angeles school district on Tuesday, but actually facing up to gun violence — which kills more than 33,000 Americans a year — is beyond their capacity or courage. Far from offering any ideas, their statements on the campaign trail are a national embarrassment.

According to official CDC mortality statistics for 2013, 11,208 people died as a result of homicides involving firearms. An additional 516 people died as a result of “legal intervention”. This is a far cry from the 33,000 that the Times claims die as a result of “gun violence”.

The larger number comes from aggregating the number of suicides involving the discharge of a firearm with homicides. However, only little more than half of the 41,149 suicides in 2013 involved a firearm. The Times ignores the other 19,974 Americans who died as a result of suicide.

Suicide is a mental health issue. When a person feels so desperate that they feel taking their own life is the only course of action left to them, it is a tragedy as well as a profoundly sad event. However the Times and their allies do not call it razor blade violence when someone slits their wrists nor Tylenol violence when someone swallows a whole bottle of pills and kills their liver. They don’t demand politicians close the “razor blade loophole” or demand “universal background checks” for those purchasing Tylenol.

The Times and their readers would consider the following statistics on homicides either racist or a microaggression. Either way, it needs to be said. 73% of the homicide victims in 2013 were either black or Hispanic. To put this into perspective the combined percentage of the United States population that were either black or Hispanic was 30.6%. Moreover, these homicide victims were overwhelmingly male – 90% male for black victims and 83% male for Hispanic victims.

“I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away,” Dr. Ben Carson declared in October.

Dr. Carson is right. Taking away the right of self defense is more horrible and devastating.

You get rid of the bad guys by using our guns,” Senator Ted Cruz passionately declared early this month. He likes to make light of the issue, too: “We define gun control real simple — that’s hitting what you aim at.”

Ted is correct. People do protect themselves and often kill the bad guys when they use their own firearms in defensive gun uses. This is a regular feature of The Polite Society Podcast. Clayton Cramer has resumed his postings on Civilian Gun Self-Defense as well.

“Gun laws fail everywhere they’re tried,” Senator Marco Rubio flatly insisted last month. That claim is plain wrong, contradicted by major studies as well as experience in other countries where politicians have enacted sensible controls that helped to reduce rates of gun deaths.

No, the Times is plain wrong. France had all the “sensible controls” you would want.

Donald Trump favored an assault weapons ban in 2000, but this year he pledged to veto gun controls, making the death toll from firearms sound like the inescapable result of fate: “You’re going to have these things happen and it’s a horrible thing to behold.”

The Donald is correct. They are horrible to behold and, yes, they are going to happen. Homicides have trended down as gun sales and possession have increased. If the Times wants to blame anything for mass shootings, I suggest that they look at the increase in radical Muslims and the de-institutionalization of mental patients.

Jeb Bush may be trying to run as a moderate against Mr. Trump, but he concedes nothing when it comes to pure fatalism about guns. “Look, stuff happens,” Mr. Bush said in October, bizarrely trying to make the case that the impulse to do something constructive may not be the right course after mass shootings. He could have been speaking for any of his current rivals when he addressed the National Rifle Association convention in 2003 and exuberantly declared, “The sound of our guns is the sound of freedom!” This week, the sound of the guns from San Bernardino, Colorado Springs and a dozen earlier scenes of American carnage never penetrated the debate.

The impulse is always to “do something”. I don’t support Jeb and wish he’d drop out of the race but in this case he is correct. It isn’t bizarre that Jeb said that following impulses to do something may not be the right course of action. What the Times forgets to add here is that the murderers in Tucson, Aurora, and many other places all did pass a background check. Banning magazines or firearms of “distasteful cosmetics” would not have stopped these killings. What might, and I’ll only say might, have stopped some of these murders would have been for people close to the murderers to have intervened before they went over the deep end. That is hindsight and mental illness is hard for a layperson to recognize.

Really the only thing appalling is not the Republican candidates’ silence but the narrative put out by the Times. They may think they know better than thee and me but they are mistaken.

US Appeals Court Tosses Out DC Concealed Carry Ruling On Procedural Grounds

In a decision today, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia invalidated the ruling in Wrenn v. DC.  Sr. US District Court Judge Frederick Scullin, Jr. had issued a preliminary injunction against the new “may-issue” carry law adopted by the District. That ruling had been stayed while the Court of Appeals considered DC’s appeal of the injunction.

Senior Circuit Judge David Sentelle writing for the Court of Appeals said that the case must be overturned on jurisdictional grounds and that they Court was not ruling on the merits of the case. He said based upon a 1937 Supreme Court ruling in Frad v. Kelly that a ruling where the judge did not have jurisdiction was null.

The controlling fact in this case is the identity of the
judge who decided it in the district court – The Honorable
Senior United States District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr., of
the Northern District of New York. The difficulty in this case
is evident from the office of the deciding judge. Judge Scullin
is a Judge of the Northern District of New York, not of the
United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
the Constitution and the statutes, the President, with the advice
and consent of the Senate, appoints a judge to the district court
of a particular district, where he exercises the jurisdiction of the

It is possible for a district judge, including a senior judge,
to lawfully adjudicate matters in another district. However, in
order for a judge to exercise this judicial authority in a district
located outside the circuit of his home district, the judge must be
“designated and assigned by the Chief Justice.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 294(c)-(d). See also 28 U.S.C. § 294(e) (“No retired [i.e.,
senior] . . . judge shall perform judicial duties except when
designated and assigned.”).

Before the visiting judge may be designated and assigned
by the Chief Justice, the chief judge of the receiving district
must “present[] . . . a certificate of necessity.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 294(d). Then, and only then, may the Chief Justice of the
United States “designate[] and assign[]” the judge duties in the
receiving district. Id. Although Judge Scullin had served under
a properly issued designation, the difficulty in the present case
is that designation was limited to specific and enumerated cases.
The present litigation is not one of those cases.

The error in this case is quite understandable. The calendar
committee of the district court assigned the matter to Judge
Scullin because it deemed the case to be related to another case
over which Judge Scullin presided. The difficulty is, while the
earlier case was within the Chief Justice’s designation, the
present one is not.

What this means in practical terms is that the Wrenn case must start over from scratch. A new judge must be appointed for the case and briefs submitted. If there is a good thing coming out of the Court of Appeals ruling, it is that no precedent involving the substance of the case was established.

Setting The Hook

Watching Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) questioning a governmental official is a thing of beauty. It is like watching a master angler letting the fish nibble the bait and then suddenly setting the hook. The fish is hooked and wondering just what the heck just happened.

This past Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security held a hearing on “Terrorism and the Visa Waiver Program”. The lead witness was Kelli Ann Burriesci, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. She heads the Screening Coordination Office. Part of her office’s job is to facilitate transfer of information from the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database to the TSA’s No-Fly List.

The video below shows Gowdy questioning Burriesci. The first two minutes are setting the stage for Gowdy’s question where he sets the hook. That question is at 2:50 in the video. While excerpts of this questioning are out there, I think it is instructional to watch Gowdy’s questioning before he begins to set the hook.

Gowdy’s key question is “Let me ask you another question about the terrorism list, what process is afforded a U.S. citizen before they go on that list?”

Burriesci’s answer is that there is no process afforded a citizen before they are put on the list but only a process after they get on the list. This is just the answer Gowdy wanted and as a prosecutor in a prior life he knew he was going to get it.

It only gets better after that.

Gowdy’s point, of course, is that the denial of due process with regard to an enumerated right such as the Second Amendment is, by its very nature, unconstitutional.

Those who would use the No-Fly list, the Terror Watch List, or the FBI’s omnibus Terrorist Screening Database as the basis to deny a citizen’s rights under the Second Amendment – or any civil right for that matter – are playing a dangerous game. That many Democrats and gun prohibitionists are doing it to score political points makes it unconscionable.

An Oldie But Goodie On The Terror Watch List

A 2008 story from the Washington Post regarding the terror watch list and death penalty opponents illustrates the danger of taking names on that list at face value. The Maryland State Police acknowledged before a Maryland Senate Judicial committee that they had added 53 non-violent activists to both state and Federal terror watch lists.

The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.

Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July.

The department started sending letters of notification Saturday to the activists, inviting them to review their files before they are purged from the databases, Sheridan said.

“The names don’t belong in there,” he told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. “It’s as simple as that.”

The surveillance took place over 14 months in 2005 and 2006, under the administration of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The former state police superintendent who authorized the operation, Thomas E. Hutchins, defended the program in testimony yesterday. Hutchins said the program was a bulwark against potential violence and called the activists “fringe people.”

The people singled out in this case were death penalty opponents and anti-war protesters. According to logs obtained by the ACLU, the “primary crime” of some of these activists was “terrorism – anti-government.” MD Police Superintendent Sheridan said these names were added to the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area database (which tracks terrorists and that they may have been shared with the National Security Agency and other Federal agencies. He added, however, that they were not on the Federal terrorist watch list which is a statement that I seriously doubt.

People considered anti-government terrorists during a Republican administration were peace activists and death penalty opponents. You have to wonder who the Obama Administration would consider anti-government terrorists today. We know that neither of the San Bernadino killers were on the list and they were actual terrorists. Could it be that gun rights activists, Tea Party activists, anti-ObamaCare activists, and anti-Common Core activists are considered anti-government terrorists?

I would hope more rational minds would reject this but gun rights activists have certainly been labeled that by Media Matters, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic). This is all the more reason to fight the inclusion of names on some ephemeral government “terrorist” list into the NICS system.

Say It Ain’t So

News stories are linking one of the firearms used by ISIS in their Paris terror attacks to Century International Arms. The serial number of a Zastava M92 pistol recovered by French police matches that of one that Serbia-based Zastava Arms Factory exported to Century International in 2013.

From the Boston Herald:

Milojko Brzakovic of the Zastava arms factory told The Associated Press that the M92 semi-automatic pistol’s serial number matched one his company delivered to an American online arms dealer in May 2013. It was not clear how the gun got back to Europe.

At least seven of the weapons used or discovered after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris have been identified as being produced by the Serbian factory located in Kragujevac, in central Serbia. Most were manufactured before Yugoslavia broke up in a civil war in the 1990s and most of those are modified versions of the Soviet AK-47, or Kalashnikov.

Brzakovic said all the guns were delivered legally but could have later found their way into illegal channels.

“One was delivered to Bosnia in 1983, one to Skopje, Macedonia in December 1987, one to Golubici, near Knin (Croatia) in 1988, one to Zagreb (Croatia) 1987,” he said.

He said the M92 pistol “is a semi-automatic weapon, a hunting and sporting weapon … it cannot fire barrage fire, only single shots … which are legal in America.”

Century International can’t confirm whether or not the weapon in question was sold by them to a FFL.

A Delray Beach-based arms importer can’t confirm whether one of its guns was used in the Paris terror attacks, but it is cooperating with investigators, company officials said in a statement released Friday.

Century Arms officials say they are unable to confirm that an M92 semi-automatic pistol it sold was found at the scene of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

“Century has an active and vibrant training and compliance program,” the statement read that was posted on the company’s website. “The company abides by all federal, state and local laws and regulations. Century expects the firearms it ships to licensed firearms dealers in the United States to be sold in strict compliance with the law.”

While Zastava says their records are accurate and that they have records going back 50 years where each and every firearm they produced was sent, all I’ll say is that it is still the Balkans. Gun running is a national hobby.

Imported firearms sold by Century International will have a mark somewhere on that firearm stating it was imported by them. I have a few older surplus rifles that came by way of Century and they all have Century’s markings on them. One of the frequent criticisms made by crufflers about Century is that their markings are too distinct and too visible. I would imagine modern arms imported by Century are no different. 

To paraphrase Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry Maguire, show me the mark!

One thing we know for sure if it was actually shipped in 2013 then it couldn’t have been part of Operation Fast and Furious. Thank goodness for small favors.