The State Of The Union Address As I Heard It

This is how I heard President Trump’s first State of the Union address:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:

blah, blah, blah…

Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country.

We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty.

blah, blah, blah….

Thank you, and God bless America.

You may have heard it differently but that is what I remember hearing.

SHOT Show 2018 – More Firearms Companies Leaving Illinois

I ran into Todd Vandermyde on the floor of the SHOT Show. For those outside of Illinois, Todd used to be the NRA’s lobbyist for the Illinois General Assembly until late 2017 and has his finger on the pulse of all things gun-related in the Prairie State. He is now the lobbyist for the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois.

Todd told me that both LMT (formerly Lewis Machine & Tool) and Armalite were in the process of leaving Illinois. LMT is based in Milan which is part of the Quad Cities section of Illinois and Iowa. They are planning to do like Les Baer and move across the Mississippi River into Iowa. Speaking with LMT at their booth, they said their move should be completed by about October 2018.

Armalite, now part of Strategic Armory Corp., now has less than 10 employees left in Illinois. For many years they had been in Geneseo which is only about 20 miles east of the Quad Cities (Moline, East Moline, Davenport, and Rock Island). Most of their operations are now in the Phoenix area of Arizona.

Just as Springfield, Massachusetts and the Hartford, Connecticut area have long had a large concentration of gun makers and are even called “Gun Valley”, so, too, the Quad Cities of Illinois. It is the home to the government’s Rock Island Arsenal and is still home to companies like Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory along with the ancillary parts and treating companies. Unfortunately, the politics in Illinois like that in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California are such that companies find that relocating is often their best option. Sadly, the ones most hurt by this are the workers and the local economies and not the politicians who live far away from these industrial centers.

SHOT Show 2018: A Truly International Event (Updated)

We started the day with the Law Enforcement and Tactical Section of the SHOT Show. It quickly became apparent that there were attendees from Everywhere!  So I began reading name tags and started a list of countries.

So far, in addition to the United States, I am at 28. It would be 29 if you consider Puerto Rico separate from the US as does the International Olympic Committee.

  1. Poland
  2. Switzerland
  3. Germany
  4. Australia
  5. El Salvador
  6. France
  7. Denmark
  8. Italy
  9. Spain
  10. Saudi Arabia
  11. Japan
  12. Philippines
  13. China
  14. Turkey
  15. Canada
  16. New Zealand
  17. Jordan
  18. Netherlands
  19. Israel
  20. Puerto Rico *
  21. Finland
  22. United Kingdom
  23. Thailand
  24. Belgium
  25. Ukraine
  26. Guatamala
  27. Taiwan
  28. Lithuania
  29. Sweden
I’ll update this with more countries as I notice them.

UPDATE: I have more to add to the list!

30. Russia
31. Croatia
32. Norway
33. Pakistan
34. India
35. Kazakhstan
36. Mongolia
37. South Africa
38. Hong Kong (China but not China)
39. Wales (part of the UK but….)
40. Costa Rica
41. Chile
42. Argentina
43. Czech Republic
44. Brazil
45. Mexico
46. Hungary
47. Singapore
48. Egypt
49. Dominican Republic

I wonder what country will be the 50th?

UPDATE: Number 50 is….Belgium  Lebanon!!!

50. Belgium   (dupe)
50. Lebanon
51. Latvia

Firearms Policy Coalition Promises Cost Will Be High For BATFE If They Ban Bump Stocks

Last night at midnight EST, the comment period on the BATFE’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking closed. My comment was submitted last Saturday so that I wouldn’t forget it in all the hub-bub of the SHOT Show.

The Firearms Policy Coalition submitted their comment yesterday (on time). Their release below makes some very good points especially on the costs of implementing such a rule. It is important to bear in mind that if BATFE were to create a ruling banning bump fire or slide fire stocks, they would be making it up out of whole cloth. In other words, they would be assuming extra-constitutional powers that have no basis in either legislation or the rule of law.

Furthermore, there is the cost issue. There will be millions spent on enforcing an illegal law as well as untold millions on litigation. The Firearms Policy Coalition is upfront in saying that they will go to Federal court if the BATFE does create a regulation banning or regulating bump fire stocks. That said, I hope that cooler heads will prevail and any further moves towards a new regulation die in infancy.

From the FPC:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 25, 2018) — Today, civil rights advocacy organization Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) submitted formal comments to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) regarding a regulatory proposal that would apply the definition of ‘machinegun’ to so-called “bump fire stocks” and countless other devices. In a letter sent by FPC President Brandon Combs, the group called the proposal “troubling” and said that it “raises serious constitutional concerns, including the violation of the separation of powers.”

“The DOJ and BATFE clearly lack the statutory authority to re-define the targeted devices as ‘machineguns.’” But the gun rights group said that, if the government does re-classify so-called “bump stocks” and other devices to be “machineguns” under federal law, they would file a federal lawsuit that “would provide an excellent vehicle for the Supreme Court to re-visit and eliminate the made-up judicial construct of agency deference”—something many Supreme Court justices have signaled as an issue they may revisit soon.

FPC also said that the proposed ban would come at a high price. “These costs would necessarily include likely millions of dollars in BATFE implementation and enforcement costs, in addition to potentially millions of dollars in fending off the inevitable litigation arising from the serious constitutional and statutory violations engendered by this regulatory process,” FPC argued. “Moreover, American taxpayers would also likely be stuck with the bill for the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and costs should the government fail in attempting to defend this illegal and unconstitutional action.”

After the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, FPC released a statement ( ) saying that, even “in troubled and troubling times like these, we are honor-bound to stand united in defense of fundamental, individual liberties, in all cases, and in spite of the incalculable grief we feel for the victims of Las Vegas as fellow human beings.”

In a subsequent statement ( ) FPC repudiated proposed bans on semi-automatic firearms and accessories, including “bump fire” stocks. “All unconstitutional laws are unjust, illegitimate, and offensive to the rule of law—even if they are enacted in response to a very real tragedy. FPC opposes all restrictions on the acquisition, possession, carry, and use of common, semi-automatic firearms, ammunition, and accessories by law-abiding people.”

Later in October, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a news release declaring “bump stock” devices to be “multiburst trigger activators” and “illegal in California.” But FPC responded days later ( ) and said that it was Becerra’s statements that were “disingenuous at best and probably illegal.” Said FPC President Brandon Combs at the time, “Not only is Attorney General Becerra’s so-called ‘news release’ inaccurate and misleading, it is almost certainly an illegal underground regulation.”

SHOT Show 2018: Rimfire Challenge World Championship Announced

Michael Bane announced the dates and the location of the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association’s World Championship today at the SHOT Show. The championship will be held October 3rd through 7th at the Lucas Cattle Company Ranch in Crossed Timbers, Missouri.  The ranch is owned by Forrest Lucas who is the founder of Lucas Oil Company.

Crossed Timbers is located in the Ozark Highlands of Missouri. The Crossed Timbers Region is where the prairies of the Great Plains meet the Eastern deciduous forests. It is about a two hour drive from Kansas City and a 3 1/2 drive from St. Louis.

More information on the event will be posted as it becomes available.

SHOT Show 2018: Weatherby Says Goodbye California, Hello Wyoming

Weatherby, the epitome of the SoCal style of hunting rifles, announced on Tuesday that they will be relocating their operations from Paso Robles, California to Sheridan, Wyoming. The announcement was made by Adam Weatherby, the grandson of founder Roy Weatherby, who was accompanied in the event by his father Ed and Gov. Matt Mead of Wyoming. Gov. Mead was presented with a 70th Anniversary Mark V rifle by the Weatherbys in recognition of his efforts to bring their company to Wyoming.

Photo by John Richardson

The new headquarters and plant is expected to open in 2019. However, a quick glance at Weatherby’s website shows that they are hiring some critical staff as of Summer 2018. These positions include VP of Sales and Marketing, Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, Director of Production Management, and Controller.

The Firearm Blog reports Adam Weatherby as saying the move was based on the incentives from the State of Wyoming and the desire for “more freedom to develop new products without onerous legal restrictions.”

The Wyoming Business Council released this statement about the move:

Firearms manufacturer Weatherby, Inc., is relocating its manufacturing operations and corporate headquarters from California to Sheridan, Wyoming, company officials announced today from SHOT Show in Las Vegas, the world’s largest annual shooting, hunting and firearms industry trade show.

The move is expected to create 70 to 90 jobs and more than $5 million annually in payroll in the next five years.

Outdoor recreation is an economic driver in Wyoming, and manufacturing plays a vital role in any economy, according to Shawn Reese, chief executive officer of the Wyoming Business Council.

“So, to bring those two things together – an internationally-known manufacturer of outdoor equipment headquartered in Wyoming – it will pay dividends, not only to Sheridan and northeast Wyoming, but this is a project of which the entire state should be proud,” Reese said.

Wyoming wooed the renowned gunmaker with its expansive access to unrivaled big game hunting, low taxes, industry-friendly environment, Sheridan College’s workforce training program and a comprehensive incentives package.

“We wanted a place where we could retain a great workforce, and where our employees could live an outdoor lifestyle,” said Adam Weatherby, chief executive officer. “We wanted to move to a state where we can grow into our brand. Wyoming means new opportunities. We are not interested in maintaining; we are growing.”

Governor Matt Mead and the Wyoming Business Council, the state’s economic development agency, began recruiting Weatherby a year ago.

“Wyoming is a great place to do business and is excited to welcome Weatherby to Sheridan,” Mead said. “For over 70 years, Weatherby has been an innovator in firearms design and manufacturing. The company will add to our manufacturing base and fit well with our diversification objectives.

“I thank the Wyoming Business Council, the Sheridan Economic and Education Development Authority, and all who helped bring Weatherby, Inc. to Wyoming.”

Weatherby called Mead’s enthusiastic support and accessibility a major asset for a company operating in a highly-regulated industry.

“From the get go, when we met the governor, he said, ‘Here’s my number, shoot me a text any time,’” Weatherby said. “He responds to our needs quickly, and it shows a business like ours is important to Wyoming and that it’s a big deal here.”

Business Council staff took Weatherby officials on tours of potential sites for their facility around the state following the initial conversations.

Sheridan stood out to Weatherby executives because of its access to both the outdoors and a skilled workforce.

“There are a lot of great places in Wyoming, but Sheridan stood out as a New West community that’s progressive and growing, with a vibrant downtown in the shadow of the Bighorns and a mild climate,” Weatherby said. “Sheridan College, which is growing its manufacturing and machine tool program, was also a deciding factor.”

Sheridan College President Dr. Paul Young called Weatherby’s recruitment an example of the work it will take to diversify Wyoming’s economy.

“This is the direct result of years and years of visioning, planning and strategically investing in the things that matter for the future of our region,” Young said. “With the help of Whitney Benefits and others, we have been strengthening and growing our technical programs for this very reason, and we will continue to provide opportunities for students to learn valuable skills to secure a solid future.”

The Business Council worked with the Sheridan Economic and Education Development Authority (SEEDA) Joint Powers board to develop a $12.6 million grant package. SEEDA committed $2,283,074 in local match funds, of which $322,874 is cash. The other $1,960,200 is in-kind match for Lot 1 in the Sheridan High-Tech Business Park. The joint powers board will use the money to build a 100,000 square-foot building in the Sheridan High-Tech Business Park. SEEDA will own the facility and lease it to Weatherby.

Weatherby will invest an estimated $2 million in relocation expenses and cover all capital investment in the building and lot over the life of the 20-year lease, which is expected to be well over $4 million.

“We’re extremely excited to have this internationally recognized company choose Sheridan as their new corporate headquarters,” Sheridan Mayor Roger Miller said. “This relocation will translate to more skilled manufacturing jobs, an increased tax base and important economic diversification for our community and the region.”

Founded in 1945 by Adam Weatherby’s grandfather, Roy Weatherby, the family-owned and operated business has built a brand synonymous with quality craftmanship, a superior fit and finish and ballistic superiority.

The importance of family underlies much of Weatherby’s ethos.

“Our product is the main tool hunters use out in field. They may spend a lifetime trying to draw a tag or save for the hunt of their dreams, and we keep that foremost in our minds when we are building our guns,” Weatherby said. “This is an aspiration product; these are guns that are passed down from generation to generation.”

In my opinion the business climate in California for all businesses, not just those in the firearms industry, is getting more and more onerous. Currently, there is a proposal before the California Assembly to increase corporate taxes for all companies with more than $1 million in revenues. This is a move by California Democrats to capture the monies from the reduction in Federal corporate taxes passed by Congress and signed by President Trump. If you intend to encourage businesses to leave your state, this is how you do it.

Industry Day At The Range

This will be a short post as we are getting ready for the first day of the SHOT Show. Both the Complementary Spouse and I attended Industry Day at the Range. We were on the first bus leaving at 7:45 and got to the range about 8:30. Despite being on the first bus a lot of people beat us to the range.

I had planned to shoot video of everything I saw. I did get some video which I’m in the process of editing but I think the Apple slow battery problem struck early. Under 5 minutes of video zapped the battery and I had to recharge it twice over the course of the day. So the bottom line is I got some video but not a lot of video. I will be taking advantage of Apple’s replacement battery offer sooner than later.

Some of what I shot:

  1.  Archon Type B in 9mm – very nice pistol coming from Germany with a very, very low bore axis.
  2. Ruger PC Carbine – loved it! Still, it was a bit heavier than I expected and not as light as the original M1 Carbine.
  3. Ruger Security-9 pistol. The trigger was very decent for a hammer fired double action pistol and was comparable to most striker-fired pistols at a lower price.
  4. Rock Island Armory Baby Rock – a downsized 1911 in .380 ACP. It still had a bit of a bark to it but was very slim.
  5. Rock Island Armory 1911 XT in .22 Magnum – this is a fixed barrel 1911. I found it very easy to shoot and very accurate. For someone who has trouble racking a slide due to arthritis or other malady, this could be a real winner.
  6. Tracking Point System – not cheap but very interesting. It does most of the work and decides when the optimal point is to actually fire.
  7. Mossberg Shockwave in 20 gauge – I didn’t think firing from the hip would be as accurate or effective. Once you get the feel for it and realize that you have to aim lower, you start hitting the target with regularity.
  8. Inland Manufacturing M1 Carbine clone – they were better than I expected. Still love the M1 but will stick with my own IBM for now. In a head to head battle between this and the Ruger PC Carbine, I’d go with the Ruger. More modern, cheaper ammo, and about $500 cheaper.
  9. Brownells Retro AR’s – Brownells has now manufactured their own period-correct retro ARs. This is a first for them in that they never manufactured their own firearms before. I shot the A1 version from the latter part of the Vietnam War. It was nice.
That concludes this for now. I’ll have small updates throughout the day (I hope).

Comment On Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Bump Fire Stocks

I submitted my comment to the BATFE today regarding Docket Number 2017R-22 which is the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding treating bump fire stocks as “machine guns”. My full comment is below and you are free to cut and paste whatever you want from it.

I did try to answer the questions that they posed for consumers before I said the way the law is currently written does not allow them to classify bump fire stocks as machine guns.

Docket No. 2017R-22

RIN 1140–AA52

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

Comment on Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

First, to answer the questions posed by the ANPRM:

Q. 21: a) I have never seen bump fire stock devices for sale in gun stores. This may be a factor of the size or type of the gun store that I patronize. b) I have seen one bump fire stock device for sale at the two most recent gun shows that I attended. It was for sale by a private individual. c) The most common place for these devices to be sold is online directly from the manufacturer.

Q. 22: The price range of the bump fire stock devices online is between $150 and $300. I was told anecdotally by a vendor at the last gun show I attended that the one bump fire stock that I had seen for sale was being sold for $1,200.

Q. 23: The one person I know who does own a bump fire stock is a wheel-chair bound paraplegic who installed it on a semi-automatic shotgun for self-defense in the home. As to the claims of the manufacturers, that I cannot answer as I’m not aware of what they state is the intended purpose for a bump fire stock device.

Second, I would like to respond as to whether a bump fire stock device would fall into the statutory definition of a machine gun as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Per the NFA Handbook, a machine gun is “Any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.”
This was the definition used by the Firearms Technology Division when it examined the Slide Fire bump stock. As Richard Vasquez, then the ATF’s Senior Technical Expert, who conducted the examination noted the Slide Fire stock was “not designed to shoot with a single function of the trigger.” Designed is the key word. He went on to say:

The Slide Fire does not fire automatically with a single pull/function of the trigger.
It is designed to reciprocate back and forth from the inertia of the fired cartridge.
When firing a weapon with a Slide Fire, the trigger finger sits on a shelf and the
trigger is pulled into the trigger finger. Once the rifle fires the weapon, due to the
push and pull action of the stock and rifle, the rifle will reciprocate sufficiently to
recock and reset the trigger. It then reciprocates forward and the freshly cocked
weapon fires again when the trigger strikes the finger on its forward travel.

ATF Ruling 2006-2 sought to expand the definition of what constitutes a “machine gun”. It equated one pull of the trigger with a single function of the trigger. This was based upon BATFE’s reading of the legislative history of the National Firearms Act. However, even that definition would not apply to bump fire stocks such as the one from Slide Fire Solutions. That is because it doesn’t rely on springs, blocks, rods, etc. which “result in a weapon that shoots more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single pull of the trigger” and thus is a machine gun.

Third, to base any new rule or law upon a single outlying event such as that which happened in the Mandelay Bay shootings in Las Vegas results in bad law and bad policy. This will also bring into existence the law of unintended consequences. If one reads the proposed laws before Congress that seek to outlaw bump fire stocks in a knee-jerk reaction to the shootings, it is clear that a broad reading would include any trigger job, lighter buffer spring, and all after-market triggers. A rough or heavy stock trigger is more likely to cause a shot to go astray and to cause serious bodily injury or death than a replacement.

Finally, it is not the job of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to use regulation to change the meaning of the law. If Congress wants to change the definition of a machine gun, they should pass such a law. They should not pass the buck to the BATFE due to their own inability to agree on new legislation. Any proposed or anticipated rulemaking should be ended until such time as Congress changes the law.

Reminder From GRNC – ATF Comment Period Closes Next Week

Grass Roots North Carolina sent out an alert reminding people that the comment period for the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking closes on January 25th. They also have a suggested comment. I have sent my comment in and will post it as a separately.

Just a reminder, all comments must reference Docket Number  2017R-22.


It seems our friends at the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE, often referred to
as the ATF) would like to impose “maximum firing rates” on American gun
owners. Apparently, there is even talk that they may classify your
semi-automatic rifle as a “machine gun.”

Reason and legalities tell us that a machine gun fires continuously and
automatically with a single function of the trigger.  But the BATFE is
no longer sure that definition suits them. This is because, since the
definition was established, super high-tech items have been developed, such
as rubber bands, belt loops, shoestrings and Jerry
.  The truth is, even with these “high-tech” devices, nothing
has really changed. So-called “bump firing” still requires one trigger action for each
round fired. Yet, the BATFE is looking to “clarify” the NFA
and whether certain devices, commonly known as bump fire stocks, fall within
the definition of machine gun. Absurd.

With the flick of a bureaucrat’s wrist, your lowly non-NFA firearm (read:
semi-automatic) may suddenly be elevated to the status of machine gun. It
will be classified not by trigger action, but by arbitrary firing rate, which
is something that can be altered by any number of things, including something
as nebulous as the skill of its owner. The list of items that can affect rate
of fire also includes innocuous, legal and unrelated things such as: optical
sights, trigger jobs, muzzle compensators, and who knows what else?
Picture Andrew
Cuomo screaming:
“No one needs a gun
that can shoot more than once every 5 minutes to kill a deer!”

Surely, we can trust the government to not take advantage of a new-found
power over the peoples’ guns, right?
Against This Infringement

The BATFE’s comment period regarding this proposed rule is still
, and it is critical that you submit a comment against this proposed
infringement on your gun rights.
If this is not stopped, who
knows when all guns will be classified as “machine guns?” To comment, find a link below, and a
copy/paste message you can use to comment.


    Click on the link provided, and use the copy/paste message provided
    below under ‘Deliver This Message.’ CLICK HERE (or go to:

    Comments MUST be submitted by
    Thursday, January 25th.


I’m writing to day to speak
against the formation of a so-called “Bump Fire” rule.

Clearly, the proposed rule is designed to open a debate about semi-automatic
firing rates, something that is not open to debate in a free country. This is
dangerous territory where ambiguous language, established by unelected
government employees, is sure to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of
The People.

The proposed rule references “devices used with a semiautomatic firearm to
increase the firearm’s cyclic firing rate.” Clearly, that sort of open-ended
language could be used to ban any device that increases the firearm’s cyclic
firing rate regardless of trigger action, e.g. trigger jobs, muzzle
compensators, optical sights, shoestrings, rubber bands, and who knows what

Given that bump stocks do not alter trigger function, firearms remain
semi-automatic, the BATFE has no legitimate authority to impose this
infringement on the American people. Indeed, there is no statutory definition
of “machinegun” in the National Firearms Act of 1934 nor the Gun Control Act
of 1968 that would allow the BATFE to make this stretch.

Any “Bump Fire” rule would be unconstitutional, and any “rule” imposed by
federal bureaucrats is really just a law established without the approval of
the peoples’ representatives. Surely, those at the BATFE have no interest in
circumventing the Constitution of the United States, nor would they want to
disrespect the country’s law-abiding people in such a manner.

For these reasons, I must insist that the BATFE immediately discard any
thoughts of imposing a “Bump Fire” rule.