In Time For Halloween – The Frankenpen

In case you don’t know, I love pens and especially fountain pens. I have more than you can shake a stick out. Some are real collectors that I plan to have rehabbed one of these days like a 1920s Parker Duofold Big Red. Others are cheap Chinese pens bought off of EBay which actually aren’t that bad. In the middle are some German pens from Lamy and Pelikan with the odd Japanese pen tossed in for good measure.

With Halloween fast approaching, I found this video from Jet Pens interesting. It gives examples of how to mix and match pen parts to get just what you want. One that really intrigues me is modifying the Zebra Kado2 with a gel refill. I can see using that pen when I’m at the SHOT Show as both a measuring device and something with which to take notes.

Dallas Safari Club Grants For Conservation

The Dallas Safari Club and the DSC Foundation raise money to fund conservation efforts, for education, for anti-poaching teams, and to counter anti-hunting initiatives.

DSC Executive Director Corey Mason outlines some of their recent grants below. DSC says its mission is education, conservation, and advocacy. Each one of the short video addresses one of their mission goals.

A complete list of the grants made by the DSC Foundation is here.

I attended their 2022 convention held in Dallas and hope to do it again in January 2023. One thing that I found special about their convention was the number of families and school groups that were in attendance. That they went out of their way to make it inclusive for all age groups really impressed me.

Police Report On Raleigh Murders

The Raleigh Police Department has released a preliminary report on the October 13th mass casualty event in which five people were murdered and two wounded. The killer is a 15 year old juvenile whom authorities have not publicly identified though some media sources have published it. However, He is currently in the hospital in critical condition from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman indicates that she intends to charge him as an adult.

The next day before most details were known, President Joe Biden released a statement on the murders. Included in the statement was a renewed call for a new assault weapons ban.

For the lives we’ve lost and the lives we can save, I took historic action to stop gun violence in our nation, including signing the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years. But we must do more. We must pass an assault weapons ban. The American people support this commonsense action to get weapons of war off our streets. House Democrats have already passed it. The Senate should do the same. Send it to my desk and I’ll sign it. 

Having read the police report, there are a few things that stand out. First, the killer was armed with a shotgun, a handgun, and a large knife. He did not have any “assault weapon” (sic). Second, the first victim was the killer’s 16 year old brother who had been both shot and stabbed. Third, the killer covered almost 2 miles on foot from the first murder until he was taken into custody. Fourth, there is no word on how he obtained the firearms. Finally, the most important question goes unanswered: why?

We don’t know why he killed his brother, we don’t know why he continued the killings, and we don’t know how he obtained his firearms. We do know that he did not have “an assault weapon”. His family asserts that there were no warning signs that their son “was capable of doing anything like this.” If he survives, I hope we do get some answers as he goes to trial.


Adam Kraut Joins SAF As Executive Director

I have known Adam Kraut for a few years now. I supported him in his runs for the NRA Board of Directors even though Marion Hammer considered him “the enemy within”. I think one of the smartest moves he made in the past was opting not to fill out a term on the NRA Board of Directors in lieu of becoming the FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy which later became the VP for Programs. He left the Firearms Policy Coalition in August to be a sole practitioner.

On Monday, it was announced that Adam would be the new Executive Director of the Second Amendment Foundation. He will be doing that full time.

From the announcement:

Kraut brings almost a decade of experience in the Second Amendment realm as a litigator and educator. Throughout his career, Kraut has represented individuals, companies, and institutional plaintiffs in state and federal litigation and regulatory matters.

In addition to his legal background, Kraut draws management experience from his time in the non-profit world, where he was responsible for overseeing the programmatic functions of a liberty-based non-profit, which concentrated on Second Amendment issues. He also managed a federal firearms licensee. Kraut comes with a variety of media experience, having written for publications such as Recoil magazine, Recoil Web, and other online publications, writing and hosting a YouTube series, hosting and appearing as guest on multiple podcasts, and appearing on television.

Alan Gottlieb, SAF’s founder and Executive VP, had this to say on the appointment:

“We’re delighted to have Adam coming aboard at a time when our legal activities are greatly expanding,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “He brings a wealth of experience to the position, at a critical time when we are challenging an array of restrictive gun control laws that clearly have restrained peaceable, law-abiding citizens while accomplishing nothing in the effort to reduce violent crime.

“Adam has been a SAF Life Member since 2013,” Gottlieb added. “He has a keen understanding of our mission, our history and our effort to win firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time. We are proud to bring him aboard to fill an important role as we ramp up our fight to restore and expand the Second Amendment as the cornerstone of our Constitution.”

In accepting the position, Adam acknowledged the legacy of the Second Amendment Foundation and said he looked forward to continuing developing more cases to bring to the Supreme Court “to ensure the right to keep and bear arms is restored to its original meaning.”

I think this is a great selection. While not said out loud, I think Alan Gottlieb is looking to build a succession plan for SAF. Contrast that with Wayne LaPierre and the NRA where any thoughts of a succession plan are quickly stomped out. Healthy organizations look to succession; unhealthy organizations actively resist it.

Greatest Threat Today?

I know Twitter is a wasteland but sometimes I just cannot help myself. With Elon Musk completing his purchase of it soon, it may get better. Nonetheless, you can find some interesting things there.

Given how the media, Joe Biden, and the Democrat Party are constantly saying the greatest threat today is armed, right wing, extremist, white supremacists, this Zoom webinar put on by Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions fits the bill.

While Josh Horwitz is not one of the featured speakers, this sounds like something right out of the old Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) playbook. Horwitz was always harping on “insurrectionists”. When he wrote stuff like that, he was talking about people who really didn’t like Barack Obama more than anything else.

While I will be on vacation on November 1st, I’m going to try and listen in on what is sure to be a scintillating (!) presentation. I just registered and added it to my calendar. It is times like this that I wish the late Mike Vanderboegh were still alive. I know he’d have something to say about it.

Disrespect For War Memorials

Haywood County, North Carolina is not a place where you would expect to find politicians who disrespect memorials to fallen service men and women. I lived there for over 30 years. It is and was a patriotic county filled with many veterans. Thus, when I read the post by my friend Tim who owns Old Grouch Military Surplus, I was shocked and saddened.

His store is located in the center of the town of Clyde across from “the big gun”. That is a decommissioned 50mm naval gun which serves as a memorial to the fallen in all wars from Clyde. The “big gun” is even incorporated into the town’s seal.

In front of the “big gun” is a stone monument in memory of Sgt. Charles Crockett Matthews who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969. It was placed there by his wife Mary as Sgt. Matthews was the first person from Clyde killed in action since WWII.

From Tim:

They (local Democrats) decided to use the base of the Big Gun as a platform to make political speeches from. I don’t see that as an appropriate activity at a war memorial, no more than it would be a President having a campaign event at the Vietnam Wall would be, but I guess maybe some people could argue differently. But how they did it was utterly disrespectful and disgusting, and nobody can argue it was ok.

There is a stone monument in the front of the Big Gun, a memorial to SGT Charles Crockett Matthews who was killed in action in Vietnam. He was the first person from Clyde to be killed in action since WWII, so to add his name to the memorial his wife had the stone monument you see in the picture made and placed by the gun. When the Big Gun was relocated to its present position a raised pedestal was made to place it in a position of honor in front of the gun.

At least two of the politicians/candidates speaking proceeded to STAND ON the monument to SGT Matthews. And I mean the soles of their shoes right on his name engraved in the stone. Joe Sam Queen did and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara not only stood on it, she used for a step-stool to get up on the platform.

They STOOD ON the monument to a fallen Soldier so they could make political speeches.

For those that are unaware, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is the Democrat nominee for Congress in the 11th District of North Carolina. She is a Buncombe County Commissioner as well as an ordained minister. What makes this even worse is that she has support for veterans as one of her campaign planks along with abortion, legalizing marijuana, gay rights, and climate change.

Tim notes that none of these pictures are “gotcha, hidden camera pictures” but rather came from the Facebook pages of the candidates involved.

What makes this even more disappointing is that some of the candidates involved such as Josh Remillard and Larry Bryson were veterans. They knew better and still just went along with it.

Tim concludes:

Everyone there- from those who organized it to the candidates it was for to those in attendance- saw a memorial to those from Clyde who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation as a good prop for partisan campaign speeches, didn’t take a second to reflect on if their actions were appropriate, and saw no problem with people standing and walking on top of that memorial for SGT Matthews as they did so. Had they simply stood in front of it and not hung campaign signs on it their event would have been 100% respectful. But that isn’t the path they chose.

I think Tim is 100% correct.

Happy Ruger Day!

October 22nd aka 10/22 is Ruger Day. I’m not sure who came up with it but it works for me. According to Ruger, it was started on October 22, 2017 as a day to celebrate all things Ruger because of the 10/22 rifle. There are even special events held at a number of gun stores.

The first firearm I ever bought with my own money was a Ruger 10/22 carbine. I was 18 and bought it at a discount chain in North Carolina called Best Products. I paid $55. Like Best Products, unfortunately that 10/22 is long gone. As I recall, it was in the mid-1980s and I needed cash for something or other.

While I now have a couple of 10/22 rifles including one with the full Mannlicher stock, I really wish I had that first one back. If we didn’t have to attend a wedding today, I would take that original 10/22 out to the range and shoot it in honor of Ruger Day.

Oh, Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues on his path to make Canada an authoritarian state. His latest move was to freeze the sale, purchase, or transfer of handguns.

While there is a gun control act called Bill C-21 that is pending before Parliament, Trudeau is relying upon regulation to do what legislation does not allow him to do. This is similar to what he did earlier with regard to certain semi-automatic firearms in 2020. Provincial governments in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan are pushing back on co-operation with the RCMP on that move.

From his official release on the move:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the national freeze on the sale, purchase, and transfer of handguns comes into effect. From now on, people cannot buy, sell, or transfer handguns within Canada, and they cannot bring newly acquired handguns into the country.

A national handgun freeze was first announced alongside Bill C-21, the strongest gun control measures in over 40 years, in May 2022. While the bill continues to be debated in Parliament, we are taking immediate action through regulations to keep Canadians safe.

The national handgun freeze is part of the government’s comprehensive plan to tackle gun violence. We have already banned over 1,500 types of assault-style firearms and have strengthened our gun control laws to expand background checks. Bill C-21 proposes further measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands like revoking the firearms licences of those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, continuing to fight gun smuggling and trafficking, and providing law enforcement more tools to investigate firearms crimes.

According to the details, applications submitted before October 21st for the sale, purchase, or transfer of a handgun will be processed. Their temporary ban on the importation of handguns implemented in August 2022 will remain in effect. Finally, there are limited exceptions to this freeze. Thus, “high-performance sports shooting athletes” and security guards will be exempted along with the film industry (of course!), gunsmiths, and museums. The last three are exempted only to the extent of their existing licenses.

Trudeau even used the “if it saves one life” canard in his justification for this authoritarian measure.

I love Canada. I have traveled through most of the provinces in both the east and west of that formerly great country. Indeed, my honest-to-god first girlfriend was a Canadian from Ontario. It just saddens me tremendously to see the extent to which Trudeau fils has abridged freedoms in Canada. He really does illustrate the difference between a citizen and a subject in the way he governs.

Shannon Watts’ Nose Is Out Of Joint

CNN announced yesterday that they were establishing a “Guns in America” beat. In somewhat of a surprise, it isn’t totally filled with gun prohibitionists. That fact has the Shannon Watts and the rest of the gun prohibitionists in a tizzy.

From Deadline:

Josh Campbell will lead CNN’s new “Guns in America” beat, one of the new initiatives announced earlier this year by CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht.

Providing reporting and analysis to the beat will be figures from a range of points of view, including Stephen Gutowski, the founder of firearms reporting site (The) Reload; Jennifer Mascia from The Trace, which covers the impact of gun violence; and Abené Clayton, reporter on the The Guardian’s Guns and Lies in America project.

CNN said that the team “will explore who buys and sells guns; who makes and regulates them; and dive into the communities most impacted to help illuminate possible solutions to America’s epidemic of gun violence.”

It is the addition of Stephen Gutowski, a reporter who is not ignorant about firearms, that has her and the rest of her ilk so outraged.

(click on the embedded tweet to see the full comments from Shannon Watts)

Then this array of comments on The Wrap:

This sentiment was echoed by many others, with one user saying the hire, who will join the Guns in America beat, “a new beat dedicated to tracking and unpacking all aspects of the complex and divisive issues surrounding guns and gun violence in the country,” according to CNN, was like getting “paychecks for the price of innocent lives,” considering his approval rating from the NRA. Another user tweeted “CNN hires gun nut for gun analysis,” while others insisted Gutowski’s hire would end their CNN viewership. “No thanks @CNN,” one user wrote. “I will not be watching ANY of your programs. NONE.”

Therein lies the problem for them. They don’t want to hear anything that challenges their narrative about firearms. It is like they all live on the set of the Truman Show and their favorite song is Home on the Range because “seldom is heard, a discouragin’ word”.

I have known Stephen for a few years now. I have always found him to be a serious, sober, and fair-minded journalist. Yes he does provide an alternative perspective on firearms issues. Moreover, despite the charge of being “NRA approved”, he has never shied away from criticism of the NRA, its leadership, and the board when criticism is due. I think he will acquit himself well even though it will be two against one.

He said this on The Reload to which I’m a paid subscriber about being an analyst for CNN in addition to continuing his work on The Reload:

I’m excited about the opportunity to work with many solid reporters and reach a new audience. I’ve long criticized how major media outlets have reported on firearms. A severe lack of knowledge about guns, gun owners, gun laws, and even gun politics is endemic throughout the industry.

But I’ve also long been an advocate of engaging with other reporters to help foster a more informed media. I’ve contributed stories to outlets across the political spectrum. I’ve given advice to writers at every one of the top news outlets in the country and even taken many to the range for first-hand experience.

So, I’m glad to get a chance to put that worldview into practice on a greater scale than ever before.

What makes this whole faux-outrage by Shannon Watts so amusing is that the president of Everytown of which her organization is a part and that of The Trace are one and the same. Thanks to Rob Romano for pointing that out.

If Shannon couldn’t engage in hypocrisy, then she would be left with nothing.

Objection, Your Honor(s)!

Cheri Beasley, the Democrat nominee for the US Senate in North Carolina, is running the ad below incessantly. It features six retired judges all extolling the virtues of Cheri Beasley. They then attack Ted Budd saying, “he focused on what is good for him, not North Carolina.”

They say their job as judges was not about politics but about standing up for what was right. If one takes their statement at face value, then you would also have to conclude that if an attorney made that statement about Budd in any one of their courtrooms they would have ruled it out of order. It is an ad hominem attack for which they provide no supporting basis.

Unlike in many states, every judge in North Carolina runs for his or her judgeship. While some may be initially appointed to fill a vacant position, they must run for the office if they want to keep the job. Therefore, it is important to recognize that every one of those six judges was not only a jurist but a politician.

Retired Chief Justices Jim Exum and Henry Frye both served as State Representatives in the North Carolina General Assembly before becoming judges. Justice Bob Orr, a Kasich supporting “Never Trumper” who ID’s as an “independent”, ran as a Republican for governor against former Gov. Pat McCrory. Judge Carl Fox was the District Attorney for Orange County before becoming a judge. Even Judges Manning and Bryan had to play politics one way or another in order to be initially appointed as judges.

What they really object to is that Ted Budd is not a member of the club unlike Beasley. He is not a lawyer and he was never a judge unlike Beasley. To my mind, given the overabundance of lawyers in the Senate this is a plus. Beyond being a conservative and a Second Amendment supporter, Budd brings the experience of having to run a business and make payroll to the Senate.

The race is close and Beasley has a ton of out-of-state money backing her. I just voted today for Budd and will keep my fingers crossed that he wins.