A 5.56 FAL?

Yes, there really was a FAL in 5.56×45. It was the SAR-4800 made by Imbel in Brazil and imported by Springfield Armory. According to Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons, only about 700 were imported into the United States and these came with those ugly post-ban thumbhole stocks.

He discusses the history of it while examining one that was converted to the FAL Para configuration. While it probably is a bit heavy, it is still pretty cool.

Stag Arms: Goodbye Connecticut, Hello Wyoming.

Stag Arms announced two big changes today. Chad Larsen has been selected to be the new President of Stag effective immediately. On top of that, the company is relocating from New Britain, CT to Cheyenne, WY. The relocation will be completed by the end of 2019.

Stag Arms had announced in June their intention to leave Connecticut. They had previously thought about moving in 2013. However, due to family and supplier ties, Mark Malkowski, then president, decided to remain in New Britain. This time they were serious and began a national search.

In making today’s announcement, Elie Azar, Founder and CEO of White Wolf Capital, LLC, which owns a controlling interest in Stag
Arms, said: “We decided it was time to do a complete refresh of the Company. We needed to solve for three things: visionary
customer-centric leadership, a business-friendly, pro-growth economic environment, and a cultural climate that reflects Stag’s brand
image of independence and free spiritedness. I am pleased to report that we have found a solution that hits all these points.”

To find a new location for the Company, Stag’s Board of Directors conducted a rigorous process comparing dozens of potential sites
against a stringent set of criteria. “Cheyenne came out on top on most of the individual criteria,” said Azar, “and considering our
requirements as a whole, it was by far the superior site. Not only is Wyoming an incredibly hospitable place to do business, it is also a
top destination for outdoor recreation, including hunting and shooting sports, which reflects its citizens’ unwavering support for the
Second Amendment.”

Gov. Mark Gordon (R-WY) was understandably pleased.

I am pleased to welcome Stag Arms to Wyoming and to know that our state came out on top of a broad look at potential new homes for the sought-after company. We have a deep-seated commitment to the Second Amendment that I will continue to uphold.

When Stag Arms announced their intention to leave Connecticut, business development officials for Cheyenne and the State of Wyoming didn’t waste any time reaching out to them. They helped with site location, workforce evaluation, and introduction to the community.

New president Chad Larsen comes to Stag from Aero-Precision where he headed new product development. This is not that surprising given that White Wolf Capital also owns Aero-Precision and Ballistic Advantage.

Azar noted, “Chad’s innovative genius with the Modern Sporting Rifle
platform stems from his personal emersion (sic) in the shooting and hunting community. He knows what customers want—and what they
don’t—because he is one of them.” Mr. Larsen is both an avid hunter and a registered 3-Gun, Multi-gun and USPSA competitor.

As yet another firearms company leaves “Gun Valley” thanks to high taxes, a poor business climate, and antipathy to firearms, what had been the center of the firearms industry is slowly becoming a shadow of its former self.

“His contributions to the NRA have been transformative.”

“Wayne LaPierre’s compensation reflects his enormous contributions to our members and the freedoms for which they fight,” NRA President Carolyn Meadows said in a statement. “His contributions to the NRA have been transformative.”

The statement from Mrs. Meadows come in response to reports in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post about Wayne LaPierre’s reported compensation in 2018. This comes from the not-yet public Form 990. That form is a financial report that all not-for-profits must file with the Internal Revenue Service annually.

The AP reports:

According to the filings, known as 990s, longtime NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s total compensation rose to more than $2 million. His base salary went from $1.17 million to $1.27 million, he received a bonus of about $455,000, and he got about $366,000 from a deferred compensation plan, according to the documents cited in media reports.

The story from the Wall Street Journal notes that revenues rose 13% while expenses rose 7% for the year. It also noted that Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, was paid $13.8 million in legal fees making it that third-largest NRA vendor. The largest vendor for 2018 was, as may be expected, Ackerman McQueen.

Ackerman was the largest outside vendor, having been paid $32 million, plus $6.3 million for out-of-pocket expenses, including media buys and “reimbursement of travel and business expenses.”

Given past reports regarding LaPierre’s use of AckMac to disguise his actual spending, I wonder how much of the reimbursement was for his personal expenses.

In addition to the reports on LaPierre’s compensation was this note in the Washington Post on the monies spent by NRA-ILA.

Spending by the political arm of the NRA dropped from $47.1 million in 2014 to $32.51 million in 2018, the filings show. That was the midterm election in which Democrats took over the House and gun-control groups outspent the gun lobby for the first time.

That is very concerning. The monies spent – or in my opinion, wasted – on Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, could have been used to support the campaigns of pro-gun candidates.

I will be requesting a copy of the 2018 Form 990 from the NRA Secretary’s Office. I have a feeling that it will contain many more unwelcome revelations.

As to the comment from Mrs. Meadows with which I started this post, I agree with her last sentence. LaPierre has been transformative for the NRA. However, if the last few years are any indication, it is not in the way that Meadows means or that you and I would want.

NOTE: If any of my readers has a copy of the 2018 Form 990 or a link to it, please send to me at jpr9954 AT gmail DOT com.

More On S&W Changes

American Outdoor Brands Corporation held a shareholder update webcast on the plans to split the company. The webcast last for about 30 minutes if you want to listen to it. It can be found here.

I have embedded the slides for the presentation below. It shows which brands will go to Smith & Wesson and which brands will stay with American Outdoor Brands.

AOBC CEO James Debney acknowledged there had been significant changes in the political, financial, and insurance arenas over the past five years. Based on that, they decided it was in their best interest to separate into two distinct companies. It should be noted that the decision to make the split was in the works for many months. The timing of the announcement which the day after the Supreme Court’s denial of cert to Remington was merely coincidental.

AOBC Spin Off Deck Nov 2019 by jpr9954 on Scribd

Domestic Terrorists? Not So Fast

I came across an interesting article yesterday. It was from the Canadian group Organization for World Peace. The article by Abhishek Kumar discussed the labeling of the NRA as “domestic terrorists” by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. His conclusion is that such labeling is out of place. Mind you, Kumar is no fan of the NRA and the Organization for World Peace leans left.

Kumar notes that the labeling of the NRA as a domestic terrorist group has a political, not objective, purpose. By such labeling, San Francisco sought to “subvert the political and social influence of the NRA by undermining its legitimacy.” The goal is to reduce the power of the NRA’s opposition to more gun control.

The politicisation of labelling the NRA a “domestic terrorist organisation” raises concerns regarding the subjectivity of terrorism through which personal interests seem to be unavoidable. Terrorism inherently is perceived through an accompanied political narrative, however, San Fransisco city’s ruling appears to reflect broader political and social tensions. The NRA embraces the second amendment and actively promotes gun ownership, however, this does not fit the criteria of being a ‘domestic terrorist organisation’. Following the FBI’s definition of domestic terrorism, the NRA does not promote or encourage the commission of violent crime as a result of extremist ideologies. It does, however, stand on hard-line policies in regards to gun ownership.

He goes on to add that legislative bodies should refrain from such resolutions.

Following this idea of political interests, legislative bodies should refrain from designating opposing actors as “terrorist organisations” in order to fulfil political goals and delegitimise political opponents. While increased social tensions regarding gun violence cultivate an environment to hold an individual or organisation responsible, it important to not address domestic terror attacks and weapons used to enact those attacks as a single issue.

Kumar concludes that gun ownership is a national security issue. But, he adds, the promotion of gun ownership does not make the NRA or other groups responsible for “extremist ideologies, specifically the increasing right-wing extremism.”

I doubt Kumar and I would see eye to eye on most issues including the need for more gun control. I also question the notion that “right-wing extremism” is really on the rise or is any more prevalent than that coming from the left such as Antifa. However, I do agree with him that labeling political opponents as “domestic terrorists” based on policy differences is dangerous and ought not be done.

S&W To Become Free-Standing Company

American Outdoor Brands Corporation announced today that it planned to separate into two publicly traded companies. One company would be focused on firearms (Smith & Wesson) while the other company would be dedicated to outdoor products (American Outdoor Brands). The split would be finalized in the second half of 2020 according to the press release.

Bloomberg reports that the split is part of “an effort that may help it boost values that have flagged under pressure for gun reforms in the U.S.” “Gun reforms” is the euphemism that Bloomberg is using for gun control.

While something like this would have been in the works for months, I find it interesting that the announcement is being made the day after the Supreme Court denied cert to Remington. Bloomberg does make reference to this in their article as well as moves by retailers such as Dick’s and Walmart to limit what firearms and ammunition they sell.

The official rationale for the split is to let each segment concentrate on their separate markets.

The purpose of the spin-off is to enable the management team of each company to focus on its specific strategies, including (1) structuring its business to take advantage of growth opportunities in its specific markets; (2) tailoring its business operation and financial model to its specific long-term strategies; and, (3) aligning its external financial resources, such as stock, access to markets, credit, and insurance factors, with its particular type of business.

AOBC Chair Barry Monheit said, ” There have been significant changes in the political climate as well as the economic, investing, and insurance markets since we embarked upon what we believe have been our very successful diversification efforts.” It is obvious to me that Monheit is speaking about both national and state efforts to impose more restrictions on firearms ownership and possession.

The move by American Outdoor Brands is similar to that of Vista Outdoor. In that case, Vista Outdoor was the firearms-centric portion of the ATK split. While initially the stronger part of the split company, the pull back in firearm and ammunition sales hit it hard. They finally sold off the Savage Arms portion of the business this summer to concentrate on ammunition and the other outdoor portions of their business.

James Debney, the current CEO, will become the CEO of American Outdoor Brands. Mark Smith will become CEO of Smith & Wesson. He is currently the president of the Manufacturing Services Division of AOBC.

The entire press release can be found here. It goes into much more detail on the lower leadership positions, finances, etc.

Remington Denied Cert (Updated)

The US Supreme Court has denied a writ of certiorari to Remington in their appeal of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling. That ruling allowed the lawsuit by some of the families of the Newtown murders against Remington to go forward. The Connecticut Supreme Court had said Remington would not be protected by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

The denial was in the Order List released this morning.

As I mentioned earlier, the anti-PLCAA forces had brought out the big legal guns with Obama’s former Solicitor General. His argument must have swayed enough justices that they voted against taking the case.

You can read more about the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling in the case here.

This means that the lawsuit against Remington will go to trial in Connecticut Superior Court and that the plaintiffs can go on a fishing expedition through Remington’s records.

To be blunt, this denial of cert sucks. It turns on its head the supremacy of Federal law and makes a mockery of a law passed by Congress to prevent exactly what the plaintiffs are seeking to do.

UPDATE: Dave Hardy, 2A scholar and attorney, gives his take on the SCOTUS denial of cert in the case. He still thinks the plaintiffs have a long way to go before they win.

Big point: the trial court dismissed the suit for “failure to state a claim.” This is the first stage at which a suit can be reviewed. Dismissal is only proper if it is based on the pleading, bare written allegations. The CT Supremes said only that it couldn’t be, at this stage. Plaintiff still have to prove their allegations (after discovery, they can be challenged by a motion for summary judgement, and if that’s denied, fought at trial). The CT Supremes even allowed that plaintiff may have to surmount “herculean” barriers to win.

I’ll defer to Dave given his long experience as an attorney.

Veterans Day 2019

Let me start off by thanking everyone who served in the military regardless of branch. Without your service, in both peacetime and war, we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have today.

I was thinking about my Dad this morning. He served 28 years of active duty in the Army and was medically retired in 1972. He was 53 and was suffering from a wide range of health conditions probably brought on by his military service.

My Dad died at age 62 and 10 days. He was actually born on April 3rd and not April 13th like it says on the grave marker.

On May 5th, I officially outlived him. Unlike him, I never smoked, I never was in a war zone, and I was never exposed to Agent Orange. With the exception of not smoking, I wasn’t exposed to the things he was thanks to his service and that of millions of more men and women just like him.

So on this Veterans Day, remember and thank those family members and friends who did serve. Thank them for the lives we live thanks to their hard work and sacrifices.

A Trip To Cold Mountain

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission runs a number of shooting ranges that are open to the public. The one closest to me is the Wayne E. Smith/Cold Mountain Shooting Range. It is in the shadow of Cold Mountain in the Pisgah National Forest. The range first opened in 2008.

When I first went to the Cold Mountain Shooting Range, it was an unmanned 100-yard range with a gravel parking lot. The only improvements were the berm, the covered shooting line, and concrete walkways to the 25, 50, and 100 yard lines. There was no range safety officer, no toilets, and no pistol only range.

This is what it looked like looking towards the shooting line.

Fast forward to yesterday. There are now dedicated rifle and pistol ranges. The rifle range has a series of steel strike baffles going out to 50 yards. Each of the five rifle stations is universally accessible and have sound suppression baffles.

More importantly, there is a range safety officer hired by the NCWRC there at all times. All first time users must go through a safety briefing. Everyone gets a shooting range pass which can be used at any of the ranges run by the commission. The RSO assigns shooting lanes, maintains control of the range, calls cease fire, etc. In other words, the often unsafe practices of the unmanned range are gone.

There is a range office and a pair of PortaJons.

There are now 10 Wildlife Resources Commission managed ranges, another one is under construction, and two more are proposed.

I think the Wildlife Resources Commission should be applauded for how they have continually upgraded this range as well as the other ones. It takes money and it appears they have spent it wisely. Given most of these ranges are free, that money has come from licenses and Pittman-Robertson monies.

Happy 244th Birthday, US Marine Corps

On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress commissioned Tun Tavern‘s innkeeper Samuel Nicholas to raise two battalions of Marines.


(Philadelphia) Friday, November 10, 1775

Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.

Ordered, That a copy of the above be transmitted to the General.

Since that time, the US Marine Corps has been defending America.

And it isn’t just men doing the defending.

As my fellow Polite Society Podcast co-host Amy Dillon will attest. Among other jobs in the Marines, Amy served as a drill instructor at Parris Island.

Since 1921 the Commandant of the Marine Corps has released a birthday message on November 10th. Commandant David Berger has continued that tradition and his message is here. He says, in part:

The strength of our Corps is our Marines. Our success depends on all Marines embodying the values in which our Corps was founded; it requires leveraging the talents and ingenuity of every Marine to strengthen our Corps. Since 1775, courageous Marines have answered the call to fight for freedom and shaped our reputation as the most feared fighting force the world has seen. Marines from each generation approached every battle with a lethal combination of versatility, perseverance, and adaptability that has allowed us to prevail in any clime and place.

Even though I come from an Army family, I recognize that the Marine Corps, more than any other branch of the US Armed Forces, seems to make the greatest effort to transmit their values, history, and tradition to the next generation of Marines.

So to all my friends and readers who served in the United States Marines Corps, Semper Fi and Happy Birthday!