Move Over 80% Lowers!

80% lowers have been around for a while now. In some areas like California if you finish one, you have to apply for a serial number, pay a fee, and then engrave the finished lower.

The term 80% lower or frame comes from a BATFE determination that it isn’t a firearm if it is only 80% finished. Thus, there is no NICS check on an 80% lower or frame and it can be mailed to you. Given it was a determination by BATFE, you know it can be changed at any time.

Here is an alternative.

You say it is only a chunk of 6061-T6 aluminum. Not so fast. According to the manufacturer, it is the 0% billet AR-15 lower receiver. It helps to have your own CNC machine or a Bridgeport milling machine. I guess you could go all Khyber Pass and finish it strictly with hand tools. Both methods are beyond my level of skill so I’m stuck with off-the-shelf lowers from Aero-Precision, Anderson, or Spikes.

The manufacturer, 80% Arms, adds that they are restricting sale to the USA only.

While these weapons are not regulated under ITAR yet, we still don’t want these dangerous things to get into the hands of the wrong people, like Kim Jong-un. Therefore, shipping of 0% lowers is strictly limited to USA only. 

Well played, sirs, well played.

NRA Wins, Ollie Loses On Reimbursements

The National Rifles Association will not have to pay former NRA President Oliver North’s legal bills. That was the ruling today by Justice Joel Cohen in the lawsuit brought by the NRA seeking a declaratory judgement. Col. North had sought indemnification for legal expenses incurred as a result subpoenas in the second Ack-Mac case and the Senate Finance Committee’s request for documents.

From Bloomberg.com:

Justice Joel Cohen said Thursday that the gun rights group isn’t required under its internal rules or state bylaws to indemnify North for expenses he’s incurring as a witness in legal matters triggered by the infighting, including a probe of the NRA’s nonprofit status by New York’s attorney general.


The turmoil began when North alleged that Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s longtime leader and public face, used the NRA to enrich himself, an accusation LaPierre denied. North was accused of trying to overthrow him.


Ruling from the bench, Cohen said the case boiled down to the meaning of a 93-word sentence in the NRA’s bylaws and didn’t hinge on allegations between the parties, including the group’s claim that North acted in bad faith when he began looking into alleged wrongdoing at the organization.


“No sentence should be 93 words long, but once you wade through it, the meaning is clear,” Cohen said. “Colonel North’s reading would require something close to a blank check, and that’s just not what the bylaw says.”

As of this writing, the NY State Courts Electronic Filing system does not have the actual ruling posted.

As might be expected, NRA outside counsel William Brewer III called this a “resounding win” for the NRA. What would be interesting to know is how much Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors billed to handle this case. It would also be interesting to know what the legal bills submitted by Col. North amounted to by comparison.

This case was on the surface about whether Col. North was entitled to indemnification or reimbursements of his legal bills incurred. Below the surface you have a very successful effort to get rid of Chris Cox who was a potential successor to Wayne LaPierre. It also consolidated the hold that Brewer has over LaPierre by damaging those who were independent of Brewer or who opposed him. You see more and more of that coming out as time has passed.

Anti-PLCAA Forces Bring Out Big Legal Guns

Remington Arms et al v. Soto et al is at the US Supreme Court on appeal from the Connecticut Supreme Court. Remington is asking for a writ of certiorari and is seeking to overturn the horrendous ruling out of Connecticut. That 4-3 ruling stretched state law to cover acts that should have been precluded from suit by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

This past Friday the respondents (aka the anti-PLCAA side) filed their reply brief. The brief itself is not the story here. Rather it is who the ambulance chasing Joshua Koskoff with his novel legal theories corralled to be the counsel of record and to argue the case before the Supreme Court.

The counsel of record is Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. who served as Obama’s Solicitor General from 2011 until 2016. He is now a partner is the high powered California-DC law firm of Munger, Tolles, and Olson. That firm was co-founded by Warren Buffet’s investment partner Charlie Munger.

Donald Verrilli attorney for Soto

The National Law Journal’s Supreme Court Brief has this to say about his appointment.

The families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting have retained former U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. to represent them in their U.S. Supreme Court fight with gunmaker Remington Arms Co. LLC.

Verrilli, now a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, was counsel of record for the plaintiffs, according to new filings in the U.S. Supreme Court. He filed a brief on their behalf Friday to oppose Remington’s attempt to have the U.S. Supreme Court rule that a federal law shields it from liability in the Sandy Hook case….

“The Sandy Hook victims were slain in a commando-style assault on the school. Their killer’s weapon of choice was a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, manufactured and marketed by petitioners,” the Munger Tolles team said in their opposition brief. “The XM15-E2S was designed for military combat, specifically to inflict maximum lethal harm on the enemy. Petitioners’ marketing emphasized precisely those characteristics of the firearm. In words and images, petitioners touted the XM15-E2S as a combat-tested weapon that would bestow the power to ‘perform under pressure’ and ‘single-handedly’ conquer ‘forces of opposition.'”

If I had to hazard a guess, I would say Verrilli and the rest of the Munger, Tolles team are doing this case pro bono. The firm takes great pride in their pro bono activities.

This case is all about the supremacy of Federal law. Thus, it takes a bit of chutzpah (or hypocrisy) for Verrilli to argue against PLCAA when one of his self-identified landmark wins (Arizona v. US) was all about the supremacy of Federal law.

NYSRPA v City Of New York Lives On (Updated)

The Supreme Court opened its October term today and released a number of orders. Included in this was an order denying New York City’s suggestion of mootness in NYSRPA v. City of New York

18-280
NY STATE RIFLE & PISTOL, ET AL. V. NEW YORK, NY, ET AL.


The Respondents’ Suggestion of Mootness is denied. The question of mootness will be subject to further consideration at
oral argument, and the parties should be prepared to discuss it.

This is good news for those of us wanting the case to be decided.

UPDATE

I asked the Law Department of the City of New York if they had any comment on the denial of the Suggestion of Mootness. Here is what I received from their press secretary.

We look forward to addressing the issues at the December oral argument.

Nick Paolucci
Press Secretary

I guess that is as close to saying “No Comment” as you can get without actually saying it.

Why We Use The Wrong Argument Against Red Flag Laws

Sean Sorrentino opened my eyes regarding red flag laws. In a segment originally posted to the Assorted Calibers Podcast, he said we shouldn’t argue on due process grounds. Instead the argument against red flag laws is that they don’t work.

These laws arrest the gun and leave the dangerous or troubled person on the streets. There are a myriad of ways that they still can harm either themselves or us. You need only look in your kitchen or medicine chest to know that.

You may not agree with Sean on whether or not due process is afforded to the person in question. However, it is hard to argue that these laws are effective.

I met with Sean last week while he and his lovely wife were coming through the area on vacation. I mentioned I really liked that segment. He graciously has uploaded it to YouTube specifically so I could embed it. My thanks to Sean for doing this.

One Way To Shore Up The NRA’s Balance Sheet

Mark Allendorf had a letter to the editor published in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle. The short letter shown below urges anti-gun activists to join the NRA. He is of the opinion that it can be taken over from within.

If gun-control activists want to make a real impact, then I suggest that they join the National Rifle Association en masse and change the organization from within. Nothing else seems to work, so if you can’t beat them, then join the terrorists and convert them into a responsible organization that will support reasonable gun-control laws.


A yearly membership is $45. Surely there are hundreds of thousands of energized gun-control supporters who could invest the time and money needed to do the job, one that will cost a lot less than buying Congress, which the NRA has already done.

Mr. Allendorf has a profound ignorance of the organization’s bylaws.

To be able to vote on directors and bylaw changes you must, as most of my readers know, be either in one of the classes of Life Members or be a five year continuous annual member. You have to wonder how many of these anti-rights activists are willing to stick around every year for five years. I’d wager not that many.

Let’s say 200,000 ignorant anti-rights activists are energized by Mr. Allendorf’s call to action and actually pay the $45 to join as an annual member. Don’t you think both Wayne LaPierre and CFO Craig Spray would welcome that additional $9 million in membership dues? Of course they would!

The sad thing is that the NRA has already been taken over from within.

Through a mixture of bylaw changes, ignorance, inertia, and questionable actions, any pretense of member control was killed long ago. You have a board that answers to hired help. The Old Guard is showing no signs of any willingness to reform.

Reform will eventually come. It will come as a result of the New York Attorney General’s actions. Alternatively, it can come if enough voting members say enough. I know which alternative I prefer.

DICK’S Ed Stack On CBS Sunday Morning

When CBS Sunday Morning was announcing their stories this morning, I must admit I rolled my eyes when I heard they were interviewing Ed Stack of DICK’S. Thanks to Dianna Muller, it was more balanced than I anticipated.

The story had interviews by CBS’s Lee Cowan with Stack, Dianna Muller, and Michael Bloomberg. Dianna provided a great counter-point to Stack and Bloomberg. It should be noted that Stack is pushing his new book, It’s How We Plan the Game, which is being published by another division of the company that owns CBS.

Then there was this quote that must have executives with NSSF thinking someone is finally getting the language right:

The “it” he’s talking about is the AR-15, a lightweight semi-automatic modern sporting rifle similar to the one used in the Sandy Hook massacre. He ordered all of them be removed from every Dick’s Sporting Goods store across the country.

While Cowan did link it to the Newtown murders, he didn’t call it an “assault weapon” or “assault rifle”. That in and of itself is remarkable nowadays.

His interview with Dianna was quite good. As you can see if you watch the video, it included footage of her shooting as well as other women from A Girl and A Gun at an event in Kentucky.

When asked why she has an AR-15, she said this:

Muller has become a high-profile spokesperson for the gun rights movement. She’s testified on Capitol Hill about carrying a firearm, specifically an AR-15.  


That’s the very rifle that Dick’s is no longer selling.


Cowan asked, “Is it a fair question to ask why you need a gun like that?”


“No,” Muller replied.


“Because?


“This rifle, and any other rifle, kills fewer people than hammers and blunt objects every year, according to FBI statistics,” she said, “so it doesn’t make any sense to me that this is going to solve the problem that we are having.”


Her worry is the same that the National Rifle Association has voiced for a long time: if one gun like the AR-15 is demonized, then all guns may soon follow.


“It leads me to believe that there’s going to be another tragedy with a different gun, that they’re going to come after the next gun,” she said.


“This is the slippery slope?” Cowan asked.


“Until it’s all gone.”

The story ends with Stack being somewhat coy about his future plans for firearm sales at DICK’S. He said it was under “strategic review.” As I noted on Friday, his company is selling eight of their Field & Stream stores to Sportsman’s Warehouse. I would not be surprised to see the remainder either sold or shut down.

DICK’S To Sell 8 Field & Stream Stores

The anti-rights policies of Dick’s Sporting Goods are coming home to roost. Sportsman’s Warehouse announced that they were acquiring eight existing Field & Stream stores from Dicks.

MIDVALE, Utah, Sept. 30, 2019  (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings, Inc.  (Nasdaq: SPWH) announced today that it has entered into agreements with DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc. (NYSE: DKS) to acquire 8 Field & Stream locations. The acquired stores will be operated as Sportsman’s Warehouse stores and are located in Pennsylvania (3), New York (2), North Carolina (2) and Michigan (1). The total purchase price of $28 million for inventory and assets will be funded through borrowings under Sportsman’s revolving credit facility. Sportsman’s will sublease the eight locations from DICK’S.  The transaction is expected to close on October 11, 2019 subject to customary closing conditions.

This acquisition is consistent with Sportsman’s strategy to return to a more typical store growth pattern, following a period of investment in omni-channel capabilities, technology, and debt reduction over the last two years.


“We are very pleased to announce this opportunistic expansion of our current 95 store base through the acquisition of these 8 Field & Stream locations. Each of these stores operate in strong markets, with well-established customer bases. We look forward to serving these communities with our continued strong commitment to provide outstanding gear and exceptional service to inspire outdoor memories.” said Jon Barker, Chief Executive Officer.

DICK’S CEO Ed Stack said in August that the company is engaging in a “broader strategic review of our hunt business, including Field & Stream.”

Translated this means that “you damned bitter clingers have decided to shop elsewhere because of my anti-rights, gun control posturing.”

That would be pretty much correct. I haven’t stepped foot in either a DICK’S or a Field & Stream since Stack decided it was good business to virtue signal on gun control.

While DICK’S has made no formal announcement on their website of the sale (unlike Sportsman’s Warehouse), Jim Shepherd of the Outdoor Wires has more on the sale.

The industry was outraged when Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) announced it would remove guns from its nationwide chain. Now, it appears the company is quietly abandoning their Field & Stream stores as well.


Yesterday, it was reported that Dick’s was selling eight of its 35 Field & Stream branded stores to Sportsman’s Warehouse. Seems Utah-based Sportsman’s Warehouse feels the locations (Camp Hill and Altoona, PA, Horseheads and Rochester, NY, Greensboro and Asheville, NC and Troy, Michigan) are “opportunistic expansion” openings and worth the reported $28-million purchase price.


In fact, Sportsman’s Warehouse CEO Jon Baker described the eight locations as “strong markets with well-established customer bases.” All good for a company that has solidly identified with hunters and the shooting markets.


Dick’s has yet to clearly state what has become, essentially, a foregone conclusion- they plan to remove hunting gear from all their Dick’s locations (125 more this year) and dispose of the remaining 27 Field & Stream brand stores as quickly as is practicable.

I, for one, am pleased to be getting a Sportsman’s Warehouse in Asheville. The old Field & Stream store is in a good location, has an exterior that screams outdoors, and is next to the Asheville Outlet Mall. This is just the type of outdoors store that we have been waiting for in western North Carolina.

The Greensboro location is also ideal for Sportsman’s Warehouse. While the Piedmont Triad does have a couple of Gander Outdoors stores and an Academy Sports, there is nothing like a Sportman’s Warehouse, Cabela’s, or Bass Pro Shops in the area. The closest would be either the Raleigh area or the Charlotte area.

Legionnaire’s Disease Outbreak Causes Gun Show Cancellation (Updated)

The Asheville Gun and Knife Show should have been this coming Saturday and Sunday at the WNC Ag Center. It was cancelled for a most unusual reason: the fear of Legionnaire’s Disease.

A gun show scheduled to take place at the WNC Ag Center this weekend has been canceled amid concerns about Legionnaires’ disease, show organizers say.

Asheville Gun and Knife Show organizer Mike Kent said WNC Ag Center Manager Matt Buchanan contacted him on Wednesday afternoon to notify him of the cancellation.


Kent said Buchanan told him canceling the event was the best thing to do, pending final testing for legionellosis.

The Mountain State Fair closed its 2019 run in mid-September. It is held at the WNC Ag Center just like the gun show. Since then, over 100 cases of Legionnaire’s Disease has been traced to fair visitors. The age range of those infected goes from 24 years old to 90. There has been one death attributed to it and 65% of those infected have been hospitalized.

The CDC says Legionella is a freshwater bacteria that is spread as contaminated water droplets are aerosolized and then inhaled. Thus, anything from a water fountain to an air conditioning system could spread the bacteria.

I can’t say that I’m upset by this. I planned to man the Grass Roots North Carolina booth on Saturday and Sunday. The thought that the exposition building might be contaminated had crossed my mind.

UPDATE:

State health officials have found Legionnella bacteria in the Davis Event Center of the WNC Ag Center. This was to have been the location of the Asheville Gun and Knife Show.

From WLOS-TV:

In a conference call with the media, state health officials said 124 cases have been outlined three conclusions. People who were diagnosed were more likely to have been in the Davis Event Center, more likely to have walked by hot tub displays at the building and likely to have attended the latter half of the Mountain State Fair.

Officials also stated that a positive sample of Legionella bacteria was found in a women’s restroom at the Davis Center. The sample was taken before last week’s Asheville Quilt Show, but was not discovered to be positive until after the show, which drew thousands of people. Experts did not believe that sample posed a threat to the public.