Ryan Zinke Doesn’t Waste Time

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke was confirmed yesterday. Today he rode in to work on a horse and in one of his first acts got rid of the lead ammo and fishing tackle ban. That ban, Directive No. 219, was the work of former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe who signed it on the last full day of the Obama Administration.

Sec. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, obviously knows to have to get things done.

Safari Club International released this statement on his order:

Safari Club International was one of nearly twenty pro-hunting organizations invited to meet with Secretary Ryan Zinke today, on his first day at work as Secretary of the Interior. We applaud Secretary Zinke for reversing Dan Ashe’s last minute Director’s Order that directed the phase-out of traditional lead-based ammunition and fishing tackle use on all 81 million acres of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters by 2022. Former FWS Director Ashe issued Director’s Order 219 on the last day of the Obama Administration, imposing severe ammunition restrictions without input from the states, the public, and ammunition and tackle manufacturers.

Ashe’s Director’s Order failed to take into account the harm that eliminating lead-based ammunition could cause to wildlife conservation and habitat management programs supported by the sales of firearms and ammunition. It ignored the question of whether adequate alternate ammunition types would be available to substitute for lead-based ammunition. The former Director’s measures would have seriously undermined hunting and the important role it plays in wildlife conservation. In issuing Director’s Order 219, Ashe sought to impose Obama Administration prejudices into FWS management of lands for the next five years and beyond.

Today, Secretary Zinke returned science and reason to federal decision-making about ammunition use. By reversing Director’s Order 219, the Secretary has prevented the harm the former administration’s hasty and thoughtless attack would have caused the hunting community.

The NRA was represented at this event by NRA-ILA Director Chris Coxe who released this statement:

The National Rifle Association applauds Secretary Zinke’s decision to withdraw Director’s Order No. 219, a decree imposed on the final day of the Obama presidency to ban the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on national wildlife refuges. Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, attended the official signing of Secretarial Order 3347.

“This was a reckless, unilateral overreach that would have devastated the sportsmen’s community,” said Cox. “The Obama administration failed to consult with state fish and wildlife agencies or national angling and hunting organizations in issuing this order. This was not a decision based on sound scientific evidence — it was a last second attack on traditional ammunition and our hunting heritage.”

Issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on January 19, 2017, Director’s Order No. 219 bans the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on lands, waters, and facilities managed by the Service. Today’s action demonstrates Secretary Zinke’s commitment to protecting our country’s treasured outdoor legacy.

“The fact is that traditional ammunition does not pose a significant population-level risk for wildlife. On behalf of the five million members of the NRA and tens of millions of American sportsmen, we thank Secretary Zinke for eliminating this arbitrary attack on our hunting heritage,” Cox concluded.

Parting Shot At Shooters And Hunters From The Obama Administration

Yesterday was the last full day of the Obama Administration. It did not pass without a last parting shot by the anti-hunting, anti-shooting so-called environmentalists. US Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe issued a Director’s Order that will ban the use of traditional, lead-based ammunition on Federal lands within five years. Thus it gives groups like the Center for Biological Diversity and Project Gutpile a win that they could not achieve in the courts.

Here in western North Carolina, the few public outdoor ranges that we have are on National Forest land. Checking the prices of copper based .223 ammo versus traditional ammo, the cheapest I can find a box of 20 rounds is for about $17 for copper versus about $6 for Tula or $8,.50 for American Eagle. Forcing shooters to use non-lead ammunition will drive up the cost exponentially and drive people from the shooting sports for economic reasons.


The NSSF is crying foul on this move.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, condemned the decision by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe banning the use of traditional ammunition on Service lands in just five years.

The parting shot, Director’s Order 219 , was issued on the final full day of President Obama’s administration. The last-minute action revives an effort the administration undertook eight years ago to ban the use of traditional ammunition.

“This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this, and instead create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”

The order requires several initiatives to go into effect immediately. Regional Directors are to work with state agencies to ban the use of traditional ammunition. It also ends the use of traditional ammunition on Federal land, including National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges in order to mirror policies in states where traditional ammunition is already restricted. The order “expeditiously” bans traditional ammunition “when available information indicates” that lead is harmful to wildlife, without requirement of a scientific threshold on which to base that action.

It also requires creation of a timeline to restrict traditional ammunition for dove and upland bird hunting.

Notice that last bit. They want to ban traditional ammo for dove hunting as well.

I hope this is one order that is rescinded after noon today when the Trump Administration takes office. I certainly hope so.

UPDATE: The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which represents the fish and wildlife departments throughout the 50 states issued a very strong statement disagreeing with Director’s Order 219. They make the point that in the past any sort of move like this would have been a cooperative effort between state and federal wildlife agencies and that the states were caught by surprise by this order.

January 20, 2017

Statement from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Regarding U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director’s Order 219

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies expresses utter dismay with the release of Director’s Order 219, Use of Non-Toxic Ammo and Fishing Tackle, by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) on January 19, 2017. Association President Nick Wiley states that “this action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the Service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources.” He adds, “the Association views this Order as a breach of trust and deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance. It does a disservice to hunters and anglers, the firearms and angling industries, and the many professionals on staff with the USFWS who desire a trusting and transparent relationship with their state partners.” This is unacceptable federal overreach into the states’ authority to regulate the methods of take for sport fish as well as complete disregard for the states’ concurrent jurisdiction with the Service for the management of migratory birds. Further, the economic impacts of this action, which likely will be felt most by rural Americans, is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars.” The Association looks forward to working with a new Administration in the redress of this poorly timed and executed decision.

A point I didn’t make yesterday with the original post is that this order also impacts anglers as it also includes the phase-out of fishing tackle that includes lead. 


I want to emphasize that Dan Ashe’s Director’s Order 219 seeks to accomplish what court battles and petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency from 2010 through 2013 did not – the elimination of traditional ammo and fishing tackle. I foresee that this order will be reversed when Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) is finally confirmed as the Secretary of the Interior.

About Damn Time!

The White House has finally ordered flags to be flown at half staff to honor the four Marines and one Sailor murdered in Chattanooga, Tennessee last Friday. I think the embarrassment of seeing the flag at half staff at the Capitol while flying at full staff at the White House may have finally prodded them into doing the correct thing.

From FoxNews

From FoxNews:

In a proclamation issued early Tuesday afternoon, Obama said of the Chattanooga victims, “We honor their service. We offer our gratitude to the police officers and first responders who stopped the rampage and saved lives. We draw strength from yet another American community that has come together with an unmistakable message to those who would try and do us harm: We do not give in to fear. You cannot divide us. And you will not change our way of life.”

He ordered flags flown at half-staff at the White House and “all public buildings and grounds,” as well as over military posts and naval stations and vessels — until July 25. Flags will be flown at half-staff at U.S. embassies and other overseas diplomatic offices.

The decision comes after congressional leaders ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol lowered to half-staff earlier in the day — that decision fueled questions over why the White House hadn’t yet done the same.

Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) had issued an order that flags in NC be lowered to half staff on Monday to honor these fallen service members. Staff Sgt. David Wyatt was born in Morganton, NC. Gov. Bill Haslam (R-TN) had previously issued a similar order in Tennessee ordering that flags be flown at half staff until Friday.

It’s Because Of All Those School Shootings By Grandmas With Alzheimers

Alzheimers and dementia are dreadful diseases. They leave an individual as a shell of their former self. It hollows them out and leaves a physical shell with no soul. As I’ve often described it to others, the person you knew and loved has died. In their place is a sweet little lady (or man) who (hopefully) brightens up when she or he sees you. They will sweetly ask you, “How is your mother?”, and act exasperated when you tell them “You are my mother”.

I have seen the ravages of Alzheimers up close and personal. My mother died of it in 2008 after suffering from it for five to six years or more. Now my mother in law Grace whom I dearly love is moving towards the middle stages of the disease.

So why am I talking about Alzheimers and dementia?

Because of this as reported on the front page of the LA Times:

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.


The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.


A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”


There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.


If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”


The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.


But critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled — say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.


Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.

So as the individuals – not all of whom are elderly by the way – suffer from a disease for which there is no known cure, the Obama Administration is looking for ways to rob them of even more of their dignity.

The whole idea is utterly repulsive.

If the criterion for being added to the NICS prohibited list is the inability to manage your own financial affairs, I have seen more people than I can count who would be on that list. I’m talking educated people – professionals. Many with advanced degrees and specialties. People with whom you would entrust your life if you were in the hospital yet who have debt out the ying-yang and are living paycheck to paycheck because they can’t get a handle on their finances.

Heck, if the inability to manage financial affairs was the sole criterion, most Democrats and many Republicans in Congress would be on the prohibited list given how they’ve helped screw up the economy. I’d add in every appointee in the Obama Administration that has helped grow the national debt to over $17 trillion.

So while we have a mental health system in crisis, while we have “lone wolf” Islamofascist terrorists killing unarmed Marines, while we have street gangs in major cities having more control of the city than the police, while we have young men who aren’t being treated for their psychosis engaging in mass murder, while we have all of this, the Obama Administration thinks the way to solve “gun violence” (sic) is to put grandma on the NICS prohibited list.

What the hell are they thinking?

About That Arms Trade Treaty

Controlling your and my rifle is important but brake pads for those grounded Iranian F-14 Tomahawks are not. If a story published in the Philadelphia Inquirer by the lefty journalism group Propublica is correct, then that is the intent of the Obama Administration.

Starting yesterday, a number of items that previously had been controlled by the State Department through its arms control regulations will be transferred to the control of the Commerce Department which has weaker controls on exports of these items.

In the current system, every manufacturer and exporter of military equipment has to register with the State Department and get a license for each planned export. U.S. officials scrutinize each proposed deal to make sure the receiving country isn’t violating human rights and to determine the risk of the shipment winding up with terrorists or another questionable group.

Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more “flexible” controls. Final rules have been issued for six of 19 categories of equipment and more will roll out in the coming months. Some military equipment, such as fighter jets, drones, and other systems and parts, will stay under the State Department’s tighter oversight.

Commerce will do interagency human rights reviews before allowing exports, but only as a matter of policy, whereas in the State Department it is required by law.

While spare parts that will now be regulated by the Commerce Department may not be exported directly to such rogue nations as Iran and Syria, the controls on re-exports of these spare parts will have much less regulation. Spare parts are the key to keeping aging fleets of jet fighters in the air and not the ground.

The story does note that the one area in which the Obama Administration refused to switch to the Commerce Department was, you guessed it, firearms and ammunition.

In one area, the administration does appear to have temporarily backed off – firearms and ammunition. Any decision to loosen exports for firearms could have conflicted with the president’s call for enhanced domestic gun control.

According to a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal last spring, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security both opposed draft versions of revisions to the firearms category. (The Justice Department press office is out of operation due to the government shutdown, and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.) Shifting firearms was also likely to be a lightning rod for arms control groups. As the New York Times’ C.J. Chivers has documented, small arms trafficking has been the scourge of conflicts around the world.

Draft rules for firearms and ammunitions were ready in mid-2012, according to Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun manufacturers. The Commerce Department even sent representatives to an industry export conference to preview manufacturers on the new system they might fall under.

But since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December, no proposed rule has been published.

Keane thinks the connection is irrelevant. “This has nothing to do with domestic gun control legislation. We’re talking about exports,” he said. “Our products have not moved forward, and we’re disappointed by that.”

Read the whole article to see the hypocrisy of the Obama Administration.

In related news to the Arms Trade Treaty, a number of Senators and Congressmen have come out in opposition to the ratification of the ATT. The treaty needs 67 votes in favor for it to be ratified. So far 50 Senators have come out in opposition to it.

From the NRA on the letter from 50 Senators and 181 Congressmen to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry opposing the ATT:

Fairfax, Va. – Today, a bipartisan group of 50 members of the U.S. Senate and 181 members of the U.S. House sent a clear message to President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations that the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty will not be ratified. Earlier this year, the U.N. adopted and President Obama directed Secretary Kerry to sign this treaty, which does not exclude civilian arms from its scope and therefore directly threatens the Second Amendment.

“The Obama administration has repeatedly demonstrated its contempt for our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of our 5 million members, the NRA would like to thank those who signed these letters for their principled stand in defending the Second Amendment freedoms of all law-abiding Americans.”

The Senate effort in opposition to the ATT was led by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Their letter, signed by 50 senators, states clearly that “as members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose.”

A bipartisan group of 181 members of the U.S. House sent a separate letter of opposition. That effort was led by Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).

“The NRA will continue to fight against ratification of the U.N. ATT, which undermines the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” concluded Cox. “With 67 votes in the U.S. Senate being necessary for ratification, these letters send a clear message to President Obama and Secretary Kerry that this attempt to undermine our Right to Keep and Bear Arms will be met with strong opposition.”

Willing To Settle?

On the heels of the IRS being used to target enemies of the Obama Administration and on the heels of the Department of Justice examining the phone records of AP reporters, the gun prohibitionists say they are willing “to settle”  for certain restrictions.

I will admit to having the same visceral reaction to seeing that pusillanimous, pinch-faced Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) speak as I do to seeing Jay Carney make another sneering denial. I want to slap the shit out of them.

Monday, on the floor of the Senate, Reid repeated the lie that the shooter in Newtown had an automatic weapon when in fact he had a Connecticut-legal AR that he took from his mother after killing her. He goes on to say he admires Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) for continuing to push control.

Reid says he, the Sandy Hook families, and the gun prohibitionists will “settle” for prohibitions to prevent “crazy” people (aka people with mental disabilities) and criminals from buying guns.  Has no one ever told them that prohibitions already exist that make it illegal for felons, those convicted of misdemeanors involving domestic violence, and those adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution to buy a firearm? It is right there on the BATFE’s Form 4473!

Gun rights activists, the NRA, and the NSSF have been pushing for improvements to the NICS background check system. We also want to know why the DOJ and BATFE hasn’t gone after the felons who failed a NICS check while trying to buy a firearm. And what about straw buyers? What good does a new law do when they won’t even enforce existing laws that have teeth in them?

Harry Reid didn’t mention universal background checks but you know he is just biding his time. Given this administration’s blatant attempts to use the IRS to intimidate their political opponents, just think what they could do with a database of gun owners. Thanks but no thanks.

Why Doesn’t Obama Support Self-Determination For The Falklands

The Heritage Foundation has released an interesting YouTube cartoon regarding the Falkland Islands and the Obama Administration’s refusal to back self-determination for the islanders. The islanders are holding a referendum today and tomorrow to vote on whether they want to remain a British territory or become part of Argentina.

The United States has traditionally supported self-determination. However, in this case, the United States seems to be backing the Argentinians who want bi-lateral talks with the UK and a UN resolution on “decolonization.” The Falklands and their residents are different from most colonies in that the “native peoples” are still direct descendants of the original settlers.

Colonialism was a reasonable framework to apply to European colonies in
Africa and Asia, but it is utterly inappropriate to apply it to the
Falkland Islands, where virtually the entire population is of British
descent. The Argentine argument that Britain is exercising “19th-century
colonialism” by allowing the people of the Falkland Islands to govern
themselves as they see fit illustrates the extent to which the Argentine
position rests on nothing more than outdated and historically erroneous
abuse.
As Jan Cheek, a member of the Falklands Legislative Assembly, pointed
out in response: “My grandchildren are the eighth generation of my
family to have lived here, which is considerably longer than the
Argentine president’s family have been living in Argentina.”

I certainly could see why the Falkland Islanders would prefer to not be part of Argentina. Even the Argentinians are protesting against the high inflation, corruption, and crime in their country. One just needs to read Fernando Ferfal Aguire aka Ferfal’s book on surviving the economic collapse in Argentina to know that becoming part of Argentina is not exactly a smart proposition. Indeed, Ferfal now lives in Northern Ireland.

I can’t explain the Obama Administration’s tilt towards Argentina other than to think it is a reflection of the anti-West ideology that Ann Dunham fed her son when he was growing up. It certainly makes a mockery of the special relationship that has existed between Great Britain and the United States as well as making a mockery of our traditions.

UPDATE: The vote tally is in and as expected the Falkland Islanders have voted to retain their current status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. There was a 92% voter turnout.

Out of the 1,517 votes cast, only three voted No on the question of retaining their affiliation with the UK. This is an even more lopsided vote than that late darling of the Socialist Left Hugo Chavez could achieve in Venezuela! I wonder what Secretary of State John Kerry will make of that.

Rude Behavior By Press Flacks Towards Sharyl Attkisson Is Standard Tactic In Obama Admin

The rude, crude, and unattractive behavior exhibited by DOJ press flack Tracy Schmaler and White House Associate Communications Director Eric Schultz towards CBS News Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson is part of a conscious effort on the part of the Obama Administration to bully reporters over their stories. This according to a blog post by Keith Koffler of the White House Dossier blog. Koffler has covered the White House since 1997 and is the White House correspondent for Roll Call.

Koffler says the bullying tactics used against reporters are part of the Obama Administration’s standard repetoire of tactics used to get them to spike negative stories.

Such tactics as this were rare in both the Clinton and Bush White Houses.

These Obama flacks are not just reacting with visceral anger to the story. They are specifically trained and encouraged to do this. Most of them are actually quite nice to be around when they’re not in Kill the Story Mode.

As Koffler notes, this tactic amounts to a suppression of free speech by this administration. He has written more extensively about it here.

Moreover, Koffler says it amounts to an admission on the part of the Obama Administration that the reporting on Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunwalker “has legs.” Of course, any reader of this blog or Mike Vanderboegh’s Sipsey Street Irregulars or David Codrea’s National Gun Rights Examiner column knows that. Still he has some good advice for Sheryl:

If Ms. Attkisson understands it’s nothing more than a tool being used against her, it shouldn’t affect her.

Except in that she should understand there’s a good reason they’re doing it: she’s onto something big. The higher the volume of the screaming and the more sickening the language, the closer she’s getting.

As to the immature twits running press operations in this administration, frankly they need their mouths washed out with soap and should be sent to their rooms without dinner. It goes without saying that they shouldn’t be allowed their Blackberries or Xbox 360s either.