Monday, April 25, 2005

Sporadic posting

Posting over the next few weeks will be sporadic at best. Between work and the Arizona SCTP state championship series (skeet April 30, sporting clays May 14-15, trap May 21-22) I'm going to be pretty busy. I just sat down with my calendar and figured out that my next "day off" - a day with nothing planned - will be June 11th......and I may be dragged to a wedding that afternoon. Ugh.

Anyway, I promise to post as often as possible. Expect to see the Buckeye team standings posted within a few days of each competition.


Alan Korwin

The "almost" high point of the Crossroads gun show came when I happened to end up in line at a lemonade stand next to Alan Korwin. He is as fine a gentleman in person as he is in print and quite an asset to the shooting community. A big +1 for Alan, his website, and his books.

If meeting Mr. Korwin wasn't the high point of the show, then what was? That's easy: watching a huge smile appear on a young man's face when his father presented him with his first "real" rifle, a 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser. I think Mr. Korwin would understand.



This past Saturday I attended the Crossroads of the West gunshow in Phoenix. As always, watching the people was almost as much fun as looking at the items for sale. All the usual folks were there: cowboys, wanna-be cowboys, gang bangers, wanna-be gang bangers, skin heads, rednecks, trophy wives, military history fanatics, some people who actually are interested in shooting, and the TACTICAL people. The TACTICAL people are usually the most fun to watch. They dress up in their KMart camo's (usually blue and white or lately reddish-rust and white), hang every firearm and knife that they own on themselves with cheap nylon web gear, and parade around the show telling everyone who will listen that all the serious 'operators' dress just like they do.

I saw one very TACTICAL person, wearing red and white camo pants with a matching jacket that had no less then 5 handguns strapped all over his body, in cheap nylon web gear, of course. No spare magazines were anywhere to be seen, but with that many guns he may have thought that he would never have to reload. He was engaged in an earnest conversation with a seller about what kind of rifles are carried by "the special forces." I left when he started explaining that all special forces people have Class 3 licenses so that they can carry their automatic weapons wherever they go.

I don't really have anything against cheap nylon web gear (I even own some), but please, if you're going to wear it, at least shorten the adjusting straps after you set up the gear. That way you don't look like so much like an octopus.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Anti gun safety editorial

I mentioned a few days ago that the Arizona Republic seems to have completely missed the passing of SB1271. I was incorrect. I made the mistake of searching for the actual bill number, thinking that the official newspaper of the State of Arizona might list the activities of the legislature correctly. After reading the Fox News story about SB1271, I did some further research and found this gem, buried in the April 9, 2005, Southeast Valley Opinions section:

Oh, shoot, legislators are at it again

This fine example of the literary art was written by Steve Abaroa, a journalism teacher at Highland High School in Gilbert, Arizona.

Let us fisk....

The more I see our illustrious legislators in action the more I am proud to state to the world I DID NOT VOTE FOR ANY OF THEM!
An excellent introductory sentence, using satire to display contempt for the duly elected representatives of the people of the State of Arizona. Do you suppose the author is a democrat?

Currently these self proclaimed gurus of education are trying to add a new "R" to the standard three. They now want students to learn reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic, and rifling.

Hmmm....I wasn't aware that advanced gunsmithing was going to be taught in our government schools. Rifling, the act of cutting lands and grooves into a barrel, may not be exactly what he had in mind. Perhaps he meant to say Riflery, the skill and practice of shooting a rifle. Of course, he could have meant "Rifling" as in "to search with the intent to steal," but given the context of the complete article I doubt that is the case. I certainly hope that he teaches his students to do a better job of using the correct terminology than he demonstrates. A coherent thesis statement might be helpful also. The actual subject of this rant is not revealed until the end of the fourth paragraph, so the casual reader who simply skims the beginning of the article may actually think that students are being taught to "search with the intent to steal." This might actually be the case. After all, this is the school where kids steal, torture, and kill pets for fun and excitement before football games. We'll assume for the moment that the reader is psychic and knows the authors intent before actually reading it.

Is there going to be an AIMS test for this?

We still don't know the actual subject of the article, but now we are expected to answer questions about it. Typical government school behavior: give the test before teaching the class. For the rest of this fisk, we'll assume that the reader has a crystal ball and knows that the op/ed piece is about SB1271. I don't think that the AIMS tests have a marksmanship or gun safety section, but if Mr. Abaroa is truly concerned about standardized testing for a marksmanship program, he will be happy to know that there is a plethora of standard tests for measuring both speed and accuracy with a firearm. I can't wait to see a bunch of high school seniors practicing the 'El Presidente' drill.

Is this going to help students balance their checkbooks?

No, silly, that's what math class is for. If you stuck your head out of your own classroom once in a while, you might notice that there are other teachers in the building besides yourself and that the subjects they teach are different from yours. I don't expect the choir teacher to help my daughter with her algebra homework, but apparently Mr. Abaroa expects the firearm safety instructors to teach every class in the school. Now that I think about it, that may not be a bad idea.

How about this newest curriculum to solve our bully challenges?

I really don't understand why Mr. Abaroa insists on asking questions that are completely unrelated to the subject. Home Economics won't help solve the bully problem. Neither will algebra, band, chemistry, or journalism. Pull your head out and stay on topic, dude.

Will this newest subject help in the small-motor, eye-hand coordination, thus helping in the long run with our students' penmanship?

This is a definite possibility. I always insist on clear handwriting on score sheets, as do all of the other coaches I know. Thank you for pointing out a hidden benefit of this program.

Are we finally going to be No. 1 in the education world by becoming No. 1 in the urban-survival world? that would be a fun class to teach: Urban Survival 101. Think how long the waiting list would be to sign up. Perhaps we should get a Senator to propose a bill to include this in the course roster. Again, thank you for the suggestion.

And the funding for such a topic will come from where?

This is actually a relevent question. SB1271 did not include a funding provision, so I'm assuming that it will be funded the same way the Wickenburg Rifle Team is funded: donations. Wouldn't if frost Mr. Abaroa if the school shooting teams received more donations than the school journalism teams? Do they even have journalism teams? After Rathergate, does anyone actually want to make a living as a journalist anymore? Or is it just a job to get you by until something better comes along, such as waiting tables at Denny's?

Whenever it rains in Gilbert, our students keep their umbrellas open inside our building because it leaks so badly, but there is never enough money to fix the dripping waterfalls.

I may be going out on a limb here, but if y'all are to stupid and/or lazy to put some wet-patch on your roof you deserve to be wet.....both days that it rains.

So why is there enough money to force students to take a gun-safety class?

Force? Who said anything about 'forcing' students to take the class? Did you actually read the bill before you started ranting about it?

As a journalism teacher, I would hope that Mr. Abaroa knows the difference between may versus shall and elective versus compulsory, but then again perhaps he doesn't. Your homework for today is to look up the definitions of these words and use them in a sentence. A coherent sentence, if you please.

We have teachers in classrooms filled with students wall-to-wall.
Per, the school Mr. Abaroa teaches at has a student to teacher ratio of 17.3 to 1. The state average is 19.8 to 1. Total enrollment is 2391, with an attendence rate of 97%. I wasn't able to find the square footage of the school, so the "wall to wall" statement will have to be taken at face value. That's ok with me though....I'm quite happy teaching under a tree. Or at the range.

We have buildings that are mold-infested.
I searched online for any mentions of mold infestations in Gilbert schools without any success. I did find one article about mold in a school in Tempe, but I'm sure this is not the case Mr. Abaroa is referring to. If this were the case he was referring to, journalistic integrity would compel Mr. Abaroa to mention that a) this school is not in his area, b) this happened in 2002, c) the problem has been fixed, and d) no one was injured or became sick as a result of the mold. I'm sure he would mention it. Really.

We have experienced teachers leaving due to their low wages. We have a continuous funding problem.Yet, gun safety could be another unfunded mandate.

I haven't done a full financial analysis of the Gilbert government school system, so I can't offer an opinion on the low wages or a funding problem. I can suggest, however, that if the parents actually liked the school they would be more inclined to make use of the Arizona school donation tax credit. I thought that it might be possible that as a teacher Mr. Abaroa might not be privy to the full financial status of the district, so I sent an email to the district superintendent, Brad Barrett. In his reply, Mr. Barrett stated "Our community supports our district in every way . So we are not worried that they will vote to fund our bonding authority in November." (Don't gripe at me about the sentence structure....that was cut directly from the email - Ed) Apparently funding is not nearly as big an issue as Mr. Abaroa would like his readers to think it is. Chicken Little, anyone?

Shouldn't parents pay for this class and shouldn't this class be offered outside of school?

Hello? Parents do pay for it. It's called taxation. Every property owner in the district pays for it. Why shouldn't the class be offered at the school? Isn't that what schools are for? The Highland High School website offers this as part of the school Mission Statement: Highland High School students will experience an innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum to enable lifelong learning. Is this program not innovative? I believe that it is the first of it's kind in the nation.

Why would these legislators force the schools to do something that parents should be doing?
While I agree that parents should be teaching their children about gun safety, the fact is that not as many parents in urban areas own guns as did in the past. This is an opportunity for the schools to fill in or expand upon an area that parents might not be comfortable with or able to teach. Just like sex and drugs. Parents should be teaching their children about that also, but I doubt that Mr. Abaroa would support cutting the sex and drug education programs from the curriculum. After all, those programs are socially responsible. Or should that be socialistically responsible? In this section, Mr. Abaroa also uses the term force again, as if the legislature is holding a gun to his head (figuratively speaking, of course) and forcing him to teach the course. Is it to much to ask that a journalism teacher actually read the bill that is the subject of his screed? The bill very plainly says elective, dumbass. Perhaps Mr. Abaroa is a graduate of the fake but accurate school of journalism.

Once again our legislators want teachers to take over the role of a parent. We seem to now have to monitor what students eat.
Why is this a problem now? Could it be because this particular course isn't part of the "socially responsible" liberal agenda? Forcing Christian kids to pray in the name of Allah doesn't infringe on the role of the parents, but offering an elective course in marksmanship does?

We are required to ensure students' safety to and from their homes' doorsteps.
Perhaps if the zero tolerance zealots would allow kids to defend themselves without fear of prosecution and/or persecution by the schools that wouldn't be necessary. Don't bitch about getting what you ask for.

If they really want us to take over the parenting of our students, fine. But first, here are a few rules that need to be followed.
• Only one hour of TV a night, and bedtime is at 7 p.m. for elementary, 8 p.m. for junior high, and 9 p.m. for high schoolers.
• Students will do homework before dinner, sports, dates and TV.
• Students will wear clothes! No more short dresses, low-cut blouses, low-cut pants, and all boys' pants will be worn at the hips not below the rear ends.
• Students will do their own work and not copy from others, or from the Internet.
• Students will show respect - respect for anything and everything.
• Students will think of others instead of only themselves.

Which way do you want it, bud? Do you want to be in charge or don't you? Make up your mind.

Worrying about bedtime? If your class is so boring that the kids fall asleep, perhaps you should make it more interesting.

Problems with kids not doing homework? Here's a thought: give them a lower grade! Actually hold them responsible for their actions. You might be surprised how many kids actually do understand concepts like responsibility. You might also be surprised to find out how many of them have your number and know that a sob story about their home life will get them out of having to turn anything in. Suck it up. You're their teacher...not their buddy.

Clothing? If you're that worried about what the little girls are wearing, perhaps you shouldn't be around kids. Again, if the classes are so boring that clothing can distract the students then the teacher is at fault, not the clothes.

Plagiarism problems? How about coming up with some original assignments? Things that the kids can't plagiarize. Put some effort into it.

Respect? You have to earn that one. If you don't deserve it, you won't get it. If you're not getting it, perhaps you should change the way you present yourself.

Think of others instead of themselves? Hello? Weren't you ever a teenager? Get real.

I find it fascinating that I don't have any of these problems with my students......and I teach under a tree! Perhaps it's the subject matter, perhaps it's the teacher.

Unfortunately, the legislators and parents will never let schools put these rules into effect, but they will still force us to take over more the role of parents with a silly little class like gun safety.

A silly little class? Going back to the Highland High School Mission Statement, Highland High School students, in a positive/accepting environment, will master the skills and knowledge which enable them to be responsible members of society. I will happily debate anyone who wants to take the position that a knowledge of gun safety is not part of being a responsible member of society. Anyone. Anytime. Anywhere. With all of his complaining listed above, Mr. Abaroa certainly does not seem to be positive and accepting to the idea of letting the students choose to take an interesting, fun course that might actually save their life. Apparently the lefties are only positive and accepting towards ideas that fit their agenda.

The same Mission Statement contains this phrase: Highland High School students, parents, and educators will share responsibility for quality education and will be committed to all students' success. I can only assume that Mr. Abaroa would like to have that amended to read all students that share the left wing mamby pamby political views of their sociocrat teachers.

The article ends with the usual biographical disclaimer:

Steve Abaroa of Gilbert teaches journalism at Highland High School. He is a husband, a father of four sons, an author and a drama director. The views expressed are those of the author.
Drama director? Damn! If I had seen that first, I wouldn't have spent all this time on this goofy article. Hollywood screws everything up. Everybody knows that.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Gun 101

Fox News has picked up the story of SB1271, apparently scooping our local "newspaper of record." John Gibson interviewed Alan Korwin, author of The Arizona Gun Owners Guide on April 18th. Read the transcript here.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

SB1271 signed

The wailing sound you hear from the south west is the Brady Bunch fretting over the latest bill to be signed into law by Governor Janet Napolitano: Senate Bill 1271, which is now Title 15, chapter 7, article 1, section 15-714.01 of the Arizona Revised Statutes :

15-714.01. Arizona gun safety program course
















You may have noticed that this does not mention funding for this program at all, but I'm not really that worried about it. The entire Arizona Game and Fish Department is funded through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, fees and fines collected from hunters and fishermen, and grants from community programs. If there is a market for this program, the money will be found somewhere.

My prediction is that the program will catch on in small, rural districts like Wickenburg (home of the Wickenburg High School rifle team) or Buckeye, home of my favorite shotgun team, long before it becomes available in the "big" cities of Phoenix and Tucson. These smaller districts already have students who are interested in taking the course and teachers who have been hoping for the chance to teach it. I certainly hope that I'm wrong, though. I'll be doing my best to get it started at the local high school in time for my kids to take the class.

Who knows.....I may end up teaching it.


Letter to the editor

This appeared in the Sunday edition of the Arizona Republic, our local newspaper. I'm rather surprised they actually printed it.....

Let's be careful out there; I know I am

This is dedicated to those who never knew.To the uncivil civil servant and to the driver who cut me off in traffic: You never knew. To the co-worker who disagreed with me, to the slothful restaurant waiter: None of you ever knew.

To the doctor who kept me waiting, to his assistant who did not care and to the pharmacist who did not have time to answer my question: Each of you never knew.

You never knew I am one of the many Arizonans who possess a Concealed Carry Weapon Permit (CCWP) and carry a firearm for self-defense. Contrary to the liberal mindset, I did not fly off the handle in a moment of rage when encountering unpleasant experiences that are part of everyday life. I did not shoot you, brandish my weapon or lose my temper.

Those who obtain a CCWP and carry a firearm recognize their responsibility and do not have a "wild-West" mentality, as some would suggest.

Finally, to the thug who plans on harming me and my family: You don't know.

- Clayton W. Rhoades, Scottsdale

Thank you, Mr. Rhoades, for an excellent letter.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Associated Press on the "Gun Debate"

State Legislators Weigh in on Gun Debate

An interesting article in Yahoo! news.......who would ever have thought that the AP would include THIS sentence in one of their articles?

........if the victims had weapons they might not be victims.

Wow. Go read the entire article. The Brady Bunch gets a short section, but overall the article is surprisingly pro-gun.


Minuteman Blog

Steven Gregory of KFYI talk radio is "embedded" with the volunteer border watchers ("undocumented border patrol agents") of the Minuteman Project. I like Steven quite a bit - he actually tells the stories as he sees them, without putting a spin on anything. It's quite funny to listen to the obvious disappointment of the talking heads who interview Steven expecting to have him back up their "vigilante militia" point of view.

Anyway....Steven has started a blog on the KFYI website. Here's a quick quote:

.....It's funny that most everyone starts each interview with phrases like, "So're embedded with a group of vigilantes along the border?" Or, "Hello Steve, tell us what it's like being with the Minutemen Militia" It's no wonder people never trust the media....I assure you, there's no evidence (at least from what I can tell) that there's a militia here...

It's worth the time to read Steven's reports. Go check it out........


SCTP fun shoot - April 9, 2005

Yesterday was the second fun shoot of the 2005 season for the Arizona Scholastic Clay Target Program, held at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center north of Phoenix. Conditions were rather less than ideal (very windy), but the kids had a good time and shot quite well considering how difficult the targets were. Eighty two kids came out to compete, including sixteen from the Buckeye Youth Shotgun Team.

Front row (left to right) - Matthew, Katy, Hayden, Nathan, Macy, Jessica, Ethan
Center row (left to right) - Kathy, Kasey, Stephanie, Josh
Back row (left to right) - Koal, Tom, Trevor
Not pictured - Megan, Lewis

How did we do? At the February fun shoot, 10 kids took home 22 trophies. This time 16 kids collected 45 trophies. Here are the official standings:

Novice Rookie Trap
- Hayden 1st place

Novice Rookie Skeet
- Hayden 3rd place

Novice Rookie 5 stand
- Hayden 1st place

Intermediate Rookie Trap
- Nathan 2nd place

Intermediate Rookie Skeet
- Nathan 3rd place

Intermediate Rookie 5 stand
- Nathan 2nd place

Novice Junior Trap
- Kathy 5th place
- Katy 9th place
- Macy 10th place
- Megan 11th place

Novice Junior Skeet
- Kathy 2nd place
- Katy 7th place
- Megan 8th place

Novice Junior 5 stand
- Kathy 4th place
- Katy 8th place

Intermediate Junior Trap
- Ethan 10th place
- Koal 17th place
- Matthew 22nd place
- Jessica 23rd place

Intermediate Junior Skeet
- Ethan 13th place
- Jessica 14th place
- Koal 15th place
- Matthew 25th place

Intermediate Junior 5 stand
- Ethan 1st place
- Koal 22nd place
- Jessica 23rd place
- Matthew 25th place

Advanced Junior Trap, Skeet, 5 stand
- no Buckeye entries

Novice Senior Trap
- Stephanie 2nd place

Novice Senior Skeet
- Stephanie 2nd place

Novice Senior 5 stand
- Stephanie 2nd place

Intermediate Senior Trap
- Tommy 3rd place (4 way tie for 1st place - Tommy came out #3 in the tie breaker)
- Trevor 6th place
- Josh 8th place
- Lewis 11th place
- Kasey 15th place

Intermediate Senior Skeet
- Tommy 3rd place
- Lewis 7th place
- Josh 8th place
- Trevor 11th place
- Kasey 13th place

Intermediate Senior 5 stand
- Lewis 2nd place (tied for 1st place - #2 in tie breaker)
- Trevor 10th place
- Tommy 11th place
- Josh 13th place
- Kasey 14th place

Advanced Senior Trap, Skeet, 5 stand
- no Buckeye entries

High Over All - Buckeye Team (the watermelon winner)
- Ethan

Good job everyone!!!


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Weekly bias check

Jeff at Alphecca has this weeks Weekly Check on the Bias up, including a spot about my favorite piece of legislation: SB1271

I understand that Sen. Chuck Schumer in NY and Sen. Diane Feinstein in CA are pushing to make this a national educational initiative. Oops! Sorry, April Fools Day was last week...

Granted that TV News websites tend to be mercifully brief, I noticed that they didn't even try to find a dissenting quote from any anti-gunners. A bill such as this is important because while it IS happening in Arizona, a state that does tend to recognize our founding heritages, it also signals a throw-back to the middle of the last century when such courses in gun safety and ownership were rather the norm in most schools across the country.

While it is to be desired that gun-owning parents would take the lead in safe firearm handling instruction for their children, reinforcing that in the schools is a wise and prudent course (no pun intended). In addition, teaching the history of guns as helping to "preserve peace and freedom" is an admirable clause that might help counter-act the image of being simply a tool of mayhem propogated by Hollywood and TV.

Since the course is "elective" it will be interesting to see how many Board-of-Eds actually implement it.

There is much more good stuff from Jeff.....go read. Now.


SB1271 passes

Bill OK'd to allow firearms course

PHOENIX - The Legislature has voted to allow public schools to offer an elective gun safety course that would have to include instruction on how firearms help protect peace and freedom.

The House approved the bill (SB1271), 40-15, on Monday. The Senate approved it unanimously on Feb. 17 and it now goes to Gov. Janet Napolitano.

This is quite an opportunity....if Gov. Napolitano will sign it. Not only will SB1271 allow the teaching of firearms safety in Arizona public schools (go here and here for my previous posts about this, as well as here and here for other relevant posts), it will open up the world of sport shooting to kids who would not normally have the opportunity.

If you really want to make a difference in the future of the 2nd Amendment, this is your chance. Write to the governor, help get the bill signed into law, and then help teach the classes. It's been said many times that "the children are the future." It was never any more true than it is here. Without a new generation of shooters (and voters!), the 2nd Amendment will be shredded by the Brady Bunch and their ilk.

Now is the time to make a difference. My letter to Governor Napolitano is attached below. Where is yours?

April 5, 2005

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Dear Governor Napolitano,

I am writing to you today as both a constituent and as a parent to express my support for a piece of legislation that will soon cross your desk: SB1271 - Schools; Arizona gun safety program.

This bill will allow Arizona’s schools to offer an elective course in firearms safety, history, and marksmanship. While the history and marksmanship portions of the course will be fun and educational, I feel the true benefit of this class will be the portion dedicated to safety. This is an opportunity for our public schools to prevent tragedy through education. The overused phrase “If just one child can be saved……” truly applies in this case.

To be fair, I should also mention that I am a certified youth firearms instructor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and may possibly be one of the people who teach this course. If you would like to see an example of a youth marksmanship program that is already in place, I invite you to attend one of my classes or any of the Scholastic Clay Target Program competitions that are held throughout the state.

Please sign SB1271 and allow us to teach firearms safety in our schools.


Len Sullivan
Lead Instructor, Buckeye Sportsman Club youth clay target program
return address omitted from web posting

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

New blog on the block

When you have time, check out this new blog: A COMMON TERRY'S COMMENTARY

A witty name and some interesting thoughts. I liked it and wanted to give it a bump.........


Monday, April 04, 2005

Break in

As promised, Nathan and I worked on breaking in the barrel on the new .308 Savage last Saturday. There are many different methods of breaking in a new barrel....some people say to "just shoot it" while others use a time consuming procedure that seemingly lasts forever. I know one person who spent 3 months breaking in a barrel. He would go to the range and fire 5 or 6 shots in 8 hours. The rest of the time was spent cleaning.

I don't have that much patience.

The method I've been using for a few years is to fire one shot, then run 3 wet patches down the bore, followed by 2 dry patches. Repeat 10 times. After the first 10 shots I switch to "cleaning" (3 wet, 2 dry patches) after every 10 shots for the next 50 rounds or so.

I don't have the tools to bore sight a new scope, so simply sighted through the bore at a 200 yard target and drifted the crosshairs to match what I saw through the barrel. The first 10 "shoot one, clean, repeat" shots were fired at a 200 yard steel silhouette, with all but the first 3 sighting shots striking the target with a very satisfying clang. The next 10 shots were fired at a paper target, displayed below:

It was fascinating to watch the group get smaller as the barrel got hotter and dirtier. The entire 10 shot 200 yard group measured out to be 2 1/2" by 3". Not anything to write home about, but I was using 25 year old South African military surplus 147 grain ball ammo.

My next task is to cook up some test loads and actually start dialing it in for accuracy. A trip to the powder cabinet revealed supplies of IMR 4064, H4895, H335, Varget, and IMR3031. The bullet shelf has Sierra 150 grain softpoints, Sierra 180 grain softpoints, Sierra 168 grain Match HP's, Hornady 165 grain softpoints, Hornady 168 grain A-max's, Nosler 125 grain Ballistic Tips, and Nosler 150 grain Ballistic Tips. The only large rifle primers I have on hand are Federal 210M.

That should keep me busy for a while.


Friday, April 01, 2005

Attack of the Clones

The UPS man brought me some presents today, so I had to force myself to spend some time at the workbench. I mentioned my new Savage 10FP a few days ago. Here it is with its' little brother after installation of the scope and the new stock.

The .223 is the one with the sling. I have a sling for the .308, but I forgot to buy any swivels. Oops.

I also got to use a new tool tonight: a scope ring lapping and alignment kit. I've never used one of these before....always just slapped the scope into the rings and ran with it. This thing is awesome! Not only does it make installing dovetail rings a snap, it lets you lap the rings so that they are in perfect alignment. Less than 5 minutes of slow, careful lapping took down the minor high spots in the rings. The grip of the lapped rings on the scope is simply amazing. This is a good enough tool that I'm considering lapping the rings on all of my other rifles. Of course that means that I would have to sight in 9 rifles again........hmmmm. I'll have to ponder that.

#1 son and I will be breaking in the barrel tomorrow after the shotgun class is finished. I'll post an update after we see how it does.......


New 2A blog

Kevin has posted about a new 2nd Amendment blog: Of Arms and the Law. I took a look, liked it, and wanted to give it another bump. Go check it out........


Me and my AK-47, part II

Me & my AK-47

This lovely piece of useless journalism from Josie Roberts of the Pittsburgh Tribune chronicles her quest to do something that is perfectly legal, yet present it in such a fashion that the readers will be convinced that it should NOT be legal.

Ms. Roberts begins her "story" with this introduction:

A 20-something female walks into a gun shop, wearing a pink sweater and pearls, and asks to buy an AK-47. Half-dozen men, several in flannel, look up from the rows of gun displays.

They had holsters. She had heels.

An interesting "us vs. them" introduction. Yes, Virginia, people who like guns wear flannel shirts. Sometimes they even wear shoes. They also wear 3 piece suits. I'm sure that if a broad enough search was performed, a gun shop could be located where the men wear pearls and sweaters and the women wear flannel. Perhaps this is the gun banners next enforcement tool: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Fashion Enforcement Team.

I knew I looked out of place at a gun store, but I wanted to see how difficult it would be to buy an assault weapon in Pittsburgh, just days after Keith “Spud” Watts Jr. was murdered with an AK-47 knock-off outside Carrick High School.

How difficult it would be to buy a rifle after a murder? Why should it be difficult? Are car sales suspended after a drunk driver hits a kid on a bicycle? Are sales of pool supplies suspended after a toddler drowns in an unfenced pool? To her credit, she did mention "an AK-47 knock off" instead of falling into the usual MSM trap of calling every rifle that superficially resembles Mikhail Kalashnikov's creation an AK-47. I'll have more info about "Spud" later.

I went alone to Firearms Unlimited in Bridgeville two days after the shooting.

What a brave girl. She went alone. Did she really think she would need backup? Is flannel really that dangerous? Nevermind....I know women who can't go to the bathroom alone, much less to a gun store.

I parked in back of the wooden-paneled shop, built into the side of a hill off Route 50 and rang the doorbell to gain entrance. Inside, it was packed. A hundred rifles lined the walls where glass cases of handguns didn’t.

Manager Randy Canella looked up from a sale and asked if I needed any help. “I’m looking for a long gun,” I said. “I want an AK-47.”

Canella took a drag of his cigarette.

I'm not sure how the cigarette plays into the story, except to possibly paint the manager as one of "those people" who go around giving everyone else cancer because they do not value human life.

“I have some in back,” he said. “I’ll be with you in a minute.” He brought out three models and set them on the counter. I stood with crossed arms while he explained the guns’ features, rotating them on their sides and pointing out the magazine. I tried not to flinch.

Crossed arms? An excellent indicator of a person who is not willing to accept anything that is told to them. Tried not to flinch? Is she afraid that the rifle would jump off the counter and begin "spray firing?" Fear of inanimate objects is considered to be a "phobia", a psychological disorder - specifically an anxiety disorder. More information about phobias in general can be found here. Francis Porretto has an excellent discussion of the fear of inanimate objects as it applies to firearms here.

Canella finally asked, “Why do you want this gun?”

I answered, “Why not?”

A good question from the manager, and a perfectly acceptable answer on her part. Somehow I don't think that she truly thinks it's an acceptable answer.

and I asked how to load the bullets.

Bullets? Is she going to reload for her new rifle? Perhaps she means "ammunition." Forgive her.....she doesn't even know that flannel is the only acceptable fabric to wear in a gun store.

The Romanian Century Arms, WASR-10, 7.62-x-39 mm rifle was the cheapest at $389.95, or $422.25 after tax. It was a clone, like most AK-47s in America. The first President Bush made it illegal to import the Russian and Chinese military models.

Points to her for an accurate description of the rifle and the import ban.

The knock-offs look like AK-47s, fire like AK-47s and are very accurate at short distances. I said I’d take it.

Well.....accurate up to a point. A little bit of fact checking would have helped her here. The "knock offs" as she calls them do not fire like a true AK-47. True AK's are capable of fully automatic fire, meaning that when the trigger is pressed and held back the firearm will continue to fire until either the trigger is released, it runs out of ammunition, or it jams. The "knock offs" that are available for sale in the U.S. are semi-automatic, meaning that it will only fire one shot each time the trigger is pressed. If the trigger is pressed and held back, a mechanical device called a disconnector prevents the rifle from firing again until the trigger is released and then pressed once more. I also take issue with her "very accurate" statement, but she does say "short range" and does not define accuracy so I won't argue the point........yet.

Canella stopped me.

“I don’t mean to be nosy, but if you want a gun for self-protection, a shotgun would be better,” he said, assuming that’s the only reason for this blonde in a twin sweater set to need an AK-47. “It’s easier to load for people who aren’t familiar with firing a gun, and it does a lot of damage.”

How does she know that is what he was assuming? Does she have a crystal ball? Is she psychic? Could it be that he was simply trying to qualify the purchaser and recommend a product which might better suit her needs based on his past experience? Naw.....let's just jump right to the conclusion that he's a male chauvinist pig.

“My dad recommended this model,” I said, searching for an excuse.

Excuse? Why would she need an excuse? Nevermind....the concept of "rights" and the application thereof obviously excapes her.

Except for a possible stray bullet in the chamber, I shouldn’t have been worried.

Another issue with inanimate objects. Ammunition does not "stray" as in the case of a "stray dog." The only way it would get into the chamber is if a person were to put it there.

In America, it’s legal to buy guns.

Yes it is, at least for the moment. That really bothers you, doesn't it?

Even this one, a semiautomatic rifle developed for Soviets tank crews to kill from a mile away.

Wow. This is where the venom really starts to drip from her fangs. First of all, let's keep things straight: the WASR-10 was not developed for Soviet tank crews. It is a semi-automatic copy of the AK-47 assault carbine designed by Mikhail Kalashnakov for the Soviet military as a whole....not just tank crews.

Killing from a mile away? Perhaps if the rifle were dropped from orbit and hit some poor schmuck on the head. Accurate, effective, aimed fire at a distance of 1,760 yards (that's one mile for you flannel wearing folks who have to take your shoes off to count) from a rifle with crude open sights, a trigger pull that can best be described as dragging a brick through wet cement, and firing a 123 grain, .311" diameter bullet at less than 2500 feet per second? My ballistics tables don't go that low, but I do have a listing for a 130 grain .308 bullet fired at 2500 fps. It shows that with a 100 yard zero, the bullet will have lost over half its' initial velocity (down to 1155 fps) and dropped 154.2" at a range of only 600 yards. (Hornady Reloading Manual, Third Edition, page 489) That's over 12 feet of drop for the flannel wearing, toe counting group. Effective fire at a mile? Puh-lease.

Joe Dominick, Allegheny County’s chief deputy coroner, said shots from an AK-47 inflict trauma all over the body.

Really? So that means if I were to shoot someone in the foot with an AK-47 it would give them a hang nail on their pinky finger? This sounds like a variation of the ever popular "shockwave trauma" myth that is usually associated with the .50 BMG. Since this guy claims to be a chief deputy coroner (why do I have the image of Roscoe P. Coltrain in my head when I think of "chief deputy?"), I assume that he is familiar with the scientific method and the rules of evidence. I'd like to see some factual, scientific evidence to support his position. I'll be holding my breath.

The bullet can blow through several body parts, cutting through a hand to the torso through the other hand.

I think that she is trying to describe a "through and through" wound and just doesn't do a very good job. Perhaps she really does think that the bullet will enter one hand, move up the arm, across the torso, down the opposite arm, and then exit in the opposite hand. Images of the Kennedy "magic bullet" come to mind.

And rarely is an AK-47 fired just once. At least eight shots were fired at Watts’ Geo Tracker.

A general assumption based on anecdotal evidence.......prefaced by a sentence which begins with a conjunction. Poor logic and poor grammer combined. At least she's not wearing flannel.

Under Pennsylvania law, gun shops can sell a rifle to anybody 18 or older from any state with no criminal record. An AK-47 is a rifle, and I could purchase it on the spot. I didn’t need a reason or even a gun permit.

Ok, back to Civics 101. This is called a "right." As in "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."

But there was a catch. As a new resident in Pennsylvania, I did not have a driver’s license from the state. I thought my U.S. passport would be sufficient to buy a rifle, but Canella disagreed. He wanted a government-issued photo ID with my present address and sent me across the street to the Driver’s License Center.

Wow....imagine that. A law abiding FFL holder. Who would have imagined such a thing.

I waited four days for New York State to fax a transcript of my driving record to PennDOT. With my new driver’s license in hand, I went back to Firearms Unlimited last Tuesday. Cop cars blocked several stalls when I pulled into the parking lot. Three people were being questioned. A woman had her hands behind her back. A violent crime impact team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was investigating a possible straw purchase, when a person with a clean record buys firearms for convicted criminals.

What's this? Could it be existing laws being enforced, resulting in criminal prosecution of the people who violated the law? Goodness gracious, we can't have that. It would be much better to repress everyone equally. We wouldn't want the criminals to feel like they are being singled out.

I left the engine running for a second and hesitated to unlock the doors. I was the only one not armed.

You've gone through your entire life that way, why worry about it now? Could it be that she is beginning to realize that the .gov is not always going to be there to protect her? I doubt it.

But I was here to pick up my AK-47. I sidestepped the commotion and climbed the rickety stairs to the entrance.

“I don’t have to sell anybody a gun I don’t want to, and I don’t have to have a reason,” Canella said when I got inside. “It’s more gut than anything else. It’s a major concern for us, and it’s a duty.”

He recognized me, “the AK-47 girl,” and tried to steer me toward the shotgun again. “If you were my wife, daughter or sister, I would tell you to get a shotgun, but if your mind’s made up, your mind’s made up,” he said. “It’s my job to advise, but you make the decision.”

Watch out, you might actually portray the manager as a human being who actually gives a shit about his customers. Sarcasm aside, I have to give her credit for showing that the store manager takes his job seriously and isn't just another flannel wearing slackjaw.

I had to fill out a federal form with my basic information and answer 13 easy questions about whether or not I was a fugitive, had mental illnesses or was an illegal alien. The store called Instacheck, a state program that surveys police records, and assigned me an approval number within five minutes. Instacheck replaced the former, mandatory five-day waiting period and the state police have found approximately 60 percent of individuals trying to buy a gun can be approved instantly. Firearms Unlimited owner Robert Carola guessed that number is closer to 95 percent.

Really? People who buy firearms tend to be upstanding citizens? Again, credit to the author for including something favorable.

Police do not know how the gun used to kill Watts was obtained.

Here we are back to our friend Keith "Spud" Watts Jr. There have been quite a few articles about "Spud" in the Pittsburgh newspapers lately, but I've only been able to find one that mentions the fact that this choirboy was a convicted felon who had released only one month earlier. He had just finished a 2 year incarceration for driving a stolen vehicle and carrying heroin. He was 15 at the time of his arrest. Most of the articles portray "Spud" as a victim of society, orphaned when his drug dealing father was shot to death in 1999 and his drug using mother was shot in 2003. Mom had also spent time in jail for theft.

Most of the articles also do not mention that the gang war in this particular Pittsburgh neighborhood has been going on for generations.

Derwin Milligan, 17, of Climax Street in Beltzhoover has been charged with criminal homicide in the death, and is not old enough to purchase a firearm legally. The murder weapon has not been found yet, police said.

Ok....if the alleged shooter was not able to purchase a firearm legally, what exactly was the point of the article? Wouldn't it have been better to find a juvenile felon and send him to buy a gun?

I did not buy any bullets. I did not want to have any rounds lying around when I didn’t even know how to load a gun; I told Canella I wanted to wait until after I took the gun safety course he recommended. He was proud. A poster on the entranceway advertises National Rifle Association training courses. I ripped off one of the slips of paper with the Web site address, Carola said he takes pride in selling guns to “upstanding citizens” for sport or self protection.

A glimmer of hope for the author. She at least realizes that she doesn't know what she is doing and makes the safe choice. The question now is, will she actually take the training course and learn to shoot her new rifle? If so, will she report it in a fair, unbiased manner? We'll be watching.

Firearms Unlimited followed all of the laws.

Hello? A lot of people do. Some of us are actually proud of it.

Canella even cajoled me into a four-day wait period while I applied for the Pennsylvania driver’s license.

Cajoled? No he didn't. He did what was required of him by law, and incidently forced the author to do what was required of her by law. How is this a bad thing?

I had entered the store at 1:22 p.m. Store clerk Brandon Moore loaded the gun into my trunk at 2:22 p.m. The actual purchase took an hour because of cash register technicalities.

Six days after Watts was murdered, four days after I applied for a driver’s license, one hour after entering the store and five minutes after a criminal record check, I legally owned a semiautomatic AK-47-style rifle.

Good for you. That's the way it works in a free society. The conclusion leaves something to be desired though. She doesn't come right out and say it, but the implication is made that what she did should not be possible in light of the past events. Let's change the wording to put it into a different context and see if it still makes sense:

Six days after Samantha drowned, four days after I finished the YMCA swimming class, one hour after entering the pool supply store, and five minutes after my check was verified, I legally owned a bucket of chlorine tablets.

Or how about this one:

Six days after John was killed by a drunk driver, four days after getting my driver's license, one hour after buying a car, and 5 minutes after pulling into a gas station, I was driving a motor vehicle.

To her credit, the author tries several times to appear unbiased, but the overall tone of the "report" just doesn't come across that way. My impression of the piece is that it is just another "This shouldn't be legal" smear article. Not quite the vitriolic screeds that have been appearing in the San Francisco papers, but it still ends up on the anti-gun side of things.

Why exactly is it that whenever an individual violates the law an attempt is made to restrict the rights of the people who didn't commit the crime?

The author of this lovely article can be reached at Let her know what you think.


*******NOTE: Earlier today, Jed at Freedom Sight posted a fisking of this same article here. I wrote mine on a notepad while I was waiting at the federal courthouse today. I almost didn't post my own fisk after I read the other one (I think his is better than mine), but I decided to go ahead anyway. Any similarity between the two is simply a result of commonality of thought.

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