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  • August 29, 2008

    Who Is Sarah Palin?-10


    Who is Sarah Palin, the surprise pick for John McCain’s running mate? Well beyond the obvious—that she is a political newcomer who managed to become governor of Alaska—not much is known about the 44-year-old Republican.

    Sportsmen and gun owners will be interested to know that she is a lifelong NRA member and lists “hunting” as her number-one area of interest on the “Sarah Palin For Governor” web site.

    —John Snow

    Update: The unauthorized version of McCain's phone call. (H/T: Glenn)

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 29, 2008

    Obama’s Convention Speech-5


    In his acceptance speech last night Barack Obama took a “tough love” approach on the culturally divisive issues in the United States:

    “America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past.”

    From Obama’s perspective one of those challenges is to figure out how to pay lip service to the Second Amendment while setting the stage for future legislation that will curb those rights. Here’s what he said:

    “The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.”

    This is a rhetorical tactic he’s adopted before. To borrow a phrase from John Edward’s failed bid for the Democratic nomination, it is a “two Americas” approach to looking at our constitutional rights. That somehow what qualifies for a Second Amendment right in the urban areas of the United States does not have to be the equivalent of the rights that people in rural America enjoy.

    To drive home his point he picks on two groups: hunters in Ohio and Cleveland gang members. The hunters of Ohio, according to Obama, inhabit a different reality than their city-dwelling cousins and should be prepared to face the consequences of the “tough choices” that America needs to face to curb gun violence. So suck it up Bubba.

    Meanwhile, you couldn’t blame the gang members in Cleveland if they were left scratching their heads by Obama’s words last night, too. AK-47s? They must not have got that memo. A quick Goggle search doesn’t reveal evidence of a “plague” of gun violence in Cleveland, let alone a plague in the form of AK-wielding Crips and Bloods. (This is hardly surprising as criminals rarely use military-style semi-autos when committing crimes and the criminal use honest-to-goodness full-auto battle rifles is almost unheard of. You’re more likely to choke to death on a gerbil than get hosed with an AK-47 in Cleveland.)

    So why does Obama take this approach? This is the tortured logic he needs to employ to square his statements that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right with his solidly anti-gun legislative record. The Assault Weapons Ban? A great thing, according to Obama. He supported it. Chicago’s gun laws that keep ordinary citizens from owning handguns while greasing the skids for the powerful and connected to get permits? No problem. Obama was fine with that setup too. Washington D.C.’s total ban on gun ownership? That’s somehow constitutional as well, according to Obama.

    It isn’t the hunters of Ohio that need the reality check. It is the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States.

    —John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 27, 2008

    Guns and Gustav-131


    We just got a call from Devline Rossell, a charter captain based out of Venice, Louisiana. He was shopping in New Orleans to get some supplies before the arrival of Gustav (currently listed as a tropical storm that has left at least 22 dead in the Caribbean) and reported that the item most in demand was not food, clothing or shelter.

    “I just left a sporting goods store and you would think that the number-one selling item would be plywood or potable water or gasoline right now,” he said. “Apparently it is AR-15s and .223 ammo. I watched at least 20 people buy AR-15s and cases of .223.”

    Can’t say I’m surprised. After the nightmare that was Katrina I think it would be unwise for anyone to assume the state, local or federal government could guarantee his or her personal safety during a natural disaster. Of course, I think it is foolish to assume that under any circumstance.

    The AR buying spree demonstrates that people don’t think of it as an “assault weapon” but rather an arm that is ideally suited for self-defense, which it is. I also suspect that for some of the folks this is their first firearm. Goes to show that not only is there no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole but that there is no such thing as a gun-control advocate in one either.

    —John Snow

    Update: How would Obama feel about letting the citizens of New Orleans defend themselves with ARs? I doubt he'd approve.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 12, 2008

    Glenn Eller Wins Olympic Gold-1


    Glenn Eller of Katy, Texas, won a gold medal and set two Olympic records in the Men's Double Trap competition.

    From USA Shooting:

    Eller, a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), who finished 12th at the Sydney Games and 17th in Athens, entered the final round today four targets ahead of Italy'€™s Francesco D'€™ Aniello with a qualification score of 145, setting a new Olympic record. The previous Olympic record of 144 was set by Ahmed Almaktoum of the United Arab Emirates at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

    After missing his first pair in the final, Eller ended up shooting 45 targets and finished with a total score of 190 targets, setting another Olympic record and taking home the gold.

    "I was so happy after I won, but I didn'€™t know whether to cry, smile or jump up and down,"€ said Eller. "After my performances in the last two Olympics, I really wanted to come here and bring home a medal for the U.S. This is definitely one of the greatest moments of my life so far."

    Well done, Glenn.

    —€”John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 11, 2008

    Lessons From The Olympics-1


    I just spent an hour watching the women’s trap final thanks to the impressive streaming web broadcasts at and couldn’t help but be impressed by the level of shooting on display. This should really go without saying, of course, as the Olympic shooting disciplines are the world’s toughest.

    Two things really stood out, however, that would benefit any shooter at any level. First, was the consistency of technique. All six of the women had their individual styles but that style never varied when they shot. From loading the gun to mounting the gun to calling for the target to the follow-through: each shooter had her set routine. Want to break more targets? Be consistent.

    The second thing was really a subset of consistency and that was their follow-through. All the shooters were amazingly smooth and kept their barrels moving after the shot. This was particularly noticeable on the hard-angle targets.

    Except when they missed.

    Granted, the misses were not many, but it was amazing to see that when they did miss their barrels were almost always not moving in the same smooth fashion. While I was rooting for each and every one of them to smash the hell out of their targets I couldn’t help but smile when witnessing this mistake, if for no other reason than I knew exactly how they felt, having done it so often myself.

    Also, congratulations to Corey Cogdell (pictured above) on capturing the bronze medal in the event. It was an inspiration to watch her fight back after dropping behind the leaders in the beginning part of the match.

    —John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 11, 2008

    Next Condor-country Ban: Bolts and Rags?-2


    All you southern California do-it-yourselfers prepare to rid your shops of bolts, nuts and grease rags. And that pop-bottle top that blew out of your trash just might choke the last remaining California condor.

    The recovery of the endangered condor soared into the absurd this week with a report from the American Ornithologist's Union that once again says hunters¹ lead ammunition is poisoning the graceful scavengers.

    The report provides new glimpses of the towering futility of the recovery effort. According to the Los Angeles Times condors can be considered "little more than outdoor zoo populations" thanks to the intensity of human intervention. They are being sustained artificially by government "feeding stations" that feature lead-free carcasses, by surgical removal of bolts, nuts, rags and other debris the majestic birds pick up in their long flights over southern California and the American Southwest. Chicks are vaccinated against West Nile disease.

    Yet the report once again fingers hunters as a culprit in the recovery bottleneck, citing the ingestion of lead from big-game carcasses as a principle cause of mortality.

    This even though the report goes on to mention that reintroduced condors are busy raiding trash dumps and being electrocuted by power poles. I'll await the recommendation that will bury all powerlines in California and criminalize trash generation.

    The ornithologists recommend that California's ban on lead hunting bullets be adopted by neighboring states. And in order to boost compliance the group urges manufacturers and retailers to increase the availability of non-lead ammunition in the region. The reason? Because poachers kill large numbers of big-game animals and are "unlikely to comply" with lead-free rules "as long as lead bullets are easily purchased."

    Great idea. Poachers are as likely to buy copper bullets as Southern Californians are to stop producing trash.

    - Andrew McKean

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 8, 2008

    Seizing Guns In Connecticut-4


    My home state might not be located in “free America”—as one of my companions on a prairie dog shoot in Wyoming recently told me—but its gun laws are much better than those of the surrounding states of New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. And much, much better than what New Jersey residents need to go through.

    Getting a concealed carry permit is no big deal and we’re allowed to own Class III items with a couple of exceptions. But there is one law on the books I didn’t know about that is very worrying. Seems if a neighbor or family member doesn’t like you they can call the police to come take your guns.

    From the World Daily Net:

    A new report to the Connecticut state legislature shows police have used the state's unique gun seizure law to confiscate more than 1,700 firearms from citizens based on suspicion that the gun owners might harm themselves or others.

    The law has been on the books since 1999 and even the director of the Connecticut State Civil Liberties Union  doesn’t like it:

    Joe Graborz, executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, an affiliate of the ACLU, told WND the law "continues to invest unusual and far-reaching powers in police authority that does not belong there" by requiring "police to act as psychologists in trying to predict and interpret behavior."

    "What is the standard of proof on this?" he asked. "The way this law is written, it can and will be easily abused by police."

    Prior to the seizure of one man’s firearms, police cited in their application the man’s “extensive self-protection measures” that were installed on his property, “including alarms, cameras and spotlights.”

    Really? Having a home alarm system, security cameras and floodlights is a cause for police to confiscate your guns? Might be time to move to Wyoming.

    —John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 7, 2008

    Gun Grill-2


    This has to rank pretty high as one of the coolest summer BBQ accessories ever. I wonder if the porting at the muzzle vents smoke.

    —John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 6, 2008

    Big Blades-9


    We were talking knives in the office the other day and I was gushing about some of my favorite knives—in particular, my favorite big knives, of which I have many. (Yes, I know this is a gun blog. But I don’t know of any gun guys who also don’t like knives.)

    So I decided to bring in some of my most cherished big-ass blades to show them off to my co-workers and one thing led to another and before I knew it we had a photo shoot going with a couple of our more lovely looking staffers. Here is the photo gallery of that shoot.

    I’ve been collecting big knives since I was a little kid and always get excited when a new blade comes along. One of my good friends happens to work at SOG Knives and he knows my affinity for oversized cutlery so when the company introduced the Tigershark 2.0 he sent one along and made my month. It is a jaw-dropping example of a wickedly cool blade.

    I also recently got one of Surefire’s new knives, the Delta Fixed-Blade Combat Knife. This is on the small end of what I consider a big blade but it is a hell of a knife. I’ve taken to wearing it concealed under my shirt—particularly in places where I can’t wear a sidearm—and it is surprisingly comfortable on my hip.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever need the built in wire cutter (which was designed with LE and military folks in mind to help them remove flex-cuffs) but it is completely unobtrusive as is the integral harness/seatbelt cutter.

    We’re looking for pictures of your big-ass blades, too. Send them to us at

    —John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]