The Arizona Rifleman http://www.arizonarifleman.com Shooter, Scientist Thu, 25 Sep 2014 18:50:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 CNN: Bill Clinton: America has ‘bought the NRA’s theory’ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/25/cnn-bill-clinton-america-has-bought-the-nras-theory/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/25/cnn-bill-clinton-america-has-bought-the-nras-theory/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 18:50:45 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2658 Continue reading ]]> Former president Bill Clinton talked with CNN on Wednesday and had a few choice things to say about the NRA. Those familiar with the former president should not be surprised that he looks disparagingly upon the NRA and gun owners:

The former president, in a conversation with CNN’s Erin Burnett at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, lumped together the NRA, stand your ground laws, and people surrounding themselves only with those who agree with them as problems that lead to a more violent climate in the United States.

He does have a point with the last part — diversity is the spice of life, after all — but he’s way off base on the other points.

“I think we have enhanced the risks by changing the environment, basically, because it seems we bought the NRA’s theory that we would all be safer if everybody in this audience had a gun that was a concealed weapon,” Clinton said. “Then if one of them felt threatened by another, they could stand up right here and stand their ground. And we could watch the whole saga unfold. That is what happens.”

I fail to see how someone being lawfully able to defend themselves when genuinely threatened, regardless of where they happen to be at the time, is a bad thing.

Stand Your Ground laws are not a blanket license to kill anyone for any reason, but rather simply say that a person has no duty to retreat from a place they have a lawful right to be and can use force (including lethal force) if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury (emphasis mine). They’d still need to explain themselves to the authorities after the fact, and it’s not uncommon for people invoking “stand your ground” provisions to be found guilty.

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that even with the liberalization of concealed carry, the spread of Stand Your Ground, and other pro-gun-rights policies being enacted, gun-related violent crime is way down since Clinton was in office.

It looks like America has indeed “bought the NRA’s theory” and that theory is actually working.

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911 should be part of a plan, not the whole plan http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/25/911-should-be-part-of-a-plan-not-the-whole-plan/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/25/911-should-be-part-of-a-plan-not-the-whole-plan/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:03:47 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2656 Continue reading ]]>

One of the key points of disagreement between pro-gunners and anti-gunners is on the concept of whether or not it is necessary, or even appropriate, for an “average” citizen to have ready access to a lethal weapon in case they are attacked. Anti-gunners often hold that the proper course of action when one is threatened by another is to call the police and let them deal with the problem. To the average person this might sound like a perfectly reasonable answer, but it reallyisn’t. The giant hole in the anti-gunner self defense plan is that even the best police response is going to be minutes out in a situation where seconds define the boundaries between life and death.

Tim at Gun Nuts Media.

Read the whole thing. Lots of good info.

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Guns vs. Cars http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/25/guns-vs-cars/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/25/guns-vs-cars/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:52:26 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2653 Continue reading ]]> Miguel over at GFZ posted an image from the CSGV in which they claim that “strictly regulating cars, drivers, and roads” has resulted in a 90% drop in automotive-related fatality rates in the last century or so.

Leaving aside the fundamental difference that the majority of automotive-related fatalities are due to accidents while the majority of gun-related fatalities are due to intentional acts (either suicide or homicide), I thought it would be interesting to do a quick apples-to-apples comparison between guns and cars:

Regulations on Cars/Guns

The “strict regulations” on cars were almost exclusively related to actual safety concerns of passengers in cars: seat belts, laminated windshields, safety glass, air bags, having electric lights instead of kerosene lamps, not exploding when rear-ended, generally not being made of flimsy materials like wood, etc. Compare, say, a Model T to a modern vehicle and the differences in regards to the safety of the occupants are obvious.

There’s also the matter of the environment in which cars are operated: in the early 1900s, cars were operated alongside pedestrians, horse-drawn carriages, etc. where collisions were much more likely. Modern cars are operated on dedicated roads and highways that are more isolated from pedestrians and slower-moving vehicles.

Guns are similar: guns that fire without the shooter desiring it (e.g. when dropped) are broken, as are guns that explode in normal operating conditions. Such guns are defective and are recalled or replaced. Guns have had many safety mechanisms for a long, long time: the 1911 has both a grip safety and a manual safety. The only major improvement I can think of that modern pistols have made in that regard is the addition of drop safeties.

Modern holsters are extremely safe (more so than just dropping a gun loose into a pocket) and retention holsters are available for modest cost to those who wish to buy them.

If anything, guns are far ahead of cars in regards to the safety of the operator.

Regulations on Drivers/Gun Owners

The “strict regulations” on those wishing to drive on public roads are basic vision tests that my grandparents had no trouble passing, a few hours of lessons in high school followed by a short written and behind-the-wheel exam by the DMV and you’re good to go for life.

Similar standards exist for those wishing to carry firearms in public: a few hours learning the basics of the legal issues regarding self-defense (e.g. when the use of force is appropriate), basic instruction on safe gun-handling, and a little time at the range. Typically such licenses must be renewed every few years.

No license or training is necessary for someone to operate a vehicle on private property. In most states guns that are used only at home or the range, but not carried in public, don’t require any license or permit,

Regulation of Roads/Ranges

In regards to roads, older roads are little more than paved country paths. Modern roads are well-engineered and safe.

The only things that’s really comparable for guns are organized ranges, which are typically well-managed and extremely safe.

All the ranges I know are extremely attentive about keeping the property well-maintained, in good repair, clean, etc. They all have regular clean-ups of the range as well as extraction/recycling of bullets from berms/backstops.

Discussion

Nearly all of the changes to laws regulating cars and drivers over the last century or so have related to genuine safety concerns and there is clear evidence for the effectiveness of seat belts, air bags, non-exploding cars, well-maintained electric lights, etc. in regards to improving safety.

Other important regulations have been in regards to improving fuel efficiency and reducing pollution, and while many people have been encouraging mass transit and improving street/city design to minimize the necessity for cars, there has been no non-lunatic-fringe efforts to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of cars.

The same cannot be said for firearms: the majority of laws enacted regarding firearms have nothing to do about the safety of the operator of a firearm. A few, such as those requiring safe storage of firearms and mandating that gun locks are sold with each new gun, are nominally about safety but there’s no evidence that they’ve actually done anything positive for safety.

Also, essentially all of the so-called “gun safety” are, in fact, “gun control” groups that seek to significantly reduce the number of privately-owned firearms. Some groups and their members are willing to let hunters and sportsmen maintain guns suitable for those activities while eliminating “undesirable” guns like handguns, modern rifles, and so on, while others aren’t even willing to allow that and seek total civilian disarmament.

None of those groups promote things that would actually improve safety, like age-appropriate educational safety classes for children and adults.

 In Short

With very few exceptions, cars and guns are safe to use. Saying that more legislation is needed so guns can be “safer” is disingenuous, especially when there’s not really any pressing need (that is, guns exploding or otherwise accidentally injuring their users is very rare, and not typically the fault of the gun).

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Voting info, endorsements, and guides? http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/24/voting-info-endorsements-and-guides/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/24/voting-info-endorsements-and-guides/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:53:19 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2651 Continue reading ]]> I’ve been out of the country for a few years and have missed a lot of info about how various candidates stand on gun rights in Arizona (and elsewhere).

While looking at the endorsements made by anti-gun groups is informative in deciding who not to vote for, there’s not much information from the standard pro-gun groups: the NRA-PVF doesn’t seem to acknowledge the November election, the GOA is showing information from the last election, etc.

Does anyone know when the big pro-gun-rights groups will be publishing voter information guides, making endorsements, etc.? Since I’m voting by mail from outside the country, it’d be better to get that info sooner rather than later.

Thanks!

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ARS is getting nervous http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/22/ars-is-getting-nervous/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/09/22/ars-is-getting-nervous/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:03:01 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2644 Continue reading ]]> Americans for Responsible Solutions seems to be getting a bit nervous.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent fundraising email entitled “Potentially devastating” which I received from them:

Bad news. This headline just came in:

NRA goes big in key 2014 races

“The National Rifle Association has reserved $11.4 million for its initial fall advertising campaign and will begin airing its first TV commercials in three Senate races crucial to determining which party controls the chamber next year.

“The gun rights group said it plans to spend much more than the initial outlay during the final weeks before the midterm elections.”

$11.4 million, with “much more” to come? That could be more than enough money to unseat leaders in Congress who support commonsense proposals to reduce gun violence.

We [ARS] already have ads on the air in 4 House races. But now that the NRA’s moving into statewide races, we need to be there too.

Our country simply can’t afford to lose members of Congress who voted to expand background checks. If they lose, the gun lobby’s candidates will sit in the House, Senate, and governors’ mansions around the country.

They won’t just block expanded background checks — they could even roll back some of the most basic laws in place that help make our communities safer.

It sounds like ARS is getting worried. Good.

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Shooting sports gaining in popularity with young people http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/22/shooting-sports-gaining-in-popularity-with-young-people/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/22/shooting-sports-gaining-in-popularity-with-young-people/#comments Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:53:01 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2638 Continue reading ]]> Thanks to Jeff Soyer, I came across this heartwarming article from, of all places, the Boston Globe that talks about how the shooting sports are increasing in popularity among young people:

Participation in the nationwide 4-H Shooting Sports Program, which includes archery, hunting, pistol, rifle, and other firearms, has nearly tripled since 2009 and last year drew 336,558 program participants nationally. The actual number of youths involved is doubtless somewhat different than that, as some sign up for more than one offering and not all states report, but the trend is clear.

Also, after a long decline, participation in hunting in the US increased by 9 percent between 2006 and 2011, and one of the main reasons appears to be an array of youth recruitment and retention programs sponsored by local clubs and national youth organizations, according to a recent study funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Throughout the region, junior shooting programs with names such as “The Projectiles” and “The Hot Shots” are generally open to children age 10 and up. The ranges are packed with boys and, increasingly, girls.

Shooting appeals to young people for unexpected reasons; the sport is unlike the standard competitive fare offered at most of their schools, they say, and measures their individual skill in ways that team play does not.

Many parents of young shooters like it, too. Not only do the demands of target practice improve their children’s focus, they say, but the programs demand a high level of personal responsibility. There are no-exceptions safety rules on the range. And youths are routinely asked at some clubs to bring in their report cards — good grades can be a condition of participation.

Articles like this are incredibly satisfying to read, reach a large audience who may be fence-sitters or somewhat anti-gun, and help show such people one of the many positive aspects of firearms. People in cities like Boston might not otherwise see firearms in a positive light and may have a mental image of gun owners as overweight country bumpkins or inner-city violent thugs, so having a major newspaper cover youth shooting sports in a positive light is a big thing.

Truly, the future of not only the shooting sports, but of our rights and liberties, rests in the hands of young people and it’s good to see young people getting involved in the outdoors, shooting sports, hunting, etc.

While I don’t understand why they would bother contacting such an irrelevant “group”, the Globe contacted Josh Sugarmann at the VPC and he made a statement that shows how extreme and out-of-touch the anti-gun side is:

“The fact is, children don’t have the developmental skills to hold highly developed military weapons,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center in Washington.

I have no idea what “highly developed military weapons” are, but whatever they are and regardless of where Mr. Sugarmann gets his “facts”, the article clearly shows that there are children who have the developmental skills to not only hold and use such firearms, but additionally have the discipline and proficiency such that they compete and excel in high-level competitions.

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Big news! http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/21/big-news-2/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/21/big-news-2/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 22:21:01 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2636 Continue reading ]]> June 19th this year was a big day for me: it marked the four-year anniversary for my wife and I.

It’s also the day our daughter, Caroline, was born.

I now have a tiny person who, with my wife, I need to care for, raise, teach, learn from, listen to, and generally inspire to be the best person she can.

This is going to be awesome.

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PolitiFact calls Everytown’s “school shooting” map “mostly false” http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/14/politifact-calls-everytowns-school-shooting-map-mostly-false/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/14/politifact-calls-everytowns-school-shooting-map-mostly-false/#comments Sat, 14 Jun 2014 20:48:02 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2631 Continue reading ]]> From “Have there been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook? A closer look at a tricky statistic

A statistic calculated by Everytown for Gun Safety, and shared widely on social media, said that there have been 74 “school shootings in America since Sandy Hook.”

The group’s figure is accurate only if you use a broad definition of “school shooting” that includes such incidents as suicides, accidents and spillover from adjacent criminal activity. The figure has some value in quantifying the proximity of guns to school campuses, but the group makes a significant stretch by tying the statistic so closely to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook. By doing this, the group closely associates the statistic with planned mass shootings targeting students and school staff — a category that, using a more strict definition, accounts for only 10 of the 74 incidents.

The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

Ouch. Between that and CNN’s debunking of the map, that’s gotta hurt.

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Whoops. http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/11/whoops/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/11/whoops/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 08:38:42 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2624 Continue reading ]]> As mentioned earlier, I use Varnish to cache static pages on this site to improve performance. I use a WordPress plugin that detects when parts of the site are added or modified (e.g. a new post is published, or an existing one is edited) and it purges the cache for that particular page so the cache content will be refreshed with the new content.

Unfortunately, it was not purging the RSS/Atom feed, so subscribers weren’t getting any updates for several days. That’s very odd.

Until things get resolved with the plugin, I’m manually purging the cache for the feed so subscribers will get more timely updates.

Sorry for the trouble.

Update: What luck! A new version of the cache-purging plugin was just released today and fixes the problem. This pleases me.

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You know it’ll be an interesting day when… http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/11/you-know-itll-be-an-interesting-day-when/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/06/11/you-know-itll-be-an-interesting-day-when/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 08:05:09 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2622 Continue reading ]]> …the Big Scary Laser in the lab starts making an ominous humming sound and the Swiss lab technician working on the laser shouts “PANIK!” and waves his arms around.

Fortunately, he just ended up pushing the button and everything was ok, but that’s a surefire way to get an adrenaline dump early in the morning.

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