Goverment Silliness

Some days, I wonder about the sanity of government workers.
First off, there’s the whole silliness about the “economic stimulus” program (giving taxpayers their own money, yet somehow thinking this will make the economy better)…that’s enough for an entirely separate post.
The thing that really confuses me is all the mail they keep sending out about it. They sent me (and presumably all other eligible recipients) a letter a few months ago saying “We’re going to pay you!”, then they paid me (via direct deposit), then they sent out another letter saying “Look! We paid you!”
Duh. I know. There’s no need to waste more of my own money on postage, knuckleheads. I shudder to think how much money was spent on postage alone.
Here’s a suggestion: Instead of spending money letting me know you already gave me money (I can read my bank statement, after all), why not use it to pay down the National Debt?

Theft Information

Mike, my friend and Class III dealer, had his house burglarized earlier today (well, technically yesterday as I’m posting really early in the morning).
Some stuff (laptop computer, USB flash drive, other small valuables) were stolen. Fortunately, his safe was not attacked and his firearms remain unmolested.
The laptop was a big loss, as it contained a whole bunch of sentimental photographs. Not cool.
In addition to hardening your dwelling from criminal actions, one must also have a recovery plan. Continue reading “Theft Information”

Brady Campaign Newsletter

I got an email from the Brady Campaign containing the following bit of news:

Representative Mike Castle (R-DE) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 96) that will require Brady background checks at gun shows, and stop criminals and other dangerous people from exploiting these events to buy and sell guns.

Guess who they consider “other dangerous people” to be? Probably folks like you and me — ordinary people who own guns.
FFL holders (e.g. gun dealers) need to conduct the NICS check and have purchasers fill out a Form 4473 regardless of where the transaction takes place. The rules for dealers are no different at gun shows than they are at their own property — this law would only affect private citizens wishing to buy or sell guns at gun shows by requiring that they transfer their guns through an FFL holder.
The law would even effect private sales not occurring at gun shows — it would require that any private sale occur at the seller’s private residence, rather than at the buyer’s residence or any other location.
Also, the bill would make it illegal to hold gun shows (“special firearms events”) without notifying the US Attorney General, in writing, at least 30 days ahead of time “of the date, time, duration, and location of the special firearms event, and the special firearms event vendors planning to participate”.
Like the Brady Campaign, I urge you to contact your legislators…except that I urge you to oppose this bill.
See GovTrack or THOMAS for more details on the bill.

Banning Ski Masks to Stop Bank Robbery

Would banning ski masks help stop bank robbery?
Of course not! That’d be absurd. Ski masks don’t cause bank robbery.
Similarly, guns don’t cause crime. In fact, they can be used to defend against crime*! Heck, I can think of a whole heck of a lot more fun, useful, productive, and beneficial things that one can do with a gun than one can do with a ski mask. Neither ski masks nor guns cause any harm by themselves — they’re simply inanimate objects.
Why, then, are there so many people who seem to think that restricting (or banning) guns will help reduce crime? It doesn’t make any sense!
* Something that ski masks can’t do. At least not the last time I checked.

Full Auto Fun

In 2007, my Class III dealer friend Mike and his Class II manufacturer friend Rob went out for a day of full-auto fun in the National Forest.
While the video is over a year old, I still think it’s fun. Unfortunately, it contributes to my indecision over which machine gun to buy, as all of the guns pictured therein (M16s and Uzis) are incredibly fun to shoot. Alas, the full-auto switch for the Glock (which Rob makes for a living) is a post-86 machine gun, and thus not legal for me to buy. Curses!

For reference, I’m the guy in blue jeans, the green Peace Through Superior Firepower shirt, and the baseball hat. And yes, I’m left-handed.

Hunting in Arizona

I’ve been a shooter for about 5 years now (give me a break — I grew up in the SF Bay Area!), and so far have only shot targets of various kinds.
I’ve been wanting to learn how to hunt for some time, but have no experience whatsoever. Somehow, hunting doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that one merely takes the state-mandated Hunter Education course for. Rather, it seems like it’s the sort of thing that’s taught by some sort of mentor.
The only hunting-related equipment I have at present are boots and rifles (the two most suitable ones would probably be my Remington 700 and Marlin 336, in .30-06 and .30-30 respectively). My Mossberg 500 shotgun is in a “riotgun” configuration, and so probably wouldn’t be suitable.
Is there anyone in the Tucson or Phoenix metro areas who might be willing to instruct and accompany me?
If so, I’d appreciate it you could contact me.

Tucson PD Nails Another Bad Guy

From the Arizona Daily Star:

Monday’s shooting occurred about 12:45 p.m. when a person called 911 and said a man was driving a dune buggy in a dirt lot near North Oracle and West Grant roads and was firing in the direction of a Circle K store.
“Numerous people were in the line of fire,” Pacheco said. No bystanders were injured.
Police don’t know why Burdon started firing at people from the dirt lot, Pacheco said.

According to the news, the shooter “had pulled into his dune buggy into the dirt lot about 10:15 a.m. and about two hours later he began driving around the lot pointing his gun at people and shooting.” His motive has not yet been ascertained.

One officer arrived and positioned his patrol car east of the dirt lot on West Sahuaro and Burdon fired at him, Pacheco said. Meanwhile another officer, Luis Campos, who is part of the SWAT team approached Burdon moving south on North 11th Avenue from Grant Road.
When Burdon refused to obey commands to drop his firearm, Campos “observed the threat to citizens and the officer and fired at the suspect, striking and killing him,” according to a TPD news release.
Campos, an 8-year-veteran, used a rifle to kill the gunman.

Sounds like a clear-cut “good shoot” to me.
Being that this is Arizona, I’m surprised that there wasn’t any return fire from private citizens. Oh well.
Since inquiring minds will no doubt want to know, according to this page, TPD SWAT gets issued Steyr AUG A1s, but I have no idea how up-to-date that information is. Non-SWAT officers do not seem to be issued rifles. There are no details on the range from the bad guy to the store, or from the police officer to the bad guy.
Officer Campos deserves a hearty “attaboy” for his actions. Hopefully he doesn’t lose a wink of sleep over the incident, as he was entirely justified in his actions.
This brings the number of bad guys shot by TPD this year to 5.
UPDATE: The Arizona Daily Star has released new information:

Police don’t know what prompted Burdon to start firing his gun in the dirt lot, but Sgt. Mark Robinson, a Tucson Police Department spokesman, said his family said he was insulin-dependent.
Investigators will not know if that was a factor until an autopsy’s toxicology reports are complete, and that can take six to eight weeks, Robinson said. “If those are inconclusive, we may never know,” Robinson said.

More information as I get it.
Update: The Tucson Citizen has yet more information.

Which machine gun?

I’m putting away some money for a machine gun in the next year or two, but am having trouble deciding which one I should end up getting. I’m looking at either subguns or automatic rifles, as most rifle-caliber MGs (M1919, M2, etc.) are expensive to buy and expensive to feed. No miniguns for me.
Here’s my current list:

  • Uzi. 9mm is relatively inexpensive. Can fire both semi- and full-auto. Simple operating mechanism (less to go wrong). Parts and magazines are widely available and inexpensive. Only downside: controls are not ambidextrous/lefty-friendly, but not a big problem (I’ve fired Uzis, and it works pretty well even though I’m a lefty.) Cost: between $6,000 and $8,000.
  • Ruger AC-556. Factory chambering in .223, but one can also fire .22LR easily with a simple conversion kit. Parts are widely available. Ruger still provides free warranty service. Can fire semi-auto, full-auto, or three round burst. Uses Garand-style operating mechanism for strength and reliability. Available in both stainless or blued steel. It also doesn’t look terribly scary, and so wouldn’t stand out much unless I switch it to one of the “fun” positions. Cost: between $6,000 and $8,000. Lefty-friendly.
  • M16. Chambered in .223, but one can equip any number of uppers, conversion kits, etc. to change calibers to just about anything. Truly the “lego set” of guns. I’d probably get a DIAS, as I’d be afraid of damaging a registered receiver. Lightning links are also an option, but their fragility troubles me. Cost: around $12,000. Lefty-friendly.
  • MP5. Everyone wants one, so prices are crazy — about $15,000. Registered sears can be easily moved to other HK guns, giving one some flexibility. Long-term durability is somewhat iffy (they’re not as durable as, say, Uzis). Parts and mags are widely available, but not the cheapest thing around. Pretty lefty-friendly.

The warranty service on the AC-556 is a perk, but the relatively thin barrel does heat up fast, so lots of full-mag dumps probably won’t be a good thing. It’s non-scary appearance may be handy in some situations.
M16s are expensive, but have wide industry support. The potential for a future “assault weapons ban” not including machine guns could still affect me, as it would freeze the supply of magazines and possibly other stuff (uppers, barrels, etc.). Troubling.
The MP5 is a fine subgun, but everyone seems to want one, so prices are stupidly high. The Uzi has a much more “crude” appearance (but is perfectly functional), and is about half the price.
I’m not looking for a “safe queen”, so “new in box” guns are probably not a good idea. I intend to shoot such a gun on a regular basis and keep it in good repair, rather than keep it as an investment or collector’s item.
Any thoughts or input?