Say what?

From the VPC‘s post-Heller statement:

Thankfully, because the plaintiff in Heller did not challenge the District’s ban on “machine guns,” Washington, DC?s ban on most semiautomatic weapons, including semiauto handguns, should be unaffected.?

Er, what?
After reading further, this is because DC defines a “machine gun” as any gun ?which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading.” What a bizzare definition.
The VPC also claims,

In contrast [to semi-automatic handguns], revolvers hold only five to six ammunition rounds, fire more slowly, take time to reload, and represent only 27 percent of the handguns manufactured in 2006.

Jerry Miculek disagrees.

A Minor Detail

If we have the determination to reduce the roughly 30,000 people in this country who are shot each year by firearms, to reduce that to zero, we can do it…it is within our ability to do that. We just have to adopt the registration requirement that has been so successful in Canada.
Buford Scott.

I’m not going to address the ludicrous claim that we can reduce gun violence by any significant amount (let alone to zero) by registration. That’s just absurd.
Rather, I’m going to focus on part of his first sentence:

…people in this country who are shot by firearms…

Maybe I’m just being pedantic, but I’ve never heard of anyone being shot by a firearm. Rather, I’ve heard of people being shot by other people with firearms.
The Brady Campaign has a flyer along these lines where they state that “In 2004, guns murdered…11,344 [people] in the United States.” For the sake of the exercise, I’m not going to dispute the numbers, but I suspect that the guns alone didn’t do the murdering…rather, a person used a gun as a means of murdering someone else.
Last time I checked, guns are inanimate objects without any will of their own.
Indeed, Assault Weapon Watch has been closely monitoring an AR-15 for over four years, and it has yet to move, speak, dance, or commit acts of violent crime. It’s just quietly sat there for four years in the corner.
Perhaps it’s a clever ruse on the rifle’s part? Is it behaving as such simply to serve as a decoy, so we won’t pay attention to other guns going out and committing crimes on their own? Who knows?

I Love the World

The Discovery Channel really hit this one out of the park. Really an amazing commercial for an amazing channel.
The only problem I’ve found with doing science is that it’s stupendously amazing and that there’s too damn much of it. I’d love to do just about everything they do on that channel, learn about ancient things, hot magma, space, explosions, and tasty, tasty crab. (Tasty crab is science! Really, honey!) Sadly, the world is too big for an individual to see and do everything…yet at the same time, that’s what makes it amazing.
xkcd has a similarly geeky and awesome comic related to this as well.
Ah, the world is an amazing place.

Heller is Big News

While certainly the news of Heller has been widespread online and in gun communities, I didn’t really expect to see much reporting in “traditional” media like newspapers.
Not many other Supreme Court rulings get a lot of coverage in the papers (as most of them tend to be fairly esoteric and not something most people really want to read headlines about), and usually only get small blurbs on national TV: “The Supreme Court affirmed that the individuals have a right to own guns, and now to Ollie with sports…”
Well, Heller made front-page, above-the-fold news in today’s Wall Street Journal. While not the main headline, it was quite prominent.
Very cool.
Now I just need to see about getting one of those “Come And Take It” flags with the M16 on it. That’d be a fun thing to have on the wall. 🙂

CZ 75

Today I stopped at the local gun shop here in the SF Bay Area (“City Arms“, if anyone’s interested — excellent shop, good guys who run it, good prices.) with one of my gunny friends and perused their wares.
One handgun, in particular, stood out — the CZ 75 Compact (.40 S&W). It fit my hand like a glove, and pointed incredibly naturally. The heft of the gun was moderate (it’s all steel), but not too bad. The DA trigger pull was long and pretty hard, but the SA was shorter and much lighter.
I’ve fired some CZs before, and I’m wondering why I haven’t bought any yet. Oh well, something new to add to the list…only I’d prefer to get it in 9mm rather than .40, mostly due to pricing and the fact that I have gobs of 9mm at home.

Weird departmental email…

From the physics department at the UofA:

Last week, on Tuesday, July 17th, there was an incident involving the behavior of one of our undergraduate students, [name redacted], in the AMS Lab. ?This incident has been under review by the Dean of Students Office for the past week, and was resolved at a meeting yesterday. [name redacted] is no longer a student at The University of Arizona, and is not allowed on campus. ?If any of you who know him see him on campus, please call 911. It is believed that this episode has been resolved satisfactorily.

No further information was provided by the department, and I can’t find anything on the university police or local news sites. I also suspect they meant “June” rather than “July”.
Anyone have further details? I was out of the country at the time.

Heller Affirmed!

From the opinion:

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
The Amendment?s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause?s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Woot. This is Big News(tm). Big enough, in fact, for CNN to run a front-page story on their website. The BBC has the story front-page on their international news page.
The Brady Campaign site is amusing yet sad…the decision is reached, and they immediately start begging for money. The NRA, on the other hand, is business as usual, and has a one-line mention of the ruling in the “NRA Top News Stories” category on their home page.
I’m still reading the opinion, so I’ll post more later when I’ve read it. Other blogs I read (see the blogroll on the right) have a considerable amount of material on the subject, so check them out!
I’d have a celebratory day at the range, but I’m in San Francisco after a multi-week vacation to Europe so all my guns are in the safe in Arizona. I may have to talk to some of my California friends to see about celebrating.

Small World

Time: 0200
Place: US Airways Baggage Service Office, San Francisco International Airport
Background: Short of the wings falling off and the plane plunging to a fiery crash, pretty much everything that could go wrong with the simple Munich-Philadelphia and Philadelphia-San Francisco flight yesterday happened, including missing a flight (and worse, multiple screaming babies crying in a harmony that would make John Williams listen in awe). More later.
Anyway, at 2am at the luggage counter in the otherwise closed-for-the-night airport, another traveller inquired where I was coming from and why. When I replied, “Munich, after visiting other cities in Europe on vacation”, he mentioned that he spent a few years in Germany back in the late 90s. When pressed for more details, it turns out he was a tank crewman with the US Army and was stationed there.
He’s the first armor crewman I’ve met who I didn’t personally serve with. Very cool.
That reminds me, I should see if I still have all the phone numbers and whatnot for the guys from my old armor unit. It’d be fun to meet up and share some beers again.