British Raid Safe Deposit Boxes

The Daily Mail has more.
Honestly, the only good thing I see coming out of that raid is the picture where the cops are displaying good trigger discipline. Everything else seems completely outrageous.
They also show a picture of a “gun” found during the raid:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but that looks completely different from any Glock pistol I’ve ever seen. The finger grooves suggest that it’s a third-generation Glock (previous generations didn’t have the grooves), but everything else seems suspicious: there’s no metal rails on the receiver for the slide to run on, the barrel’s “breech block” is grossly oversized and looks to be made out of plastic, there’s no ejector, the spring and guide rod in the baggie don’t look anything like the type of spring (real Glocks have a flat, coiled spring instead of the round, coiled spring displayed here) or guide rod (real Glocks have a plastic guide rod that holds the spring captive), the texture on the grip looks wrong, and the flat “label” at the bottom of the grip doesn’t exist on the left side of Glock pistols. Additionally, there’s no “GLOCK” emblem on the grip.
I’d show a picture of my Glock 19, but it has a Hogue sleeve on the grip, and so conceals the left side of the grip. As such, I’ll present this image of a third-generation Glock 17 that I found from Google Image Search:

Note the differences?
If the police and newspapers can’t identify a fake pistol (probably an airsoft knockoff), dare I ask how accurate the rest of the claims made by the police are?
While I have no doubt that some of the boxes raided belonged to criminals, I’d suspect that many of the boxes belonged to ordinary, law-abiding people. Hopefully they can get their stuff back. Good luck getting anyone to keep stuff in safe deposit boxes in the future.

On Getting Mugged

Caleb got mugged.
Threatening a competitive shooter with a knife is almost certainly a bad idea.
Fortunately, it ended with no shots being fired, Caleb being unstabbinated, and the bad guy suffering from HotCoffeeToTheFace Syndrome.
It also goes to show you that a Beretta Jetfire in .25 ACP is a “gun that you carry when you can’t carry a gun” — Caleb wears business casual to work, so concealing a full-size pistol is a bit difficult. Nevertheless, his Jetfire saved the day.

That Was Quick

From an email from the NRA:

Earlier this year, Assemblyman Curt Hagman introduced Assembly Bill 373 related to the sales of handguns.? AB373 was sponsored by the National Rifle Association in order to streamline the ability for law-abiding Californians to purchase handguns.

Now that Governor Schwarzenegger has signed AB962 into law, people are already becoming aware of the damage that it will do to California and it’s citizens.? Therefore, the NRA and Assemblyman Hagman have agreed to amend AB373 into legislation that would repeal AB962.? The newly amended AB373 will be heard in the State Legislature in January of 2010 so we must be ready for these hearings.

All of California’s firearms owners, dealers, shooters, hunters, collectors, clubs/organizations, and ammunition vendors, should be prepared to join in this effort to repeal AB962.? This will not be an easy fight, but it is possible to win if we all stick together and act in an organized manner.

We, the NRA, will have specific activities that everyone can participate in during this important effort.? Please stand-by and be prepared to help.? There is no good reason not to be part of the team.

Read the NRA-ILA News Release regarding Governor Schwarzenegger’s counter-productive signing of AB962 at http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/NewsReleases.aspx?ID=12998 .

As a first-step in this process; please contact Assemblyman Curt Hagman and thank him for demonstrating his leadership by using his legislation (AB373) for this very important effort to repeal AB962.? His office phone number is 916-319-2060 and you can email him at [email protected].

On California Ammo Laws

With the enactment of the new California law requiring the registration of ammo purchases, what’s to prevent someone from ordering a substantial quantity of ammunition, having it shipped to someone in a neighboring state (e.g. Oregon, Nevada, or Arizona), driving over, picking it up, and bringing it back?
As far as I can tell, nothing prevents this from occurring.
I’m almost tempted to start up such a service for California residents, except that:

  • My apartment is small, and my landlord would object to my having a few tons of ammo in my apartment.
  • I think there’s a no-running-a-business-from-the-apartment clause in my lease, probably to keep drug dealers from plying their trade.

I suspect that U-Haul rentals for round-trips between Los Angeles-Phoenix (and San Francisco-Reno) will increase substantially in the next year or so.

Guns on Campus

As of the beginning of the month, it’s legal to store firearms inside locked vehicles in the parking lots of universities in Arizona.
Naturally, there’s been a small, but relatively minor, amount of PSH about this whole issue. One of the comments submitted to the Daily Wildcat — the University of Arizona’s daily newspaper — was from Brett Wolgemuth, a systems engineering graduate student who was an undergrad at Virginia Tech on that fateful day in April in 2007.
I’ve commented on a few of his sentences below:

Allowing firearms on campus under any condition is a recipe for disaster.

Oh? Care to cite historical data that would back this claim up? Police carry guns on campus all the time without any problems, and citizens in several other states (such as Utah, among others) have carried concealed firearms on campuses for some time without issues.

It only takes one incident in a parking lot, or near a car for someone to go off.

I don’t disagree. However, this is exceedingly unlikely — there’s a vast number of firearms owners in this country, and only the tiniest number of them just “go off” every year. I’d be far more concerned with someone getting mugged, assaulted, or raped in a campus parking lot.

Yes, I do have faith in my fellow man, but I?m not willing to bet my life on it.

Same here. That’s why I carry nearly everywhere I’m not legally forbidden to do so, but I digress.

The law not only allows people to conceal guns in their cars, but they do not have to have a concealed weapons permit to do it. Correct me if I?m wrong, but that would mean that anyone with a gun could come onto campus and have it concealed in his car.

That is, as best as I understand the law, correct. Considering that one can openly carry firearms just about anywhere in Arizona without any permits or background checks at all and there’s essentially no incidents of misbehavior by such people, I hardly see what the problem is. While concealed weapons permits are available to those wishing to carry discreetly, the law does not require such a permit to transport or store a firearm, even a loaded one, in a vehicle’s storage compartments so long as it’s in a holster or other similar case (so as to prevent accidential discharge).
What’s the problem?

Some of you may say that this would act as a deterrent. You make one critical assumption, you assume that a majority of people have a firearm, have brought it on campus, and are willing to use it in case they need to defend themselves.

I think that Mr. Wolgemuth is somewhat confused: the purpose of allowing the storage of arms in cars is not for self-defense on campus. Nobody is thinking that, in the event of a violent crime, they’ll be able to flee the building, run to the parking lot (almost always located around the perimeter of campus), retrieve their personal firearm, then return to be a Big Damn Hero(tm).
Rather, it’s for people who legally carry their firearms while not on campus — if the university prohibits the storage of arms in private vehicles on campus, that infringes on the rights of people who commute to school and wish to carry while traveling to and from the university.

Also, if you believe that you need to bring a gun on campus to feel safe, why would you go to a school where you don?t feel safe?

Feeling safe has nothing to do with actually being safe, as has been tragically demonstrated in various places in the last few years: Luby’s Cafeteria, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. The University of Arizona has even had a similar violent incident in its past. Clearly it’s been demonstrated that violent acts can occur anywhere, regardless of how safe one feels.

There is a reason we have a dedicated police department.

So did Virginia Tech. Fat lot of good it did them.
So does Tucson, but there’s still a substantial number of victims of violent crimes. I bet they “felt safe” prior to being victimized.
The police can’t be everywhere at once, nor can they respond instantly. Indeed, the courts have ruled that the police have no duty to protect someone from harm.

Although this is not a response to gun control, it inevitably comes back to it.

He’s right — gun control doesn’t work. It didn’t work at Columbine, it didn’t work at Virginia Tech, and it didn’t work at the University of Arizona’s nursing school. What makes one think that repealing a useless prohibition on storing firearms in a locked vehicle on campus will have any bearing on increased rates of violent crime?

As much as I believe that people have a right to defend themselves, I hope that people realize what this law means and take steps to rectify this in the future.

Indeed, it means that people who can legally defend themselves off-campus while in transit to and from the university can now legally store their firearms in their locked vehicles while parked on campus. No more, no less.
I’m curious what Mr. Wolgemuth has against such people, and why he wants to “rectify” this legal change when it would strip rights from law-abiding people?
Indeed, Mr. Wolgemuth’s comments make a pretty solid case for allowing people to legally carry concealed on campus — no place, even a “weapon-free zone” like a university campus, can be completely safe from crime. I, like Mr. Wolgemuth, think that the average person is decent and honest, but not everyone is, and I’m not willing to bet my life on it. There’s plenty of violent crime on college campuses, why not allow law-abiding people to have the ability to protect themselves?

Observations of a Gunfight


(Video courtesy of CBS News)
Evidently there was a gunfight in Toledo, Ohio on October 8th.
According to the police (as reported by CBS), there were five gunmen involved in a fight. The fight was evidently sparked when the barman asked a patron selling marijuana to leave.
I’ve made a few observations:

  • Security cameras always seem to produce video inadequate to identify people depicted in the image.
  • The barman rapidly produces his cellphone, presumably to call the police, after the first fight starts.
  • Many people fled immediately. This is smart.
  • Some people remained to engage in a gun battle. This is stupid, particularly if the police are on the way.
  • Running back into the building to engage in further gun battle is really stupid.
  • There were no observable weapon malfunctions. Whether this is due to regular maintenance by the gunmen, luck, or some other condition is unknown.
  • It is illegal for people to carry firearms in establishments that serve alcohol in Ohio. They did so anyway. Clearly, criminals are not deterred by nor do they obey such laws.
  • If you wish to hit your target, aiming is important. These individuals did not aim well.
  • Very few objects in a bar offer cover, rather than concealment.
  • All participants in the gunfight used semi-auto pistols, rather than revolvers. According to the police, 17 casings were found at the scene. This is a substantial amount of evidence for police.

Based on these observations, I’ll be bold enough to make? a few recommendations:

  • Avoid gunfights wherever possible.
  • This can usually be accomplished by staying out of seedy places and staying away from seedy people.
  • You should be aware of the mood in a bar. If things start getting tense, seriously consider leaving.
  • Once things go tits-up (e.g. a fight starts), it’s time to leave. Now.
  • If, for some reason, you decide to stick around after the barfight, be aware of patrons drawing guns. Once this happens, there is no possible way that the situation will improve. Get out. Now.
  • Gunfights are like fires: you should flee in the most expedient manner possible and remain out of harms way. I can’t think of a single reason why an everyday person should ever consider returning to a gunfight. You should absolutely not, under any circumstances, return to the gunfight to continue fighting.
  • If you are deploying security cameras, get good ones. High-quality video and sound recording is very useful.
  • If it is necessary to call 911, it’s preferably to do so from a landline phone. This has the advantage of immediately displaying the exact address of the phone that placed the call, which can speed police response considerably.
  • Violent criminals do not obey the law, and violent crime can occur anywhere.
  • If you are willing and able to carry in a safe and responsible manner, do so. While fleeing to safety is almost always the best thing to do (and fortunately seemed to be possible for every innocent bystander in this incident), it’s not always possible — a gun can give one a fighting chance of surviving and escaping if left with no other option.

Of course, the best advice of all is to simply avoid fights and, by extension, gunfights.

Voiding Warranties

Ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve been curious about everything — it might explain why I got into science.
As an adult, this curiosity has persisted. One of the more practical aspect of this curiosity is taking stuff apart to see how it works. This has been particularly handy when dealing with firearms.
Take, for example, my Marlin 336 rifle — it was made sometime in the 1960s and I bought it on consignment about 5 years ago. Fine rifle, and looks to have been very gently used. I’ve kept the barrel and the parts accessible after a basic field-strip well-oiled with Break-Free CLP, but never really got into the guts of the action, nor took off the wood and magazine tube.
After yesterday’s Great Re-Zeroing and Caleb’s admonition to inspect the bolts of one’s AR-15s, I figured I’d go through all the firearms I own, detail strip them, clean every part, lightly oil all the internal parts to prevent corrosion, and then lubricate them according to their respective manuals. Glocks and ARs are easy, as I do this about once or twice a year for them, but I have never taken apart the Marlin.
Although the Marlin is constructed very simply out of large, durable parts, there’s a lot of screws and two barrel bands. There’s a very specific order — which I found by trial and error — to removing everything. Since the barrel bands hadn’t ever been removed, I gently tapped them off (( My small tools for working on guns are on loan to a friend, so I gently used a claw hammer to tap a brass .50 BMG case to carefully remove them without marring the finish. )). Unfortunately, I added a few very minor scratches to the quite-shiny, blued receiver and around the screw holes on the barrel band. Hardly noticeable, but it irks me a bit.
After thoroughly cleaning, oiling, and greasing the appropriate parts of the gun, I managed to get it all back together. A few hours spent this afternoon concluded with a more thorough understanding of how the mechanism works and will serve me well if I ever need to work on it in the future.
While some might not find much value in understanding all the little mechanisms that make up their gun, I do, and I strongly recommend that others explore the working parts of their own guns, for cleaning, at the very least.