Note to the Media

Many of you are reporting about a man in Phoenix who was openly carrying a rifle near a venue where President Obama was speaking.
Please note that the firearm carried was an AR-15 variant (it’s not possible to know the exact details without examining the specific rifle). It was not an M-16. It’s also not an “assault rifle” nor an “assault weapon”.
The “AR” part of the name comes from the original name of the rifle, the “Armalite model 15” — “Armalite” was the manufacturer.
While certain states, such as California and Massachusetts may define AR-15 variants as “assault weapons” and regulate their possession, such classifications have no legal meaning or standing outside of those states.
In Arizona, as well as most other states, AR-15 variants are considered to be ordinary, semi-automatic rifles. Indeed, they’re some of the most popular rifles owned by Americans due to their accuracy, ease of customization (a large aftermarket exists to supply a vast variety of parts and accessories), and the fact that the similar-looking M-16 is used by the military of the US and many other foreign nations.
It would be appropriate to refer to an AR-15 rifle in the media as “a rifle” if one doesn’t wish to describe the details (e.g. “a semi-automatic rifle”). As the AR-15 is neither an “assault rifle” nor an “assault weapon”, it is inappropriate to describe it as such.
As an analogy, my Toyota Camry can be referred to as an “automobile”, “car”, “vehicle”, “sedan”, and so on. It would be inappropriate to refer to it as a “sports car”, a “high-powered racing car”, “truck”, etc. even though it may have superficial similarities (e.g. four wheels, engine, etc.) to such vehicles.
Using such terminology reflects poorly on your reputation to provide accurate, truthful, and unbiased news.
I would again like to repeat my previous offer to the media: feel free to contact me with questions regarding firearms and I will, at no cost, provide accurate, reliable, and verifiable information relating to firearms, firearm-related terminology, and so forth. In the event that I am personally unable to do so I will, to the best of my ability, direct you to others who can.

Carrying Responsibly

No doubt people have read the article from the Arizona Republic about Obama’s speech at the VFW national convention.
Unfortunately, the story about the convention seems to be taking a back seat compared to the national health care debate and, unfortunately, a fellow that the Republic describes thusly:

A man, who decided not to give his name, was walking around the pro-health care reform rally at 3rd and Washington streets, with a pistol on his hip, and an AR-15 (a semi-automatic assault weapon) on a strap over his shoulder.

First off, can the health-care folks (on both sides) give it a bit of a rest? The president was speaking to the VFW. Your efforts would probably be better spent rallying your supporters and waiting for a better opportunity. Just saying…
Next, I’d like to address the folks who carry. I’m a strong advocate of carry, both concealed and open. I routinely open carry a pistol in public places, like the movie theater, grocery store, and so on. So far, I’ve had only positive interactions with people.
Now, while one certainly has the right to carry in public in Arizona, this right also comes with responsibility and common sense. It should be common sense that openly carrying a firearm, particularly a rifle, near a function where the President of the United States is speaking will cause a fair bit of alarm and attract attention (almost certainly unwanted) from the public, the news media, the police, and the Secret Service (( You know, the guys on the roof with rifles who are interested in keeping their principal alive and unpunctured. )).
One certainly can openly carry firearms, including rifles, at such events, but it’s probably a bad idea. The best response one can reasonably hope for is being portrayed poorly in the media. Most likely, one’s actions will also reflect poorly on other gun owners. If one is particularly foolish, one might get arrested. At worst, one might get shot.
Fortunately, the police in this situation recognized this individual as a person not presenting a credible threat and, while closely supervising him, let him go about his business. Major kudos to the police and Secret Service. I don’t think we’d see such a reasonable, measured reaction under Bush.
I don’t fault anyone for wanting to carry a gun at public events — tensions have been growing high and there’s been a lot of strong words exchanged at such events. I’d just rather see people do so in such a manner that doesn’t call attention to the fact that one is armed (e.g. concealed), nor reflects poorly on other gun owners.

Being Delusional

?This is going to be implemented in January, and there won’t be any bumps in the road,? said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, a Los Angeles Democrat who carried the legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
?I remain confident,? Feuer continued, ?that it is in fact going to become not only the law in other states, but the law of the land.?

-Mike Feuer, in this article about microstamping in California.
The only other political entity to implement a microstamping law is the District of Columbia, which is about as anti-gun as it gets. I seriously doubt that such a law would ever be enacted in, say, Arizona. Mr. Feuer is clearly off his rocker if he thinks that the technology will (a) work, and (b) ever catch on outside of such bastions of gun control. Even then, the legal hurdles to implementing the technology will be great, few manufacturers will comply, everyone in saner regions of the country will laugh at them, and criminals will remain completely unaffected by such legislation.
The article continues with a rather telling quote:

Many firearms companies are struggling to comply with California’s 2006 mandate that all new handgun models include a loaded chamber indicator and a mechanism that prevents firing when a magazine is removed.
In the more than three years since, just one new semiautomatic model has been approved by the state. Two others are pending, Gasparac [the attorney general’s press secretary] said.
Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. is the only gun maker to date that has overcome that hurdle. The company’s general counsel said he has ?grave concerns? about whether microstamping is feasible.
?The problem I have with this is it can’t be done,? said Kevin Reid, Ruger’s general counsel. ?The legislation says it has to work 100 percent of the time and there is nobody, nobody including Todd Lizotte [inventor of the microstamping technology] himself, who would say it will always work.?

I’m pretty sure the Ruger MkIII .22LR pistol is the gun they’re referring to. Even so, it’s not as nice as the MkII. Granted, I have a MkIII because it was available at the shop here in Tucson when I was craving a .22 pistol, but I removed the magazine disconnect (I refuse to call it a “safety”) and have considered removing the loaded chamber indicator.
Having a California-specific line of handguns is going to be rather expensive for manufacturers, and I seriously doubt that any of the major manufacturers will bother complying with the law. Sucks to be Californians, but such is the way of things until they go to court.
The article concludes with this:

For Feuer, the time has come to move past the debate and implement the law.
?The bottom line is this technology is going to help put criminals behind bars,? he said. ?We should do it.?

No, Mr. Feuer, it won’t. Criminals are not going to buy their guns from retail stores, register them with the state, and then use them in a crime where they can be trivially traced back to them. Rather, criminals will continue to acquire their firearms illegally, be it from theft, straw purchasing, inter-state smuggling, international smuggling, or any of the other numerous sources they get them from.
There are hundreds of millions of handguns not equipped with microstamping features. If there’s a demand for non-microstamped guns in California, someone (quite possibly a criminal enterprise) will fill it.
Rather than passing silly laws that have no real effect on criminals but infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens, why don’t they simply enforce the already existing laws that they don’t presently prosecute criminals with?

SWAT

According to the news, a suicidal man — said to be armed with a handgun — has barricaded himself inside his house three blocks from my apartment.
Of course, TPD decided to do a full SWAT callout, evacuate ~15 houses around the guy, and cordon off a few blocks around the house.
What the hell is wrong with people?
It’s one guy, suicidal, with a gun. Put a cop outside the front and back of the house in a concealed position and get a crisis counselor to call the guy on the phone. If he doesn’t come out, wait him out.
To me, SWAT seems more suited for a hostage situation, active shooter, or some other situation that requires (here it comes) Special Weapons And Tactics, not a lone suicidal guy. What the heck are they going to do against a suicidal guy, shoot him?
I guess they need to justify the expense, huh?

Answering Search Terms

will m16 mag fit sr 556

Yes. Ruger SR 556 lowers accept standard STANAG (“M16” or “AR-15”) magazines.

can lake city? 308 win brass be reloaded

Yes. Lake City brass is good stuff. However, military brass tends to be a bit thicker and so has smaller internal volume, so it’d behoove you to reduce your loads by about 10% when switching from commercial to military brass, then testing with a chronograph while making adjustments. Be particularly aware of signs of high-pressure (see your loading manual) when using military cases. Reloading military cases is perfectly safe, so long as you’re careful and realize that they’re slightly different from commercial cases.

New Shooter Report

Rita and Teresa have been accompanying me to the range for some time. They are regulars at turning ammo into smiles.
Interestingly enough, Teresa happens to be dating Nolan, Rita’s brother. Now that Nolan has moved to Tucson for school and had never been shooting before, we all figured it’d be a good thing to take him out to go shooting. So we did…








Once again, it was a beautiful (albeit hot) day in Tucson. Thank goodness the Tucson Rifle Club has overhead shades for the firing line.
Rita, myself, and my med student friend Ian spent a few hours on Saturday reloading .223. Out of the 120 or so rounds we fired today, there were only three failures (( Two were jams due to the out-of-round bullets we’re using. One was due to one of the rounds having some goopy black residue on it. )), none of them dramatic (( Note for reloaders: double-check your bullet weights against the load data tables. I foolishly assumed that we were using 55gr bullets as that was what I normally load and picked a middle-of-the-road load from the tables. Turns out we were using 62gr bullets and the powder charge we were using turned out to be rather near the never-exceed range for .223. Eep. Fortunately, we never actually crossed the never-exceed line, and even so the loads were several thousand PSI below the 5.56mm NATO pressure spec, which is what the rifle was rated for. Fortunately, we discovered this condition at the reloading bench after we loaded a few hundred rounds, so we were able to confirm that the loads would be safe by consulting the tables. The rifle did not explosively self-destruct, which is good. )). It’s nice actually having some .223 ammo, as my ARs are quite voracious.
I had also dug about in my closet and found some .30-06 reloads, so we were able to shoot the M1 (Rita has a bit of a love affair with my M1, and really enjoys shooting it.) a bit. Shooting the M1 seems to be a family trait, as Nolan also greatly enjoyed shooting it. There’s something immensely satisfying about recoil, .30 caliber bullets, and large dust clouds behind one’s targets.
As usual, the suppressed Ruger 10/22 was a big hit, as were the Ruger MkIII and Glock 19 pistols. Fun was, as usual, had by all.
The fall semester starts up again in about a month, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find some new shooters to take to the range then. For now, I’m happy that I managed to get another new shooter out to the range. When Rita and Nolan’s parents are in town, I may have to take the whole family out shooting.

Tucson Ammo Availability

It appears as though ammo is getting to be somewhat more available, even if it is a bit more pricey.
As of the other day, the Tucson Sportsman’s Warehouse has a few dozen boxes of .223 Remington, which has been completely bare for the last few months. Murphy’s Guns has, for some unknown reason, had constant availability of Prvi Partizan M193 5.56mm NATO rounds for the last few months at not-unreasonable-for-retail prices. Now they’ve got a wider variety of 5.56mm/.223, such as 200-round packs of Federal American Eagle (which has been completely gone for months).
While Murphy’s prices for non-Prvi .223/5.56mm ammo is a bit steep, it’s not wholly unreasonable for the current market, and its good to see ammo back in stock.
Primers, though, are a different matter: nearly everyone I’ve asked is either critically low or completely out of primers. Murphys has some CCI Large Rifle primers for $33/1000, which seems rather high to me. Again, though, it’s nice to at least see some primers rather than none, even if the current stocks are closer to “none” than “some”.
I can’t wait for this stupid buying crisis to be over.

Beverage of Choice

It’s been recently reported that North Carolina may soon legalize (( I hate using that term, as the default state of rights is “on” — laws shouldn’t ever need to “allow” something, as all actions that don’t infringe on others rights are, by default, “on” unless a law exists that restricts them. )) beer tastings, bringing them to parity with existing laws on wine tasting.
My response: “Took you long enough!” The depths of stupidity that alcohol-related laws in various states plumb amaze me sometimes. What possible reasons could there be to prohibit the public sampling of various beers?
Of course, there’s always someone who has to be a downer:

Criticism of his proposal comes from social conservatives who say beer has more potential for abuse than wine.
Beer is ?disproportionately consumed in hazardous amounts,? said the Rev. Mark Creech, director of the Christian Action League of N.C., which says beer accounts for 81 percent of all alcohol drunk in such excessive amounts.
It’s also ?the beverage of choice for underage drinkers,? Creech told lawmakers.

This “[insert-item-here] of choice” logic (( It’s hardly logical. )) seems to be something that anti-rights people share, whether they’re opposed to upstanding people possessing guns, sampling beer, or other similar things.
Just as a criminal using a handgun to rob a convenience store should have no bearing whatsoever on my ability to acquire, own, and use handguns in a safe, responsible manner, underage drinkers drinking beer (( Most likely because it’s cheap and “gets the job done.” )) should have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not an adult should be able to go to a public beer tasting.
Do some people drink alcohol to excess? Absolutely. Does beer make up the majority of alcohol drunk to excess? I have no idea, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. Is beer the “beverage of choice” for underage drinkers? I don’t doubt it. Even so, those claims do not matter, because we’re talking about beer tasting in licensed retail stores by adults. The law even limits someone to four (down from six) 2-ounce samples (which I find absurd) per event — that’s two-thirds of a single can of beer. What’s the problem here?
Remember, gun control isn’t about guns — it’s about control. The same thing goes for alcohol control laws.
Anyone find any other topics where “[something] of choice” was an argument used by someone trying to make or keep something illegal or restricted? What about citing the illegal actions and behaviors of minors or criminals in an attempt to restrict the actions of law-abiding adults?