Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Strange story. Seems the gun was stolen two years ago, but is just now being reported? Neat. I’m sure that whoever stole it is out there right now preventing crime with it. I’m sure of it. Sure. Of. It.
Location: Anchor Point, AK
Case Number: 10-24072
Type: Theft II
Text: On 03-24-10, at approximately 1645 hours, Russell Wingerd 73yoa of
Palmer, AK reported to State Troopers that on or about May 30, 2008 a
.380 AMT hand gun was stolen from his vehicle while it was parked Sleepy
Bear Cabins in Anchor Point. Wingerd valued the firearm at $200.00.
Troopers are investigating.
Because we have statewide preemption, and no statewide lost and stolen ordinance, then there's no obligation to immediately report stolen guns. Although of course that doesn't stop grabbers in other states like PA from trying, as Sebastian reports on occasionally. Now, I probably would because my guns are insured, and I'd likely need a police report to claim the insurance. However, I don't think it should be legally required.
Lost and stolen ordinances requiring owners to immediately report lost guns is a favorite gun grabber tactic. It sounds like a "reasonable" law to protect police from stolen guns. However, I don't think it serves any purpose at all other than to hassle law abiding gun owners.
- Without a systematic registration of all firearms, licensing of all owners, and banning of private party sales, lost and stolen doesn't help the police keep track of where a firearm is. And all those other measures are not helpful against crime either; they are just precursors to confiscation or intended to make owning a firearm incredibly difficult.
- Many lost and stolen ordinances are written in a manner that makes law abiding citizens (victims, even) criminals. For example, many say the crime must be reported within 48 hours, no exceptions. So if you go on vacation for a week, are burglarized on Monday, and don't report it until you return home on Friday, you're a criminal -- not a victim of theft.
- Plenty of criminals acquire guns legally because they are not prohibited persons before they commit their crime. Lost and stolen does nothing to stop this.
- Supporters say it is a way to deal with straw purchasers. Straw purchasing is already illegal. Why don't we enforce the laws already on the books?
- Making a false statement to the police is already illegal. So, if this person in Anchor Point lied to the cops now about his gun being stolen two years ago to cover up some other crime (like transferring the gun to a prohibited person, i.e. a straw purchase), its already illegal for several reasons -- why make it more illegaler?
Its been awhile since we've talked about Gwen's blogging. Here's the actual police report:
As usual, the tags are absolute nonsense. Additionally, so is her post. The NRA doesn't defend criminals. The NRA defends responsible, law abiding gun owners. I really don't get why anti-gunners think that what they do about the NRA.Location: Fairbanks
Case Number: 10-23796
Type: Criminal Mischief III
Text: On March 23, 2010 at 1340 hours, Alaska State Troopers were
contacted by a Steve Nolan of Fairbanks reporting a South Cushman area
business finding substantial damage to parked trucks from gunshots.
Investigations revealed 2 Kenworth tractors sustained broken door glass,
holes in doors and roofs, and upholstery damage caused by gunshots.
Anyone with information please call Alaska State Troopers at 451-5100.
First off, they are not some sort of huge, monolithic entity. The NRA has actual grassroots supporters and doesn't dictate some sort of nationwide strategy from its secret HQ in DC. I think this is very confusing as many anti-gun organizations ARE monolithic entities whose membership largely consists solely of people who receive mailings and occasionally send in checks.
Second, the NRA has some of the shooting community's most robust safety training programs out there. They do a ton of good work educating shooters, instructors, range safety officers, range designers, and kids. The NRA has a legal defense fund and I have never heard of them defending the rights of some obviously criminal clown or vandal.
If this guy is caught, he should be tried and if found guilty of a prohibiting offense then denied his right to bear arms. If guilty of a misdemeanor, then he pays his fine or does his time and hopefully learns a lesson. You can't preemptively disarm everyone because one or two people mess it up. After all, lots of vandalism occurs with spray paint but we don't ban paint sales in hardware stores to everyone. Oh... wait. They think about it in California...
If 1 oz of gold -- or a nice rifle, or a quality musical instrument -- could be traded for a really nice suit back in 1902, it still can only be traded for a really nice suit today. Its real purchasing power doesn't tend to increase a whole lot (other than if prices in general go down due to increased supply). The only thing you can get with commodities is capital appreciation or capital gains (from inflation). Often, those inflation-based gains are taxed at 28% as collectibles. Now, this isn't always a bad thing; commodities are a good way to protect your current wealth. Just don't expect it to grow a whole lot, unless you are timing the markets and taking advantage of short-term price swings (which statistically most people cannot pull off).
In my opinion, an investment, on the other hand, generates some sort of positive revenue stream because it is actually productive and creates wealth. For example, money in a savings account is used by the fractional reserve banking system to generate profits for the bank, so the bank pays you some interest. Stock in Pepsi pays dividends because the company adds value to soda water and sells it for profit. A property can be rented to tenants.
Unlike the aforementioned investments, buying gold or guns as "investments" is only one step removed from shoving cash under a mattress. That money is not working for you at all. It also lacks liquidity. Commodities are basically resources shoved under a mattress that lack liquidity but have greater protection from inflation.
If you want to invest but are leery of traditional financial investments, then try to find a way to put your savings to work. For example, investing in a local small business that you feel has a good, recession-proof business model could be an option. A rental property can create an income stream. Purchasing tools and training for a viable home-based small business of your own is a revenue-bearing investment. However, most of these sorts of options may have even higher risk than traditional investments; over 80% of small businesses fail. While we may see inflation in the future, I think the chance of hyperinflation wiping out the value of my CDs in the next 12 months is less than the risk that a small business will fail.
I'm not suggesting that you ditch all of your commodities. But, I'd suggest seeing them as insurance or hedges, not as growing investments. Money tied up in a 10/22 target rifle in the safe is not producing more baby 10/22 carbines that increase wealth. Money tied up in Ruger stock is.
Plus, those commodities in the vast majority of likely situations are less useful than a fistful of cash; they are much less liquid; the main advantage is that they preserve wealth in inflationary times. Additionally, you incur storage costs (insurance on physical cash, musical instruments, gold, firearms, etc runs ~1-2% of their value every year). People who hope for massive capital appreciation are basically hoping that demand will go up dramatically (hyperinflation, or a situation where gold/guns/musical instruments rapidly become widely popular) or supply will go down dramatically (for example, a new AWB).
Even if we did have an unlikely situation such as skyrocketing overnight hyperinflation with no warning, I'm pretty sure that trading in commodities like gold and guns would rapidly become highly restricted (i.e., difficult and with high transaction costs). For example, even under current law, you'd be responsible for that 28% collectibles tax to the IRS, and I'd think that the IRS would crack down hard on "under the table" barter if we did see hyperinflation. Trading in illicit/restricted goods tends to make a few dealers and smugglers wealthy. Just because you have a safe full of "ballistic wampum" or gold rounds does not mean that you'll be able to trade them to Uncle Vinnie the Smuggler for a fair price.
I think a lot of people like to see their gun safe as an "investment." They say, "Oh, it is ok I didn't max out my Roth IRA this year because I invested in some new guns." But they don't think one step further and realize that their gun safe is not creating new wealth for them; at best, it is merely safeguarding wealth they've already acquired and more likely its an excuse to justify buying more toys. Many of the commodities are really liabilities in that they take money out of your pocket every month (insurance, maintenance, storage costs), not assets that put money into your pocket every month. I'm not saying don't buy guns; I'm just saying don't kid yourself about their value as an investment or as an asset.
Commodities = Insurance to protect wealth
Investments = Wealth working to create more wealth
The problem with the left handed bolt gun is that it will end up running a ton of dough: About $500 for a new Remington 700 + $200 to scope it properly (or put on decent iron sights) +$200 to get the stock cut down. At $900 you might as well start looking at semiautos or even AR-10s/M1As. The entire point of a bolt gun is to be affordable, after all.
One of the excellent folks over at AK Shooters suggested I check out one of these, though. Rossi has a single shot .308 for <$200 retail with 12.5" length of pull. While I originally knocked the single shot for loss of utility compared to the price -- which is true, if you're comparing a $200 single shot to a $350 Remington 770 -- I think its a pretty good deal compared to ~$900 for a left handed bolt gun. NEF also makes single shot "Handirifles" but the only ones with short lengths of pull are in the necked down cartridges (.243, etc).
While break actions aren't the most accurate in the world I think they'll be within minute of deer...
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Remington offers several versions of their Model 700 for lefties:
- Classic Deluxe (CDL) - 24" barrel, classic wood & blued look
- Special Purpose Synthetic (SPS) Varmint - 26" barrel, "EBR" look
- SPS Compact - Ahhah! A Youth stock! It has a 12 3/8" length of pull, which is probably just about right. Perfect. However, the writeup says it is only available in two calibers (neither .308).
- SPS - Apparently this is different from the Varmint and Compact models...
Savage also has a few choices. No compact "youth" models though.
- Hunter (11FLNS) - 22" barrel, 41.75" overall, and 6.5 lbs.
- Package (10 GLXP3) - 22" barrel, 42" overall, and 7.25 lbs
- I did find one on Gander Mountain, but its unclear what model this is
- M77 Hawkeye Standard LH - These all feature a 13.5" length of pull. 7 lbs.
- M77 Hawkeye African LH - Not chambered in .308.
- M77 Hawkeye Compact Magnum LH - These have some 13" length of pull stocks but are not in common calibers.
- The M77 Compact - Has a 12.5" length of pull but is only available right handed. It might be possible to get a compact and a left handed standard and switch the stocks.
Mossberg: Don't see anything in .308, and they generally don't do the left handed thing.
Marlin: The Marlin Express line uses .308 marlin, which is a proprietary lever gun ammo (probably due to the tubular magazine). Their XS7 bolt action doesn't come with iron sights and doesn't seem to have left handed models. Fail.
Browning: The BLR Lightweight is a lever gun (ambidexterous, good) that can use standard .308 winchester (good). The bad thing is that the stock is too long and its expensive. It is a beautiful gun though.
So, bottom line, it looks like it comes down to the Remington, Ruger, or Savage options. Either way, there will be some swapping of stocks, addition of an after-market stock, or modification of wood stocks required.
- Same caliber
- Same magazines as the "A" team (or no magazines required)
- Commonality of accessories
- Still effective "enough" for basic applications
- Some unique utility compared to the "A" team"
- Significantly cheaper (defined as 1/2 the price or less)
HANDGUNS: HiPoint, Kel-Tec, or Surplus Revolver
A S&W M&P, Glock, or similar "standard tier" handgun costs ~$450. To be an economic "B" team handgun, the price has to come in <$225. There are a few options:
- HiPoint Semiautos: The only option there that's in the same standard semiauto caliber is the HiPoint. So, the "B" team is a HiPoint. The unique capability that adding a HiPoint gives you is the option to get a companion carbine that takes the same magazine.
- Kel-Tec .32 Semiautos: If sharing cartridge commonality isn't a factor, then the Kel-Tec is an option too, as it offers a small "deep concealment" option.
- .22 LR Revolvers (and a few semiautos): I don't consider the .22 LR options to be a credible self-defense caliber. Its better considered in its own category, although owning a .22 LR handgun makes sense for cheap practice.
- Used revolvers: Finally, if you already have investment in a revolver caliber, that may be an option too.
The baseline option here, in my opinion, is either a somewhat customized Ruger 10/22 or similar, which will come in around $300-500 (depending on your level of customization).
Below $150, there are a wide variety of single shot rifle options. However, for a few bucks more, you can get semiautos: the Savage 64, Mossberg 702, or Marlin 795. I would also look real hard at the Marlin 60, a tube fed semiauto .22. They have a great reputation, are very affordable, and won't require you to maintain a separate stock of magazines like the other three options do.
SHOTGUNS: Used double barrel, or go with a Mossberg 500
The baseline option is a pump Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 with a few accessories, coming in at around $350. So again, the goal is something below $175. There aren't many options down there.
There are a fair number of single shot guns around $100 (or perhaps a bit more). These are ok but pretty limited in application. New England Arms (a Chinese company) makes pumps that come in under $200 so that might be an option. Most side by sides or over-unders are above the price window, but if you can get a deal on one used that might be an option.
I think this is a category where its hard to do better than the baseline unless you find a deal on a used gun. I think a single shot may just be too limited. Its not adequate for self defense and even its hunting or skeet applications are limited.
.308 "BATTLE" RIFLES: 4+1 Bolt
My "dream" baseline rifle is an M1A in .308. These run about $1400. A "B" team rifle would have to come in somewhere below $700. Luckily there seem to be quite a few options down below there.
Remington, Rossi, and New England make single shot options for around $200. For another $100-200, you can move up to a bolt action 4+1 like the Remington 770. Left-handed bolt guns seem to be more expensive still, around $500 such as the Remington 700. The first semiautos don't show up until you hit the $600-700 price point.
Like I thought with the shotguns, I think a single shot might be too limited. I wouldn't want to go bear hunting with a single shot rifle! The $300 Remington 770 4+1 bolt rife sounds like an excellent value. I also like the Remington 700. It is in use as a military sniper rifle which attests to its ruggedness and accuracy, and its available in left handed versions. There is much more aftermarket support for the 770 than the 700.
An entry level semiauto could be an option, but for $700, you're halfway to an M1A. I might just prefer to make do with a bolt gun and then save pennies for a semiauto.
.223 "VARMINT" RIFLES: 4+1 Bolt
One quick comparison here -- the AK-47 7.62 x 39 has an easy to select understudy: the SKS.
The queen of the .223 however is the AR-15. Putting together a good AR-15 probably costs between $800 and $1400. Let's say $1K for a baseline. So, a "B" team would have to come in under $500, and maybe under $400.
There are some options down there. As usual, single shot rifles are the cheapest. Rossi and New England both have offerings for around $200. But again, I think single shot rifles may sacrifice too much utility. In the mid-$300s, Stevens offers a 4+1 bolt gun which I think is really the first serious contender.
The Mini-14 is probably the closest to a .223 SKS and was probably the first option to jump to mind for most folks. Its likely the cheapest decent semiauto and is pretty common. The problem here is that I think its too expensive. A mini-14 costs just under $700. For a few hundred more bucks you could look at a decent AR. You're sacrificing a whole lot of utility for not a lot of cost savings. If the Mini-14 could come in below $500 I think it'd be worth looking at more carefully, but its just too pricey.
One niche where I think the "B" team can shine is in combo guns. For example, a Savage 24 with .223 over 12 gauge gives you a shotgun and a varmint rifle in one. They are specialized but seem great for small game or gardens.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
The article says that the Connecticut plant is going to be closed. The company hopes to continue making guns but has not announced a new location. This makes me sad as I really like both of my marlin lever guns.
I don't really understand this entirely; Marlin's offerings in at least the rimfire world are incredibly affordable. The Marlin 60 for example comes in at half the price of the 10/22. I'm not sure why they couldn't just increase prices somewhat.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The AK Department of Public Safety puts out a good brochure with all the major gun laws compiled. Its worth reviewing and having a print out of. Additionally, the statues are also posted online in several places for review in their entirety.
The relevant statute is 11.61.210.A.7, "Misconduct Involving Weapons in the Fourth Degree." It states:
This seems pretty clear to me. You can have an unloaded gun on school grounds as long as its in the trunk of your car or in a closed case. One question is, what is "possess?" Do I still "possess" something if I am not physically in the car? Can I park my car with an unloaded handgun in the trunk and then leave the vehicle to go do something else?
(7) other than a preschool, elementary, junior high, or secondary school student, knowingly possesses a deadly weapon or a defensive weapon, without the permission of the chief administrative officer of the school or district or the designee of the chief administrative officer, within the buildings of, on the grounds of, or on the school parking lot of a public or private preschool, elementary, junior high, or secondary school, on a school bus while being transported to or from school or a school-sponsored event, or while participating in a school-sponsored event, except that a person 21 years of age or older may possess
(A) a deadly weapon, other than a loaded firearm, in the trunk of a motor vehicle or encased in a closed container in a motor vehicle;
(B) a defensive weapon;
(C) an unloaded firearm if the person is traversing school premises in a rural area for the purpose of entering public or private land that is open to hunting and the school board with jurisdiction over the school premises has elected to have this exemption apply to the school premises; in this subparagraph, "rural" means a community with a population of 5,500 or less that is not connected by road or rail to Anchorage or Fairbanks or with a population of 1,500 or less that is connected by road or rail to Anchorage or Fairbanks...
Additionally, there is a MIW statute that bumps up many offenses one degree if you do them on school property. So don't carry guns if you're a prohibited person, or otherwise be an idiot.
Of course, the feds have to get involved too. The relevant statute is US Code Title 18 Part 1 chapter 44 § 930, the so-called "Gun Free School Zones" act (or victim disarmament zone act). Interestingly, the original legislation was slapped down by the Supreme Court as it overstepped Congress' right to regulate interstate commerce. So, they added one sentence and apparently its legit now. But that's an issue for another day. The statute reads:
(A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.So my reading here indicates that there are two possible exemptions. First, under provision iii, if its unloaded and in a locked container you're ok. Additionally, you may be covered by provision ii if you have an AK license to carry, as the AK license requires a background check. However, you would have to stay within the bounds of AK state law as described above.
(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm—
(i) on private property not part of school grounds;
(ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;
(iii) that is—
(I) not loaded; and
(II) in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle;
(iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;
(v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual;
(vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or
(vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is what I would do if I had to bring a weapon on to school property in Alaska.
- Acquire a weapons case (preferably locking).
- If you have an AK license to carry, it probably does not have to lock.
- If you do not have an AK license to carry, then it must lock to satisfy federal law.
- BL: I would play it safe and get a locking case, which is a good idea anyways.
- Optional but suggested: Print both relevant statutes. Highlight the exemptions you plan on claiming if you do get in a situation. Put the printout in your weapons case.
- Before entering school property (including the parking lot) or a school zone (the magic 1000' bubble), unload your weapon and secure it in the case.
- Optional but suggested: Secure the case out of sight, such as the trunk. You do not want to be a target for thieves and you do want to keep a low profile to avoid being hassled.
I am not a lawyer. This is not official legal advice. Consult with an attorney and seek qualified legal counsel before doing anything that you are unsure about.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This is another reason I've decided to standardize on the 10/22 platform. You can make it into anything you want. You can pour money into a hyper accurate match gun, an AR-15 "tacticool" rifle, a super compact folding rifle, an M1 look alike, a lightweight gun, etc...
I don't think you save too much by doing it yourself. For example, you can buy the M&P-15/22 (a .22 LR AR-15 clone from S&W) for about $500. Turning a 10/22 into an AR-15 like platform will also cost you around $500, plus labor. However, I do like the idea of ownership in the platform. I also like the idea of standardized extra parts and magazines. That's a cost savings in the long term. Plus I imagine you can recoup some of your costs by selling off old components.
The M1 stock linked above is pretty cool. Why not get a real M1, one might ask? They are not too much more expensive. I think the answer is (1) cartridge commonality and (2) cartridge affordability.
On the first point, its nice to only have to stock a few cartridges. If you have a bunch of .22 "fun guns" then all you need to stock for that purpose is .22.
On the second point, I am really cheap. Its hard for me to go out to the range and shoot more than 25-50 centerfire rounds without feeling bad. But I'll go out and blast 100 rimfire rounds, no problem. So I'd probably prefer to have a 10/22 M-1 clone that I actually go and shoot than an M-1 carbine safe queen.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
My initial thought was to build a featherweight, compact 10/22. However, as I previously discussed, I don't think that's a practical goal. There are significantly cheaper options (AR-7, Marlin Papoose) that are much lighter than even a lightweight 10/22. I'm not willing to put the money into a 10/22 to get it down under 3 lbs.
So, instead, I think I'll opt for a compact, well handling design. I want something that can be used for small game within 50 meters as well as target shooting. I also want something where the skill set will transfer to a larger centerfire rifle.
I'll start with a basic compact 10/22 to start. I'm opting for the Ruger 10/22 for a few reasons:
- Price. Its not the cheapest .22 out there, but it is reasonably priced and quite affordable.
- Reliability. It just plain works.
- Commonality. DW already has a 10/22 which she likes. I might as well learn about a versatile, common gun that we may end up with more of some day. It also makes it much easier to stock parts. We only need to stock one type of magazine, and one spare parts kit will work for every rimfire we use. Why not start standardizing early?
- Aftermarket support. There is a ton of aftermarket parts for the 10/22. That plays into my previous point; using the 10/22 platform, I can build any kind of rimfire rifle at any price range. That makes it a good platform for my purposes.
- Recoil Buffer (<$10): Such as the "Tuffer Buffer." Prevents wear and tear.
- Extended Mag Release (<$15): I have trouble working the stock release, and its near impossible to do one-handed.
- Bolt Release (~$10): The original design is an awkward two handed design. This makes it a one handed function.
- Target Hammer Kit (~$30): The original trigger is heavy and floppy. A hammer kit is supposed to be the #1 cheapest most efficient way to improve the trigger in a 10/22.
- Aperture Sights (~$69): Tech Sights for the win. I don't want to scope this rifle; we already have a scoped 10/22. I like iron sights because they are rugged and light.
- Stock (~$80): Right now I'm thinking about a folding stock or a telescoping stock. A telescoping stock would make it more "AR" like. A folding stock makes it more compact. I might go for a folder on this one and maybe someday when I have more money than I know what to do with build one with a telescoping stock. Alternatively, we could put a telescoping stock on DW's.
- Sling Swivels (<$20): The Butler Creek comes with a sling swivel stud. Worst case, a set of Uncle Mike's studs will do it.
- US GI-style sling (<$20): Just a basic sling is fine. I can probably recycle one I already have actually.
- The Donor Rifle (~$250): I'll probably use a new "compact" 10/22 to get a 16" barrel. I don't care about the furniture as I'm putting a new stock on it anyways. If I find a used one for cheaper I'll probably opt for that.
I will probably finance this by selling the Buckmark, which is less enjoyable than I thought it'd be and certainly is much less practical. I like the idea of standardizing into the 10/22.
I don't get home for another month or so but I can get my FFL sent in to some of the suppliers and start researching components. I can have them ordered and waiting for me when I get home so I have a project to work on during my R&R!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Length of Pull
5.00 lbs (80 oz)
6 lbs (~96 oz)
5.375 lbs (86 oz)
The question is, how light and compact can you get?
One option is to get a dedicated "survival rifle." The AR-7 is an example of this, weighing in at 2.5 lbs (40 oz), 35" overall length. The problem is that (1) it adds yet another type of rifle to the collection and (2) these rifles are subject to reliability issues sometimes.
Another interesting option is the new Ruger SR-22. Its an AR-style 22. It comes it at 6.5 lbs at 32.35" overall length.
I could cut down the mountie but that seems like a crime. So now I'm wondering how light a 10/22 can get if you customize it, and how the cost compares to the SR-22. Luckily some other folks have already looked into this.
A compact 10/22 out of the box comes in at 34" overall length and 4.5 lbs (72 oz) with a 16" barrel. Most of the weight is in the stock (38 oz wood or 31 oz plastic) and the barrel (25-32 oz). The other components only weigh in at ~10 oz so I don't think there's much weight to be saved there, or bulk.
The guy I linked to above built a rifle for $450 and got it down to 55 oz.
He opted for a telescoping Axiom stock (18 oz). I think the other option would be a folding stock. Folding stocks will cut the length of the weapon dramatically at the cost of greater weight. Butler Creek folding stock at 36 oz or a Choate at 36 oz are both options.
- AXIOM STOCK (~$80): -13 oz, -3" (compressed all the way)
- FOLDING STOCK (~$80): +5 oz, -8" (or so)
- TAC-SOL BARREL (~$290): -15 oz (approx)
UPDATE: I think a Marlin Papoose (weighing in at 3.25 lbs), which is a take down, might be a good option. Cheaper than the 10/22 with ugprades and a similar weight at end-game.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting option too...
I've long been a proponent of voting against people. I rarely am enthusiastic about supporting one candidate or another because both are jerks, but there is always someone to oppose. However, this just means that instead of a turd you get a douche. While I still believe that you should always vote even though all the candidates are bad because some are likely worse than others, I'm trying to come up with better electoral strategies.
I see two alternative strategies:
- Support a third party
- Influence primary elections
SUPPORT A THIRD PARTY
Unfortuanetly, third parties tend to split votes. For example, on a national level, if the "Tea Party" ran candidates, they would probably just suck away votes from Republican candidates. This would allow the Democrats to successfully run even more extreme left-wing or unpopular candidates, which is probably exactly what both Republicans and Tea Partiers do NOT want to happen.
Also, third parties don't do very well. They do better in AK than other places, but even that isn't saying much. So you may be wasting your time.
I think that if you support a third party, the way to do it is to encourage a schism within your opposition's team. For example, a more effective strategy would be for Tea Partiers to run candidates that look more like Blue Dog Democrats than Republicans. That way you end up splitting the more-objectionable Democrat vote rather than the less-objectionable Republican ticket. If you happen to succeed, then great. Even if you don't, you've managed to split the Democrat's ticket.
Likewise, Communists might find more success by appealing to social conservatives with a strong national security, police state, and neocon-overseas-war platform. They might be able to get a strongly statist candidate elected while simultaneously dividing the Republican vote. If their third party candidate lost their bid, then they might still end up with a left-wing Democrat; if they win, then they get a statist who will likely support key parts of their economic and security agenda.
This strategy is a bit convoluted and requires strict control from the top. Most social conservatives, for example, would not want to support a third party that looks anything like a Democrat. I think it might be a viable strategy though for a movement with a lot of independent money.
INFLUENCE PRIMARY ELECTIONS
Alaska has semi-open primaries:
Under existing Alaska law and procedures, the Republican Party has its own primary ballot, and independents and Republicans are free to choose that primary ballot. Then there is a blanket primary ballot, which contains the names of all Democrats, Libertarians, and Alaskan Independence candidates. Any voter is free to choose that ballot.
I think the key is to register as an independent so that you can vote for either primary, although I don't think you can vote for both. There are at least several sub-strategies here.
First, you can deliberately sabotage an opposing party's ticket. For example, vote for someone you think is unelectable. This is risky because they might actually win, in which case you just aided an extremely objectionable candidate to get into office. Its very risky in local elections because few people vote in those; the outcome there is much more unpredictable.
Next, you try to influence whichever ballot is up for grabs. For example, prior to the last Presidential election, many people voted in the Democratic primary because the Republican one was already sewn up, whereas the Democratic primary was still up for grabs. While this is less desirable than other strategies it may be the only one available.
Finally, you can try to influence your own party's policies. I think this might be the most effective and simple of all strategies. For example, Tea Partiers could vote for pro-civil liberties, fiscally conservative, small government Republicans instead of supporting socially conservative fascists and theocrats. This is potentially highly effective for local elections. Relatively few people vote in primaries so you could have a significant impact in helping a candidate that you actually support get on the ballot.
Friday, March 19, 2010
His girlfriend says that he was shot and killed in the passenger seat of her car. I’m sure that his family is happy that guns are so easy to get a hold of, now that their son is dead. I bet they just re-upped their NRA membership.
This entry was posted on Friday, March 19th, 2010 at 5:24 am and is filed under Guns. Tagged: Alaska, Crime, Death, Fairbanks, Firearms, Guns, Handguns, NRA, Palin, Pistol, Republican, RickRydell. You can feed this entry. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
As usual the tags are nonsense. Just a quick thought on this one, as many details aren't around yet. The cops haven't even confirmed that he was shot.
If you don't want to be a victim of violence don't live a ghetto lifestyle. The victim here idolized hard core rap and the lifestyle that music is permeated with. It sounds like he hung out with the wrong crowd. He was in trouble with the law. We all make choices about where we hang out, who we associate with, and whether or not to break the law. If you choose to do certain things than your chance of being a victim of violence goes up significantly.
None of this justifies what the murderer did, by the way. Its still murder, its still wrong, and its still a crime. However, it does highlight that the problem isn't guns. Its a glorification of violence and drug abuse by the pop culture, a lack of parental influence and personal responsibility at a formative age, and our society's inability to break cycles of poverty and dependence.
March 19, 2010 - Leave a Response
I have great love for animals. I understand that having a bad pet owner as a neighbor can be frustrating. But when the NRA and the GOP work so hard and spend so much money to make sure that morons can own guns and shoot someone’s pet, well, it makes me wish the worst for the idiot with the gun. Lowell Mueller is one such idiot, a depraved sad-shack lover of things long and hard (like a shotgun) who couldn’t be bothered to get his own female dog spayed, but could be bothered to shoot a tiny little, albeit annoying, chihuahua. Lowell Mueller says that he “just wanted to tickle it”, not kill it. What a sick bastard this man is. I hope his neighbors are vindictive and make this creep’s life a living hell (within the law, of course).
A guy in Anchorage just popped a Chihuahua with a .410 shotgun.
This is NOT a legitimate use of force. The shooter said:
"I really didn't mean to make a killing shot on it. I just wanted to tickle it, is all I did, and I missed tickling it," Mueller said. "I'm sorry for shooting the dog, but I'm glad it's gone. It's just been a pain in my side here for a long time and those people just wouldn't do nothing about it."
Update from the ADN here.
Looks like Mr. Matos allegedly had his home burglarized. He thought Mr. Grey did it. Mr. Matos invited Mr. Grey to talk about it at Dimond Mall. They talked civilly for a few minutes and for whatever reason Mr. Grey -- who wore a disguise to the meet -- shot Mr. Matos.
Meanwhile, Cox, a 26-year-old carpenter from Fairbanks, was arrested on misdemeanor weapons charges in Fairbanks on Wednesday for failing to tell a police officer questioning him that he was carrying a concealed gun. Cox was wearing a bulletproof vest. Last month, he was charged with felony assault in an alleged attack on his wife. He pleaded guilty March 5 to a reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless endangerment.Still, when Glen Beck and Sarah Palin tell you that you are crazy, maybe that means you've gone a bit too far.
The new charge is interesting. In AK you have a duty to inform a law enforcement officer that you are carrying if they contact you. I think its kind of stupid (I mean, if a criminal is going to shoot a cop they're not going to tell the cop they're carrying, right?), and I think its a "gotcha" that can easily be used on gun owners that either forget or irritate a police officer. But it is one of our few gun laws so you should follow it.
I don't think Schaffer Cox is being an effective advocate on behalf of responsible gun owners right now. It would be better for him to get his affairs in order and focus his efforts on something less public and less controversial, if he really wants to help the cause.
So... the healthcare reform plan saves money over 10 years if:
- You pay taxes for 10 years to get 6 years of services AND
- Medicare reimbursement rates are slashed
If you don't slash the reimbursement rates, then the "savings" evaporate. And that doesn't even look at the long-term effects when the ratio of tax years to service years changes from 5:3 to 1:1.
Bear in mind the CBO estimates, IMO, are optimistic; how many programs do you think come in on time and under budget?
Basically a carbine conversion kit for Sig handguns. I'm sure they'll be illegal or NFA in the US.
I don't know what it is about pistol caliber carbines but I do think they're pretty nifty. If Kel-Tec made an M&P Sub-2000 I'd be all over it.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
We looked at a lot of different semi-auto handguns and did a lot of research. Ultimately it was just not possible to meet all the desired requirements. This was the original wish list:
- Ambidexterous controls
- 9mm, .40 SW, or .45 ACP
- Reasonably priced
- Easy to clean
- Shares magazine with companion pistol caliber carbine
- Shares magazine with compact and full size variants
- Slight preference for "service" semiautos that I might be armed with at work (Beretta 92FS or possible Beretta PX4 Storm, or a Sig)
DW was familiar with the S&W M&P from her lady's handgun class so she suggested that we try them out. The clincher for me was that S&W has a special individual officer program where they sell M&Ps for 1/2 off MSRP. I felt pretty confident that we could buy an M&P, try it out, and if we didn't like it, sell it used for more than we paid. It met all of the above requirements (except for having a companion carbine). We ordered a pair (a full size and a compact) of .40 SWs with the optional thumb safety through the program.
I was a little disappointed that S&W only ships them with two mags but that's not a deal killer. The M&Ps are a blast to shoot. The .40 SW recoil is snappy but manageable, even in the smaller compact version. Accuracy is fine; if I do my part, the M&P will do its job.
They break down pretty easily as well for cleaning; not quite as easily as my M9 but its not rocket science. They ship with three backstraps which are easy to swap out with no smithing required; the medium grips happen to fit both of our hands, but DW almost prefers the smalls. The magazine release was easy to swap from right to left handed and DW was able to do this with a multitool in under 10 minutes.
Overall I'm pretty happy with the M&Ps.
To safety or not to safety: One question we struggled with prior to ordering was whether or not to get an external safety. We opted for this feature on the theory that an AD was both more likely and more harmful than the slight risk of being slower to clear the handgun for action in a defensive situation. Additionally with some forms of carry the external safety can be one extra layer of retention/protection. So, we opted for the external safety.
I'm not thrilled with the design. Its not intuitive to snap the safety on/off and it widens the gun's profile significantly. I might add a little red dot covered by the safety lever just like the M9 to make it very clear what status the weapon is in. I'm not sure if I'd get another one with the safety. Its something to think about for sure.
The other side of our handgun battery is a .357 magnum revolver. This is intended as a "trail gun" and its what I carry hiking. I debated between .44 and .357. I finally settled on .357 as its a milder caliber and easier to use accurately, because .38 special is cheap to shoot, and because the .357 provides adequate critter protection against everything up to black bears. If I lived in a more remote part of AK, didn't expect to be transferred to another part of the country in a few years, and regularly interacted with grizzly bears I'd opt for the .44 or something larger.
I went with a 4" Ruger GP-100. It was a tossup between this and the S&W 686. The S&W is a bit pricier and is supposed to have a better trigger. I couldn't tell the difference so I opted for the GP-100 which is built a bit stronger and is reputed to handle very hot loads. The 4" barrel is a compromise; 2" is better for concealed carry, the 6" best for hunting or targets. 4" is decent at either application and is quite manageable.
I'm pleased with the versatility of this trail gun. With light .38 specials its fun for target shooting and respectable for taking small game. On the other end of the spectrum, recoil with 200 grain hard cast .357 magnums is manageable and that's what I often carry to augment my bear mace when hiking in critter territory. There's a ton of good rounds in .38 special and .357 mag, even including some shot shells which might be good for snakes if I lived in a part of the country that had them.
- I'd like to ultimately end up with at least another pair of S&W M&Ps. Both of ours have been converted to left-handed usage! :) I'd start with a second full-size M&P. I'd add a light and night sights to one of the full-size M&Ps and use it as a range gun and "bump in the night" gun and leave the second one trim for CCW.
- I'd also like to eventually get night sights on all the semiautos, although its pricey.
- I'd like to add a .357/.38 snubbie to the collection to partner up with the .357 revolver in the same calibers.
- I wouldn't be opposed to a .44 revolver eventually for the reasons listed above, either.
THE B TEAM
- I wouldn't be opposed to adding one 9 MM HiPoint and one .45 ACP HiPoint to the collection as well if I could get them cheap. The only purpose there is that I'd be able to use any of the three major semiauto calibers, which is nice if there's a sale or something. If I ever see a used one for <$100 I may pick it up. They seem to be reliable enough and have a lifetime warranty, which is nice on a used gun.
- Additionally, I wouldn't be opposed to picking up a .40 SW HiPoint to pair with a .40 SW pistol caliber carbine.
- Finally, on the cheap guns list, I'd be fine with getting a cheap .38 special snubbie instead of a new .357 snubbie. There are sometimes some good deals from police trade ins and such. I can't imagine shooting .357s from a snubbie is fun anyways so I think a .38 special does 98% of what a .357 snubbie would be expected to do.
Did guns make this situation better, or worse? Either way, I’m glad she didn’t hit him a few inches over. Sounds like the guy is going to live, and it seems that guns probably made this situation better for her and her kids (I assume they were present). I have to wonder if the Ex knew she had a gun in the house and if it was his intent to get to it before she did. If that’s the case, then no, guns didn’t make this situation better.
Summary from the ADN: Man who has previously violated restraining order comes to ex-GF's house. He is angry over a custody battle. He acts aggressively and gets inside the house. She fires a warning shot. He lunges at her and gets shot twice.
Gwen even acknowledges that this was likely a valid self-defense shooting. Of course, she has to get in a parting shot by suggesting that the man came to the house to steal the gun. This doesn't make any sense to me as the ADN says he was upset about a custody dispute, and he probably could have acquired a gun from somewhere else much more easily. Its almost like she can't admit that there's another publicized DGU.
This is an excellent example of how restraining orders are only paper -- the police will not protect you 24/7. It also highlights that guns are especially valuable defensive tools for people who tend to be physically less powerful than their attackers (such as women, the elderly, or the handicapped).
I originally said this would happen in 2018 but looks like its happening in 2010.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Lots of guns in Fairbanks, yet it seems that nobody was able to use their own gun in this situation to prevent it from happening. Of course, if they tried to do that, odds are very good that the situation would just be deteriorate. Of course, if the robber didn’t have a gun, the odds are very good that he wouldn’t be robbing anyone.
As usual the tags are nonsense. I don't think that the NRA, Palin, hunters, Rick Rydell, or Republicans advocate robbery. Hunters probably don't use guns that can be "stuck in someone's face" like the article describes, and none of the others advocate armed robbery.
Gwen's point is illogical. Fire extinguishers are not 100% effective but we still have them. Likewise, armed citizens (and police) are not 100% effective, but they can still help in some situations. Just because nobody used a defensive tool in this individual situation doesn't mean that they are never useful.
Gwen also suggests that if a citizen gets involved and defends themselves with a firearm, they are just likely to get themselves or innocent bystanders hurt. Time for a dose of Fact.
Fact: You are far more likely to survive a violent assault if you defend yourself with a gun. In episodes where a robbery victim was injured, the injury/defense rates were:160Source & References:
Resisting with a gun 6%
Did nothing at all 25%
Resisted with a knife 40%
Non-violent resistance 45%
Fact: When a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of rape attacks are
completed, compared to 32% when the woman was unarmed.161
Fact: The probability of serious injury from an attack is 2.5 times greater for women
offering no resistance than for women resisting with guns. Men also benefit from using
guns but the benefits are smaller, 1.4 times more likely to receive a serious injury.162
Fact: 11% of police shootings kill an innocent person - about 2% of shootings by citizens
kill an innocent person.158
Smith, Guy. 2009. Gun Facts 5.1. Available Online: www.GunFacts.info. Used IAW free usage license terms.
158 Shall issue: the new wave of concealed handgun permit laws, Clayton Cramer, David Kopel, Independence Institute Issue Paper. October 17, 1994Gwen suggests that it would be better just to do nothing and passively submit to an attacker. The statistics above show that passive submission is not necessarily safer. Learn About Guns has an excellent post highlighting how armed robbery is not just a property crime; it is a crime against the person, and its different from simple theft.
160 British Home Office – not a “pro-gun” organization by any means
161 Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Rape Victimization in 26 American Cities, U.S. Department of Justice, 1979
162 National Crime Victimization Survey, Department of Justice
Even if an armed citizen had been present, they might not have wanted to get involved. Maybe they only saw the criminal fleeing, after the threat of imminent death or severe bodily injury had passed. Maybe they didn't want to get involved for liability reasons as their life was not being directly threatened. My thoughts on use of force can be found in an earlier post.
I'm not sure why Gwen thinks that robbery would go away without guns; I'm pretty sure that Chicago and the UK still have violent crime even though private firearm ownership is illegal. Also, I used to work in DC, and for some reason all the businesses had metal grilles up over the windows and lots of locks and shields for the workers to stand behind. Why do they have all these elaborate security protections in DC where until very recently private firearms ownership was also illegal? Crime is more likely to occur when there is a disparity of force (which can be caused by the criminal having a gun, but also can be created with a knife, or a gang, or physical size), and criminals ignore laws. Letting the good guys (responsible citizens) have guns doesn't make society worse for everyone as Gwen suggests.
He must be the only gun owner in town, because we all know that gun owners purchased their weapons, at least in part, for self defense, and nobody rushed out to put an end to this man’s street party. It’s great that he used his weapon to threaten other villagers! Guns being used for what they do best….
More from "Guns Are Soooo Great!" I was on vacation last week so I've fallen behind in measuring rebuttals. Here's the info from the DPS:
Case number: 10-18306, 10-18500
Type: Burglary I, MIW IV (x2), Assault IV (x2)
Text: On 3/5/2010 at approximately 1332 hours, Troopers received a
report that Rosswell Ted STALKER, 25, of Kivalina, AK, was intoxicated
and walking in the village of Kivalina while carrying a rifle. While
Troopers were responding to Kivalina, STALKER was subsequently detained
by the Kivalina Village Police Officer, after he was observed making
verbal death threats while still carrying the rifle. Further
investigation revealed that STALKER had sustained an injury after he
entered a residence belonging to James BOOTH, 20, of Kivalina, AK,
without BOOTH's permission. A physical altercation ensued, resulting in
STALKER and BOOTH assaulting one another, while both were intoxicated.
BOOTH was then observed discharging a shotgun into the air, in front of
his residence. STALKER was arrested for Burglary I, MIW IV, and Assault
IV. Prior to being remanded to the Kotzebue Regional Jail, STALKER was
treated for his injuries at the Maniilaq Medical Center in Kotzebue.
BOOTH was arrested for MIW IV and Assault IV. BOOTH was remanded to the
Kotzebue Regional Jail.
First, the tags are, as usual, nonsense. Go read the police report and you'll see that pistols and handguns are not involved. Neither are Republicans, the NRA, Sarah Palin, or talk radio. This always cracks me up when Gwen includes these tags because Sen Begich (a Democrat) desperately clings to his "A" NRA rating despite his former membership in Bloomberg's front organization, "Mayors Against Illegal Guns."
I doubt that he's the only guy in town that owns a gun. In fact, if you read the police report, this is the sequence of events I reconstructed:
- Mr. Ted Stalker invades Mr. James Booth's residence while wielding a rifle.
- The two have an altercation, and both are drunk. Somehow they both end up in Booth's front yard. Booth ends the confrontation by firing his shotgun into the air.
- Stalker leaves and starts making verbal death threats while still carrying his rifle.
- Stalker is detained by the local village police. Booth is also detained. Both are charged with MIW IV and Assault IV.
(a) A person commits the crime of misconduct involving weapons in the fourth degree if the personAt first blush, Booth appears to be the defender in this altercation, although we have very limited information. There is no affirmative defense in MIW IV for self-defense situations, but Booth may be able to claim that he was discharging his weapon in self-defense and get off. He may also be able to plea bargain this down, or prosecutorial discretion may help him out too. In any event, MIW IV is only a misdemeanor. Assault IV is also only a misdemeanor.
(1) possesses on the person, or in the interior of a vehicle in which the person is present, a firearm when the person's physical or mental condition is impaired as a result of the introduction of an intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance into the person's body in circumstances other than described in AS 11.61.200 (a)(7);
Burglary I, however, is a felony charge. Stalker is the only one being charged with a felony, showing that at least the police seem to think that he is most seriously in the wrong. This substantiates the possible narrative of Booth using his shotgun defensively.
Gwen reads this as Booth wandering the streets with his shotgun, making threats. In fact, it appears that Booth discharged his shotgun on his own property while being assaulted by Stalker, who was also armed. Perhaps I am reading this narrative differently from Gwen, or maybe she has access to more information than I do, but I don't find much in the police report to substantiate her narrative.
I think the lesson here is "don't carry a gun while drunk." Responsible owners know that just like driving, booze and guns don't mix. However, your right to self-defense in your own home doesn't stop just because you've had a few glasses of wine or a six pack of booze. You definitely open yourself up to more potential criminal and civil liability, though. This is why responsible adults choose their friends carefully, don't pick fights, don't get smashed out of their mind without a "designated thinker" being present (even with a designated driver/taxi, a "Designated Thinker" is a good idea to defuse conflicts), etc.