Saturday, July 19, 2003

The CATO institute also question Sen. Hatch's & the NRA's motives in regards to his bill that would partially repeal D.C.'s anti-gun laws.

"All the facts point to an NRA effort to frustrate Parker,' noted Levy. 'Why was the bill introduced by Hatch rather than some back-bencher? Why not wait for a court decision (the legislative option is always open, even if the court were to go the wrong way on the Second Amendment)? Why did the NRA file its suit at the outset? Why did its suit include extraneous legal claims so the court could avoid the Second Amendment altogether? Why did the NRA move to consolidate its suit with Parker even though Parker is a clean Second Amendment case? Why bring John Ashcroft into the NRA suit, when he's so obviously an improper defendant in a civil case? Essentially, the NRA is saying, 'If we can't control the litigation, there won't be any litigation'. "

I was going to post about this last night, but realized if I did I would make Jeff at Alphecca seem calm & apathetic.

Jeff rants & links to this story about a man & his freakin' kitten being arrested in NYC. A month old kitten!

"According to the criminal complaint, the arresting officer wrote he "observed the defendant in close proximity to a cat, which was on top of an upside down bucket, not enclosed in a container ... the defendant knew he was not allowed to possess a cat not enclosed in a container inside a subway facility."
Melendez and Gizmo spent 40 hours in separate city lockups before a loving reunion on Wednesday afternoon.
'She's like my baby. I didn't want to leave her alone at home,' Melendez said.
A Manhattan criminal court judge on Wednesday sentenced Melendez to time served."

Okay, it's no big secret that I'm not a fan of NYC. Chalk it up to being raised in the south if you wish: part of some disgruntlement directed at those big city carpet-baggers that burned down the fair Atlanta out of pure meanness. But give me a freakin' break - a kitten? They lock up a man & his freakin' kitten because he was in violation of a city code? A cop claims to have 'observed' the defendant in 'close proximity' to a cat & that justifies taking away the defendant's & his freakin' kitten's freedom for almost 2 days?????

This is an article written by Clayton Cramer. It discusses some aspects of the mechanics & justifications for revolution. It's a very good read & while I wish it would have elaborated on some areas more it's still very informative.

The question that always pops up (for me at least) is when? When is revolution against ones government (be it local, state or federal) the right thing to do? Where is that line that we won't stand to have crossed?

Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence that, "...Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed..."

Humans simply don't like revolutions. It upsets the status quo. Not to mention shaking up the economy. People on the whole would rather put up with abuse rather than take the steps necessary to stop it. It takes something special to set one off. & in a way this is a good thing: we wouldn't want to hear a call to arms because the line at the DMV is too long & moving too slowly.

On the other hand though we wouldn't want a call to arms just as the cattle cars are pulling up in front of our houses. (Yes I know most train tracks don't run in front of people’s homes - I'm being figurative here. Work with me.)

So when is it right to revolt? When is it too soon?

Let's look at NYC for a moment. Big city. Various things of a cultural & economic nature that make it an enjoyable place to live or visit for a lot of people. But at the same time self defense is frowned upon. Owning a gun in the city is difficult, carrying one is damn near impossible if you obey the law. The city is attempting to tax itself out of the financial hole it has dug. Civil liberties are an iffy thing. As a result people are being fined for such trivial offenses as sitting on a milk crate, or loitering in front of their own business. In fact NYC has decided that you cannot choose to allow smoking in your business but if you step outside to catch a smoke you could be fined for loitering.

Add an elderly woman who had a heart attack because the police used a grenade in executing a no-knock warrant & a D.A. in Brooklyn who thinks that you should do time if you defend yourself without the proper permit & I'd say the situation in NYC is pretty serious.

Top it off with a man & his freakin' kitten being jailed because said kitten was not in a cage.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that all the above added up justifies a revolution in NYC, but it definitely leans more on the 'for' side than the 'against'.

But the question remains: when &/or under what circumstances is a revolution the right thing to do?

For a revolution to be successfully executed it takes a number of factors: popular support, a reasoning for the revolution that the people, or at least a large minority of them can get behind, the strategic knowledge to pull it off, a set of well defined goals to let you know when you've pulled it off, the determination to see it through, & the means with which to see it through.

Would the jailing of a man & his freakin' kitten garner popular support for a revolution? Actually I know it would with some. But probably not enough to make it viable. While deplorable I'm afraid that the action was too narrow in scope as it only affected a man & his freakin' kitten. Also the consequences weren't severe enough. They lost their freedom for almost 2 days. I think losing ones freedom, even temporarily over such an asshatted reason (even though you caused no harm you disobeyed the state) is one of the most awful things that can happen. But not enough people share my view & see it as an inconvenience. One that shouldn't have happened, but an inconvenience nonetheless. But the man & cat were both physically unharmed.
Would it have been different if the man &/or cat were harmed? Somehow I doubt it. After all there was no large public outcry when a federal tax agency killed 3 cats (2 negligently, one intentionally) in the course of executing a questionable warrant that turned up nothing.

Would the crack down on any & every minor offense in an effort to generate revenue be sufficient cause? I think it tilts things more in favor of a revolution but doesn't manage to cross the line. It just doesn't, or hasn't to date made the people of NYC angry enough to consider an actual revolution. Or perhaps it has made them angry enough to consider it, but not angry enough to organize & seriously discuss their options.

So even as bad as NYC is it would have to be exponentially worse to generate enough popular support for a revolution. It would take even more oppressive acts to consolidate the whole country, or even parts of it into a revolutionary force.

Personally I think there is sufficient justification in some areas to warrant revolution. I could wax poetic about the crimes committed by the IRSS, BATF, local police of various locales, Justice Department, various city councils, various state governments & ultimately Congress. But unless this blog gets really popular, or a major newspaper starts agreeing with what I see as injustice, then there simply will not be enough popular support to accomplish anything other than having a lot of armed government agents assigned to my case.

Should the people of NYC revolt against their government? Probably. Will they? Definitely not.
Should the arresting officer get away with enforcing a law by jailing a man & his freakin' kitten? Yes. Most definitely. While being short of a capital offense I say this would be a good excuse to bring back the stock. Put him in Times Square as a lesson to those who value authority over freedom. Will he be punished? Nope.

This might generate some outcry in some circles, but for the most part it will be forgotten.

& the same would apply to most of the things that I (& perhaps you as well) find detestable. I'll rant about it; you may agree & likewise rant about it. But no great show of support from the masses will materialize.

What we are left with is a situation that is best described by Claire Wolfe, "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."

Thursday, July 17, 2003

There is much talk about Sen. Hatch. He has introduced a bill to repeal some parts of D.C's firearms laws. Before I get into the possible motives behind this proposal, let's examine what Sen. Hatch said when he introduced the bill:

Statement of Senator Orrin G. Hatch
before the United States Senate
'The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act'
Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. This is an extremely important piece of legislation. Most importantly, this bill goes a long way toward restoring the constitutionally guaranteed right of Americans who reside in the District of Columbia to possess firearms."

Hmmm. sounds good so far, although why would one introduce a bill to restore the Rights of citizens in one city where many cities infringe upon Rights almost as badly?

"Mr. President, it is no secret that the District of Columbia, our great Nation's Capital, suffers from the most startling violent crime rates in the country. It has the highest, the absolute highest, murder rate per capita in the country. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and despite the most stringent gun control laws in the country, in 8 out of the 9 years between 1994 and 2002, Washington, DC had the highest murder rate in the country. In fact, the results are in for 2002, and unfortunately they continue to paint a grim picture. Mr. President, the District of Columbia has again reclaimed its rather unenviable title as the 'Murder Capital of the United States'."

It is also no secret that most government employees - both city & federal - have adequate security so their interest in the crime rate is mostly academic.

"It is time, Mr. President, to restore the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and to defend their families against murderous predators. All too often, we read in the paper about yet another vicious murder carried out against an innocent District of Columbia resident. Try to imagine the horror that the victim felt when he faced a gun-toting criminal and could not legally reach for a firearm to protect himself. We must act now to stop the carnage and put law-abiding citizens in a position to exercise their right to self defense. It is time to tell the citizens of the District of Columbia that the Second Amendment of the Constitution applies to them, and not only to their fellow Americans in the rest of the country. The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act would do exactly that."

Until the last two sentences I would agree completely. Where I take exception is that the 2nd amendment is not respected throughout the rest of the country. There are many laws, of local, state & federal origin that trample the 2nd amendment. & the proposed bill would not make the 2nd amendment applicable to D.C. residents. It would just lighten up on certain, but not all, restrictions. More on that in a minute.

"Let me take a moment to highlight what this legislation would do. This bill would: (1) permit law-abiding citizens to possess handguns and rifles in their homes and businesses; (2) repeal the registration requirements for firearms and ammunition; (3) eliminate criminal penalties for possession and carrying of firearms in their homes and businesses; and (4) correct an erroneous provision which wrongly treats some firearms as if they were machineguns."

Well, first of all the 2nd amendment doesn't 'permit' anyone to own or carry a weapon. It prevents the government from interfering with that. I am leery of hearing the word 'permit' in any of its meanings when discussing Rights acknowledged by the Constitution.

If we move swiftly past the 'permit' issue (bad pun intended) you'll note that it only mentions possession of rifles & handguns in the home or business. So it's your Right to protect yourself from crime in the home or business but if you're in your car or walking down the street you're out of luck?
Being generous this would be compliant with the "keep" mentioned in the 2nd amendment, but woefully neglects the 'bear' part. 'Keep' can & should be defined as owning or possessing, while 'bear' should be defined as carrying. I see nothing in the Constitution that limits this to the home or office.

Repealing the registration requirement is a good thing. No problems there that I can see.

The elimination of criminal penalties for carrying in the home or business seems good on its face. However doesn't it strike you as a little redundant when compared to the first part that 'permits' possession in the home or business? I could just be paranoid (hey- I have a blog. It's either be paranoid or be boring!) but it seems to me that either there's something in the language of this bill that is not as cool as we'd like to think, or he put in a redundant provision to make it appear that the bill does more than it does. Then again it could be both.

& correcting an erroneous provision that treats some firearms like machine guns sounds good. But remember, Federal firearms laws are constitutionally prohibited. The proper course of action wouldn't be to narrow the list of restricted firearms (such as machine guns) but to actually read the damned 2nd amendment & realize that congress lacks the constitutionally authority to restrict &/or prohibit possession, sale, ownership, or transport of machine guns & any other kind of gun that has value to a citizen if/when called upon to act as part of the militia. That would mean all guns that a person can discharge by his/herself.
What he is saying is that certain guns shouldn't be lumped in with machine guns but he ignores the simple truth that machine guns shouldn't be prohibited or restricted as they are.

"Over the years, Mr. President, I have heard over and over again from some of my friends on the other side of the aisle that the way you reduce violent, gun-related crime is by prohibiting the possession of firearms. Even if law-abiding citizens are prohibited from possessing firearms, my liberal friends argue, it is a small price to pay for safety and security."

Other side my ass - he knows damn well that a lot of his friends on his side of the aisle believe that philosophy. Hell - he's addressing one of them!

"Well, I want to take this opportunity to dispel these unfounded myths. These myths, I might add, are exposed as such by situations like we have today in the District of Columbia. I have said it before, but I will say it again, excessive regulation and the systematic erosion of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment do not deter violent, gun-toting criminals. Enacting and vigorously enforcing stiff penalties for those that commit crimes with guns deters violent crime. Not only is this the proven and effective approach to reducing gun violence, it also preserves the constitutionally guaranteed rights of law-abiding men and women to own and possess firearms."

He lost me after the 3rd sentence. The problem with sentence number 4 is that enforcing stiff penalties for those who commit gun crimes is going on in D.C. now. A gun crime is a crime committed with a gun. This can mean armed robbery, but it can also mean possession of an unregistered gun by an 80 year old widow. Further because a gun crime can be non violent &/or victimless the enforcement of such laws does not preserve our Right to own, possess & carry arms. He is either ignorant of the nature of gun laws & the 2nd amendment, or he is being disingenuous.

"In fact, I recently held a hearing that examined the Administration's gun crime reduction initiative, Project Safe Neighborhoods. This initiative has been incredibly successful. It takes the precise approach that I have advocated - strict and vigorous enforcement of crimes committed with guns. It says to criminals, "If you use a gun during the commission of a crime, you will do very serious and very hard time." And it does so, Mr. President, without trampling on the rights of law-abiding American men and women."

B. S. No. B. F. S. Project Exile/Safe Streets/Safe Neighborhoods is not only an affront to the 2nd amendment, but the 9th & 10th as well. It basically allows for federal prosecution of 'gun crimes'. Last time I checked the feds weren't granted any general policing powers by the Constitution. In addition to this usurpation of State's authority it again takes non-violent, victimless crime & makes it a federal matter. If anyone tells you that they think Project Exile/Safe Streets/ Safe Neighborhoods is a good idea then don't trust them. Even if they claim to be pro-gun, they do our side more harm than you'd think. & yes this would include the NRA. It not only tramples on the Rights of individuals, it tramples on the authority of the respective states. By implication & act it says that some gun control is o.k. That is in direct conflict with every copy of the Constitution that I’ve read.

"Today, unfortunately but not surprisingly, the state of affairs in the District of Columbia has highlighted exactly what those of us who care deeply about the Second Amendment of the Constitution have always feared: murderous criminals possess firearms and are free to prey upon law-abiding citizens; and law-abiding citizens - precisely because they are law-abiding citizens- may not possess a firearm in their homes to protect themselves and their families."

If he cares so deeply about the second amendment, then why does he not address the fact that no federal gun control is permissible? Or that in many instances those murderous criminals who pray on the law abiding citizens do so with government authority, paychecks, weapons, & have been doing so with complete protection from prosecution? No, I'm not implying that the CIA is funding the Cryps - I'm saying that government agents who enforce laws that are contrary to the constitution are no better than the thugs trying to rob you on the corner.
But in any event, he only addresses possession & use of firearms in the home or business. That offers no protection for people who have to walk, drive or otherwise commute to & from work, or the store, or anyplace that is not their home or business. It's a good thing that he wants people to be able to protect themselves at home & work, but why doesn't he want people to protect themselves in transit?

"Mr. President, the prohibition of firearms in the District of Columbia is as ineffective and deplorable as it is unconstitutional; it is high-time we rectify this wrong. I urge my colleagues to support this measure."

Add '&/or restriction' after 'prohibition' & substitute 'The United States' in place of 'the District of Columbia' & I would be in complete agreement with the first sentence. But the measure, while providing some benefits (at least on the surface) does not go far enough.

Now on to the motivation behind this proposed law:

As some of you know a couple of lawyers associated with the CATO institute have filed a challenge to D.C.'s gun laws. (Parker vs. District of Columbia) At first the NRA was content to donate money to G. Mason University instead of helping the CATO lawyers. But finally the NRA decided to get involved by launching their own challenge. (Seegars vs. Ashcroft) Bad part was the NRA challenge was considerably more complex & not based solely on a direct 2nd amendment question. Then the NRA filed a Motion to Consolidate the two cases. So the CATO lawyers asked the NRA to butt the hell out. They filed a challenge to the NRA's motion to consolidate & asked for a recusal of the NRA lawyers because of misconduct. Fortunately the NRA's Motion to Consolidate was denied.

"How does this relate to Sen. Hatch's proposed law?" you might ask. If Sen. Hatch's bill is passed into law that would negate both the NRA's court case as well as the one filed by the CATO lawyers.

"So why does that matter?" you might ask. The purpose of the CATO lawyers challenge is to have the courts rule that the 2nd amendment acknowledges an individual Right & laws contrary to that are void.
If a law is passed that rescinds part of the gun control laws in D.C. it does not do anything to acknowledge the Right to be armed. In essence all it does is say that the Congress will rescind part of the gun control laws in D.C., not because it has to but because it wants to.
There would be absolutely nothing to keep Congress from passing an even more draconian gun control law for D.C. somewhere down the road. With a favorable ruling from the court however it would nullify any attempts by Congress to pass gun control laws in the future - to an extent at least.

What is happening is that the NRA does not want the CATO lawyers to win their court case. They attempted to muddy it up with theirs but that failed. So what they are trying to do is support Hatch's bill in the hopes that it will get passed before the CATO lawyers case is heard.

"But the NRA is pro-gun! Why would they do such a thing?" you might be wondering.

The NRA is about as pro-gun as the LAPD. They would not lose any sleep if a law was passed requiring NRA membership for gun possession. They do not care about making any real progress towards restoring the Right to Arms. They make their cash by scaring people into joining as an effort to protect their Rights, yet they know if they make any real progress the scare factor will disappear & membership dollars will drop.

So if the NRA had managed to consolidate the two cases it would have surely doomed both cases as the NRA's arguments were based on rather complex issues, many of which were not directly related to the 2nd amendment. They would have been able to say that they tried but those damn courts didn't listen to reason, while not endangering their job security by actually winning.

Since that didn't happen they will push very hard for Sen. Hatch's bill. If the bill passes before the CATO lawsuits are heard, then the NRA wins. The CATO lawyers challenge will be dismissed; the NRA will be able to claim another "victory" while not really doing as much as they could have done to further the cause they pretend to support.

The probable motive behind Sen. Hatch's bill is simply to avert any real victory for the Right to Arms.

Clayton Cramer tends to agree with a superficial reason of the NRA used to justify their lack of desire to take 2nd amendment cases to court on 2nd amendment grounds. He opines that because of the recent Supreme Court rulings on other matters that a 2nd amendment cases would probably lose.

I think Clayton Cramer is a very intelligent person. His scholarly work (that I have read) has been very insightful. & he should receive full credit for his part in pointing out inaccuracies in the book by Bellesiles called Arming America: The origins of a National Gun Culture. ( for an example look here) But on issues that concern the 2nd amendment I have been absolutely disgusted by some of his views.

Clayton Cramer tends to fall into that psuedo-Fuddite mold, where anything is a victory if it directly benefits him personally, & things that would not benefit him do not seem of much importance. An example of this is CCW permit reciprocity: count how many times he ends a post about a new state recognizing another states permit by stating that's one more state he can carry in. But he dismisses any attempts at a Vermont based system (no permits or fees required) as politically hopeless & not worth the effort. In fact I have exchanged a few e mails with him over his approval of the Colorado 'Shall Issue' CCW law that was passed earlier in the year. He seemingly could not comprehend that the new CCW law was so bad that the old 'may issue' type law was better. After our exchanges he wrote an article in the Shotgun News which basically affirmed his earlier assessment that the new Colorado CCW was good. He did mention with some incredulity that some e-mails he received complained about the new law & that it seemed like these e-mailers would have rather kept the old law, which in my case at least was exactly what I had stated. Not that the old law was good, it was just better compared to the new law & if a Vermont based CCW couldn't happen we were better off under the old law. In the end I think he, like so many others have been blinded by three words: "Shall-Issue, Reciprocity. You can decide for yourself about which CCW law was better by reading this comparison on them.
But Clayton Cramer does do some good work & some very good, detailed research. As far as I know it's just on concealed carry issues where we seem to clash.

Moving right along Clayton Cramer seems to agree with the NRA line about waiting until a more favorable court is sitting before bringing a direct 2nd amendment question up.
Of course the response that immediately comes to mind is, "Then why don't we just wait for a more favorable Constitution to come along?".

There is absolutely no argument I have ever heard that is more cowardly than to not do the right thing because you might not win. There is a chance & possibly a good one that the Supreme Court would rule unfavorably in a 2nd amendment case. But the answer is not to delay a 2nd amendment case until the 'right' judges can be lined up: the answer is to give the 2nd amendment case everything you have. If you lose, then the choices are not much different than before: either work on changing the law/Constitution, work on another 2nd amendment case in hopes of the court reversing itself, or give up entirely & start organizing a secessionist movement.

But what would happen if a 2nd amendment case was heard & decided upon favorably? Well depending on the particulars one specific law, a multitude of laws, or every law that prohibited or restricted gun ownership, possession & transport would be off the books & putting them or others like them back on the books would be difficult at best. The NRA would no longer be able to use scare tactics to increase its membership or solicit contributions. In short they'd go back to being what they actually were useful as: a sports shooting & safety organization. The NRA leadership & attorneys do not want that as it would radically alter their tax brackets.

The NRA wants to avoid any direct 2nd amendment questions simply because if they win they'd lose their income. All the justifications they use to cover this fact are unconvincing, at least to me.
Similarly I do not see a conflict in the NRA attempting to help get Sen. Hatch's bill passed just to avoid any decisions on the 2nd amendment.

So while the proposed law that Sen. Hatch introduced seems like a good thing on its face it could do more damage to the Right to Arms than you'd think. Let's hope the CATO lawyers are able to argue their case before this bill is passed.

Kevin of The Smallest Minority has a nice essay called "A Mistake Free People Only Get to Make Once".

Go read.
Alphecca's Weekly Check on the Bias at Yahoo with New & Improved Poddle Shootin' Graphics is up. (July 16th edition)

& while you're there feed the kitties. Jeff spends quite a bit of time getting these tables together, so can we get Brother Jeff a little love offering? I say - can we get Brother Jeff a little love offering? Just click on the kitties & show him some love.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The lovely (& talented) Annika wrote to ask me a question about a specific subject in an article she was reading about Glock pistols. Upon reading the article in question I realized that it had been far too long since I delivered a proper fisking that addressed a news articles lack of technical knowledge about firearms as well as the LAPD's reasoning in switching sidearms. Hence, we have this post. (Note to Glock fans: expect less than a favorable treatment on the LAPD's wisdom in adopting this particular pistol.)

LAPD may adopt powerful weapon
By Mariel Garza
Staff Writer

Looking to better arm officers who face heavy firepower from criminals, LAPD will likely soon add the futuristic Glock pistol to its arsenal.

Heavy firepower from criminals? Does this mean the dreaded .500 S&W Magnum has made it onto the streets of L.A.?

The Glock is fast becoming the standard for police agencies nationwide. The metal-and-plastic Glock would provide greater stopping power than the current standard-issue Beretta 9 mm without the added weight of a .45-caliber handgun, the LAPD's alternate sidearm.

The statement taken by itself is erroneous. It is a cartridge that determines what ‘stopping power’ is, not the platform from which it was launched.

If the Police Commission approves the plan, many of the 6,000 officers still using the Beretta are expected to upgrade to the .40-caliber Glock.

Upgrade is a very subjective term, especially here. But it would have been more accurate to say the upgrade was from a 9x19mm cartridge to a .40 S&W cartridge, not necessarily the platforms used to launch the cartridges in question. Also I would be curious to know why the LAPD didn't just switch calibers. Beretta makes a .40 S&W version of their model 92: it's called the model 96. I would further speculate that one should be able to convert a 9mm Beretta 92 to .40 S&W by simply changing the slide assembly & magazine - thereby saving money (slides & magazines are much cheaper than whole pistols) & training time since the basic operation of the weapon would be the same. Of course I could be mistaken about merely exchanging slide assemblies & magazines.

While the Beretta would still be the Los Angeles Police Department's standard-issue sidearm, officers would be able to buy the $500 Glock themselves, using money from their $850-a-year equipment stipend.

From Merriam-Webster:
Logistics 1 : the aspect of military science dealing with the procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military matériel, facilities, and personnel
2 : the handling of the details of an operation

Granted - a police department has different needs than a military organization (& rightly so) but it is usually not a good idea to have two different weapons in two different calibers that serve the purpose of a main weapon.

"It's got a little more stopping power than 9 mm, but not the same recoil of .45," said Officer Mike Horan, with the LAPD's Firearms Unit.

(* To clarify - If the officer is talking about the difference between a .45 acp Glock as oppossed to a .40 S&W Glock, then the statement may be true. If he refers to a .45 acp 1911 or some other type of pistol heavier than the Glock his statement may be false.)

The officer's statement may be true on its face but I feel it's intent is erroneous. Recoil often varies between two guns of the same make using different ammunition so it's true that the recoil isn't the same. However in the context I feel the implication was there is less recoil than the .45acp. This may or may not be true.

Recoil can be explained by basic laws of physics. Many variables come into play such as projectile weight, powder charge, weight of the firearm, etc. So the Glock 21 (in .45acp) weighing in at around 26 ounces empty would presumably have more free recoil than a Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 1911 (also in .45acp) which weighs in around 35 ounces empty. Now loaded magazines increase the weight for both pistols & the ammunition used may have variances in bullet & charge weight. But all things being equal except for the weight of each pistol when loaded & ready to fire the heavier pistol will generate less free recoil.

For example if we assume the Glock 21's loaded weight is 38.28 ounces (26.28 ounces unloaded plus a loaded magazine that weighs 12 ounces), the bullets weight is 230 grains per bullet, the charge weight is 7.5 grains & the muzzle velocity is around 950 feet per second that gives us a free recoil energy of about 8.69 foot-pounds.

If we assume the Springfield Mil-Spec 1911's loaded weight is 45 ounces (35 ounces unloaded plus a loaded magazine that weighs 10 ounces) the bullet weight being 230 grains per bullet, the charge weight being 7.5 grains & the muzzle velocity being around 950 feet per second we have a free recoil energy of approximately 7.39 foot pounds.

Now in all fairness, or unfairness as the case may be, the comparison was between an unspecified .45 acp chambered pistol & a Glock pistol in .40 S&W which I will assume is the Glock 22.

Going by the above variables (altered slightly because of the change in cartridges) if we assume the loaded weight of the Glock 22 to be 34.38 ounces (22.92 ounces unloaded plus a loaded magazine that weighs 11.46 ounce) with the bullet weight being 165 grains per bullet, the charge weight being 9.9 grains & the muzzle velocity aorund 100 feet per second we arrive at a free recoil energy of 7.67 foot-pounds.

To sum up the Springfield 1911 in .45 acp has a free recoil energy of 7.39 foot-pounds. The Glock 21 in .45 acp has a free recoil energy of 8.69 foot pounds. The Glock 22 in .40 S&W has a free recoil energy of 7.67 foot-pounds. Those numbers only apply to the variables I used. Change bullet weight, powder weight, etc.. & the numbers will change in proportion.

Only if the Glock 21 in .45 acp was used in the statement by the officer would it be true. If the mystery .45 acp chambered pistol was a 1911 type then it would be false.

One more thing about recoil: while there are precise ways to come up with a number, recoil is perceptive to an extent. The numbers are usually good for relative comparisons (this one has a higher free recoil energy than that one so it must kick harder) but a persons perception can affect how recoil is felt.
For example I have a .40 S&W which I feel has more recoil than most .45 acp's that I've shot. But I have friends who swear the opposite is true - that the .45 acp generates much more recoil.

For your convenience here is a link to some free downloadable files that will calculate recoil, cost per round, pressure estimates from velocity, etc... should you wish to explore the matter further.

Even smaller police departments have adopted the Austrian-made Glocks, citing accuracy, dependability and durability.
"It's a great little gun," said San Fernando Police Chief Anthony Alba. "It's got the same trigger pull, every time."

A single action such as the 1911 has the same trigger pull every time. So do double action only firearms. This isn't necessarily the great thing that this officer & Glock would like you to believe.

They make the statement in comparison to a traditional double action semi-automatic which has a long relatively heavy trigger pull for the first shot (because it cocks the hammer) & a relatively light trigger pull for the subsequent shots (because the slide cocks the hammer as the action cycles).
This is a trivial comparison. It takes about two minutes to demonstrate the difference in trigger pulls encountered in a traditional double action & I would assume probably 20 minutes on the range to get used to it. The advantage to the traditional double action is that you can carry the hammer uncocked. The first trigger pull will cock the hammer. This in some people's minds decreases the danger of an accidental discharge as you have a relatively heavy trigger pull for the first shot. It also provides for some people a sense of safety that the pistol won't fire if dropped since the hammer is down. But the main benefit is after you have dealt with the initial, heavy trigger pull you have a relatively light trigger pull for the rest of your shots. & all things being equal a lighter trigger pull is usually more beneficial to accuracy than a heavy one.

With the Glock you have a relatively light trigger pull (when compared to the traditional double action pistol) on the first shot & a relatively heavy trigger pull (when compared to the traditional double action pistol) for each subsequent shot.
Personally I prefer either the single action or traditional double action. But I see no real advantage in having a double action trigger pull for each shot. Any areas of concern with the single action or traditional double action systems can be overcome with adequate training. & not much more training than learning to operate a double action only trigger pull such as the Glock.

San Fernando police officers traded in their Sig Sauers two months ago after a colleague accidentally dropped his half-cocked weapon in the parking lot and it discharged, striking him in the head and killing him.

I wonder if they'd trade in their cruisers for another make if a cop lost control while doing a high speed turn? I am always sorry to hear about accidental deaths but at the risk of being callous you should be careful not to drop your firearm for reasons such as this.

& I am unaware of the Sig-Sauer pistols having a 'half'cock' setting. It is either fully cocked or not cocked at all. Half cock notches are usually limited to certain lever action rifles & single action revolvers from the late 19th century. I would be curious to find out the particulars. But in any event the carelessness of one person is no reason to abandon a perfectly good weapons system.

Glocks cannot discharge accidentally because they don't have external safety locks, police say, relying instead on a trigger lever that must be depressed to shoot. It's like the gun is always on -- and always off.

B.S. Any mechanical device can fail. Any device operated by a human is subject to operator error. The only real safety when dealing with firearms is located between the operators ears.
In any event external safety locks do not cause a probability of accidental dischargers. They are designed to reduce the possibility of a weapon firing unintentionally.
The much touted trigger lever that acts as a safety is nothing more than a variant of internal safety devices found on other pistols. In effect they prevent the firing pin or striker from contacting the primer in the cartridge unless the trigger is pulled.
But whether or not this feature is innovative or a carefully packaged variant of pre-existing cocnepts does not change the fact that if a person puts his/her finger on the trigger & applies pressure the firearm will disharge. There is no mechanical safety that will prevent operator error where an ill trained or generally negligent person is involved.

Despite the faith of the police in the inherent safety of the Glock I refer you to this link that deals with the capability of the Glock to fire out of battery & to this link about the accidental discharge of a glock as it was being loaded.

They dropped it from a helicopter to see if it would discharge on impact -- it didn't. They ran over it with a car to see if it would fire when squished -- it still didn't. And they dropped it in mud to see if it would fire when clogged with goo -- it did.
"It shoots under water; you can roll over them with your SUV; they don't fire when dropped," said Aristotle Rogel, manager of Stevenson Gun Country in Burbank, which is a main supplier of Glocks to law enforcement agencies locally.

I would assume the same about many other fine quality pistols that are available. However I don't think the whole truth is being told. I refer you to this information about the DEA frisbee tests of the Glock.

As a side note - all pistols can fire underwater so long as the cartridges are not saturated. The trick is to have a slightly heavier firing pin or striker spring to provide enough momentum to detontate the primer. The water will sometimes cause enough resistance to prevent adequate force from being transfered to the primer. The most important thing it to completely submerse the firearm. a barrle half in/half out of water will explode.

But I find it a little suspect that these glowing reports are coming from a man engaged in the business of selling Glocks.

"It always works when you pull the trigger," Rogel said

Nope. Any mechanical device can & will fail. No firearms reliability is absolute. But I submit to you the following on the reliability of the Glock: NYPD Phase Three Malfunctions with the Glock 19.

It's been less than 15 years since LAPD officers used .38-caliber barrel revolvers. After a two-year pilot program, they switched in 1989 to the semiautomatic 9 mm, citing a need to compete with better-equipped criminals.

Just how are the criminals better equipped? Someone needs to relay to them the old axiom that states you are never outgunned if you don't miss.
In any event the 'need' was probably more perceived than real. I would like to see the percentage of shootings where an officer fired more than 6 shots out of necessity. This would not include emptying a magazine into a car as it's driving away as has happened in several places across the country as of late.

Less than a decade later, officers again felt outgunned. Complaints that LAPD weapons couldn't match the equipment of the criminals were brushed aside until the 44-minute North Hollywood bank shootout in 1997, when armor-clad robbers armed with machine guns made the LAPD's 9 mm handguns look like pea shooters.
The televised event reopened the argument and paved the way for the department to allow use of the heavier, more powerful .45-caliber. They offered more shooting power but were too heavy to be a realistic choice for everyone.
That's why Burbank went right to the .40-caliber Glock, which has equal power, but is smaller and lighter, with less kick.

So a .40 S&W will make a difference if they're faced with fully automatic rifles? Or even a .45acp? The only thing Glock makes that would have helped in the North Hollywood bank robbery/shoot-out is hand grenades.
Bullet proof vests are made to different levels, but most will stop any of the handgun rounds the LAPD would consider. But must vests will not stop a relatively weak rifle round such as the .223 Remington or the .30-30 Winchester of lever action fame.
& no bullet proof vest will help if you're shot in the head. When the cops realized the bank robbers were wearing vests they should have started aiming for the head. If they had been trained properly, or more precisely practiced enough to keep their skills up then a head shot would have ended that mess much sooner than the time it took.

But a change in pistols will not help the situation.

"The officers need to have weapons to fight back," said City Councilman Dennis Zine, a retired LAPD sergeant who argued for the LAPD to allow officers to carry a .45-caliber after the North Hollywood shooting. "(Otherwise), it's like giving a firefighter a garden hose to put out a fire."

Then again with proper training & practice the officers should be able to handle all but the rarest of occasions with the equipment they currently have, which is not anywhere near the bottom of the list of reliable equipment.

Ann Reiss Lane, the founder and a board member of Women Against Gun Violence, agreed that there's a lot of firepower on the streets. "As long as those weapons are available, I understand why police feel they need them."

What the bloody hell is a quote from an anti-gun group doing in an article about the LAPD changing its weapons?

In fact the whole article is hypocritical to the nth degree. It states that officers needed to abandon low capacity weapons to counter the threat of criminals, but yet makes no mention of the fact that civilians are limited to low capacity weapons. It talkes of the need to have a well armed police force to deal with the criminal element yet makes no mention of the need for citizens to be well armed to deal with the same criminal element, despite the fact that the general public deals with criminals more frequently than the police do. & to top it off an anti-gun group board member gets to put in her two cents?
Also they fail to mention the LAPD's efforts to take away .50 caliber firearms from their citizens.

Mariel Garza can be reached at (213) 978-0390 and

All in all most of the factual errors came from cops. but it might be worth mentioning that to the reporter in question.

One more thing about Glocks:
They have unsupported chambers. This means that the cartridge case is not fully enclosed by the chamber when the cartridge is discharged. With lower pressure rounds this is not that big of a deal. but with higher pressure rounds such as the .40 S&W this can be catastrophic. What is supposed to happen in a fully supported chamber is that the case expands upon firing & is stopped by the chamber, thus forming a tight seal that prevents any gas from escaping & damaging the gun &/or blowing back into your face. With an unsupported chamber if the pressure is too high the case expands too much & the cartridge is not stopped from its expansion in the unsupported portion of the chamber. This can lead to several nasty things: the best being a ruptured case which shoots gas & brass fragments back at you & the worst being a structural failure of the firearm (in other words the gun blowing up).

Here are examples of what can go wrong: a Glock FAQ that deals with catastrophic failures

Glocks major problems

A Glock 36 fails

A Glock 35 fails

A Glock model 30 fails

Glock 21 & 22 failures

A Glock 21 fails

Most of the Glock related links are from The Gun Zone which is run by a fellow name of Dean Speir. I highly recommend browsing over there as some of the info to be found is invaluable.

Now all this doesn't mean I wouldn't use a Glock if I absolutely had to. But I feel there are better choices from company's that seem to be more up front about their products. Besides, I simply don't have enough faith in the separation of assembly lines to buy a pistol from a company that makes hand grenades. :)

* Annika pointed out that the wording could have been a little better phrased to clarify my point, so I added what I hope to be a more concise explanation of why the statement made by the officer may be incorrect. I am not one to argue with a conservative lady who spent so much time behind enemy lines. But in my defense I must add that if I had more time I would have written it simpler.

Monday, July 14, 2003

As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. — Justice William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court (1939-75)

An interesting bit of history about Justice Douglas: He was not appointed to the Supreme Court until early April of 1939 & had missed the oral arguments in the U.S. vs. Miller appeal which occurred on March 15th, 1939. So he recused himself from offering any opinion in regards to that case. It would have been interesting to see what his take on the matter was, especially considering he served in WW1 where, like all wars, short barreled shotguns were used in a military capacity.

The JPFO has a decent summary of the circumstances surrounding U.S. vs. Miller written by Richard Stevens & Aaron Zelman.
The National Rifle & Pistol Matches at Camp Perry start today.

"The National Matches and the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) were created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress to preserve the heritage of American marksmanship. The CPM continues to promote firearms safety training and rifle practice, with special emphasis on youth.
The 2002 matches were the largest in recent years and matches and shooting schools have been expanded for this year.
Take a stroll along Perry Street in Port Clinton and you'll know the National Matches are in town. With as many as 6,000 shooters on the firing lines over the next month, the matches are a bonanza for local businesses. Large signs at motels and restaurants greet the competitors, welcoming the men and women who range from everyday shooters to the finest marksmen in the country.
Tomorrow's First Shot Ceremony has been changed to a late afternoon event with Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo pulling the trigger. The 5:30 p.m. ceremony features a color guard from the U.S. Coast Guard station in nearby Marblehead, the 122nd Army National Guard Band and recognition of past champions of the National Matches.
Tomorrow's ceremony and all of the National Matches are open to the public with no admission charge.
The prestigious matches are called the World Series of shooting, but the competition is not the only thing that lures crowds of shooting fans to Camp Perry. The shooting exhibits and retail shops set up during the National Matches are very popular, as are the shooting schools."

Ah. refreshing to see a town welcome gun owning tourists isn't it?

"The NRA National Pistol Championships are held from Tuesday through July 20. The NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships are July 24-27, followed by the NRA National Smallbore Rifle Prone Championships (July 28-Aug. 1); CMP National Trophy Rifle Matches (Aug. 5-9); NRA National High Power Rifle Championships (Aug. 10-14); and the unique Long Range Championships (Aug. 15-18).
The shooting schools include the CMP Small Arms Firing School - Pistol (tomorrow and Tuesday); NRA Pistol Coach School (tomorrow through Wednesday); the NRA Smallbore Rifle Coach School (July 24-25); NRA American Sport Education Program (July 27); NRA Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp (July 27-Aug. 1); NRA High Power Coach School (Aug. 2-5); CMP Advanced Junior High Power Rifle Marksmanship Clinic (Aug. 2-4); CMP Small Arms Firing School (Aug. 3-4); and Long Range Firing School (Aug. 16-20).
For information on the National Matches, call the CMP (419-635-2141), visit or call the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau (1-800-441-1271)."

I have wanted to go to Camp Perry for a while. Of course just being a spectator would be enjoyable as hell. But to compete at Perry you have to know a little more than which end of the gun to place against your shoulder (although that helps to the nth degree). These are the people that people think of when they think of riflemen.
So if you're in or around the Ohio area, take some time & go see what riflemen can do. & take some pics. If you can't publish them online yourself e mail me & I'll either help you figure out how to or I'll post them myself. & most importantly - find out what equipment the top shooters are using - what brand of barrels, what slings, what sights, etc... cause these guys don't make it to Perry with equipment that doesn't work.

A nice article on Linda Joy & her relationship with firearms.

"Before an ex-boyfriend surprised her with a day of skeet shooting in early 1989, Linda Joy had never picked up a gun. But after hitting 17 out of 25 clays her first time out she found it hard to put it down and has been shooting competitively ever since.
'I fired my first shot in 1989 and I started competing about six months later because I thought it would be fun just to see,' Joy said. 'I am a competitive person, it wouldn't be fun for me just to play a game. I have to beat some body at Scrabble, I can't just play Scrabble just for the fun of it'."

So 100% of nursing mothers surveyed in this article agree: guns are more fun than Scrabble.

BTw, not only is Linda Joy the proud parent of a 4 month old bouncing baby boy - she's "...the captain of the United States Women's team competing this weekend at Claythorne Lodge seven miles west of Columbus in the FITASC World Sporting Championship. The U.S. national team is made up of the top four or five point winners from he past year. Joy was named team captain for having the most points in the nation last season."

If your child is murdered by a knife wielding criminal the logical thing to do is to start an anti-gun group.

"When her 22-year-old son was stabbed on a Syracuse street three months ago, Helen Hudson galvanized other mothers to form Mothers Against Gun Violence."

I feel for the womans loss. I cannot imagine what it would feel like having my child murdered.

But I must confess I do find her deductive reasoning skillls somewhat lacking. How did that thought process work? "Since my son was killed with a knife I must do everything I can to stop people from owning guns." Or perhaps, "A knife is made of steel. A gun is made of steel. A knife killed my son, but since it was made of steel then maybe it was just a sharp pistol. Therefore if I eliminate guns which are made of steel then no one will be stabbed with a sharp pistol" Or maybe, "Since knives & guns are both made of steel then if I eliminate guns knives will disappear as well since they're made from the same material"

Personally I would have thought, "Since my unarmed son was stabbed with a knife then obviously he wouldn't have been stabbed if he had a gun. So therefore I will encourage people to learn how to use & carry guns so they won't be stabbed to death by criminals the way my son was." But that's just me.

Correction: Kevin at The Smallest Minority correctly points out that the son was stabbed but survived. Apperently I was so taken aback by the rest of the story that I just assumed the son was killed, despite it being written very plainly that he survived. Thanks to Kevin for pointing that out.
Representative Ron Paul (R-Tx.) tells us of how we're being Neo-conned.

"The modern-day, limited-government movement has been co-opted. The conservatives have failed in their effort to shrink the size of government. There has not been, nor will there soon be, a conservative revolution in Washington. Political party control of the federal government has changed, but the inexorable growth in the size and scope of government has continued unabated. The liberal arguments for limited government in personal affairs and foreign military adventurism were never seriously considered as part of this revolution.

Since the change of the political party in charge has not made a difference, who’s really in charge? If the particular party in power makes little difference, whose policy is it that permits expanded government programs, increased spending, huge deficits, nation building and the pervasive invasion of our privacy, with fewer Fourth Amendment protections than ever before?

Someone is responsible, and it’s important that those of us who love liberty, and resent big-brother government, identify the philosophic supporters who have the most to say about the direction our country is going. If they’re wrong—and I believe they are—we need to show it, alert the American people, and offer a more positive approach to government. However, this depends on whether the American people desire to live in a free society and reject the dangerous notion that we need a strong central government to take care of us from the cradle to the grave. Do the American people really believe it’s the government’s responsibility to make us morally better and economically equal? Do we have a responsibility to police the world, while imposing our vision of good government on everyone else in the world with some form of utopian nation building? If not, and the enemies of liberty are exposed and rejected, then it behooves us to present an alternative philosophy that is morally superior and economically sound and provides a guide to world affairs to enhance peace and commerce.
One thing is certain: conservatives who worked and voted for less government in the Reagan years and welcomed the takeover of the U.S. Congress and the presidency in the 1990s and early 2000s were deceived. Soon they will realize that the goal of limited government has been dashed and that their views no longer matter."

Go read it all.