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Friday, April 29, 2016

What happened to personal responsibility?

We live in interesting times. The debate about personal liberty, and the right to express it in the way you choose seems to be a daily feature of a great many people's lives. I think there is a pressure group for pretty much every cause, and for all facets of every argument. The thing that links pretty much all of them is that they are all claiming to be 'standing up for the rights' of the individuals whom they agree with, and demonstrating which parts of the constitution are being breached if their argument isn't accepted.

Where these various pressure groups seem to have fewer answers is when you put to them the fact that in a great deal of these cases, to uphold 'the rights' of the people they represent, they unashamedly call for the rights of the people they disagree with to be curtailed. There are many examples of this, and I want to preface my remarks here with the rider that I hold no specific position on any of the issues I comment on here, with the exception of the gun issues obviously.

We have Christian bakers being told whom they have to bake cakes for, organizations being told they must rethink the whole where one goes to the bathroom 'issue', states being boycotted for reasons unclear to most, utterly irrelevant to the vast majority, people being shunned for views that only a few short years ago were not uncommon, and others being held responsible for the actions of their dim and distant relatives from 1 or 2 centuries ago, whom they can't even name.

And that brings us neatly to the firearms debate. There are some out there that would seek to inflict their will or opinion on those of us who choose the shooting sports as a pastime, and who chose to carry a weapon to defend ourselves, our loved ones and each other. They claim they don't feel safe seeing someone walking the isles of Walmart with a 45 safely holstered, as they might shoot them! I wonder how they would feel if they were in that same Walmart, and someone with less than legal intent entered the store and began randomly shooting at staff and customers, would they be a little more happy to see the 45 come out of that holster?

And there for me is the issue. I believe in live and let live, If someone doesn't want to make a cake for someone, hey if it was me, I would find someone who wanted my business, ever made an enemy of a chef before he/she cooks your food, BAD plan!! Do I care who uses what bathroom, though I would suggest that we have managed just fine with 2 bathrooms and no confusion as to who uses which one for as long as there have been public bathrooms. The same can be said of firearms.

Me carrying a firearm effects nobody else's rights, or ability to go about their day. Their insistence on trying to impose their opinion on me, now that can and does have consequences on how I go about my day. If you can see someone open carrying their gun, it's unlikely in the extreme that they have anything less than self defence in mind. If I am concealed carrying, the anti would never know, so no issue there. So we come down to perception, or to put it another way, profiling is a dangerous thing. We are told we cannot profile people, that to do so is wrong. Various court cases have supported this argument, as Sheriff Arpaio will no doubt confirm.

But what happens when there is a shooting? Those of us who do enjoy our sport, and who DO carry to defend ourselves again fund ourselves on the defensive. Maricopa City is taking a positive step, and allowing firearms onto city owned property, and rightly so. To accuse a large section of the community of being dangerous, and potential mass murderers, who should have their guns taken away makes as little sense as saying that car drivers are all murderers, and because a drivers of Fords killed the most last year, all Fords should be taken away!

Fact is, people kill people, they USE hammers, knives, cars, drugs and all manner of other exotic ways to achieve that end result, but to blame the tool is as pointless as blaming a vending machine company for the 3 people that will die as a result of vending machine accidents in 2016.

If we are going to defend peoples rights, we need to defend them ALL, not just the ones that affect us.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gun control by the backdoor?

You may remember that a few weeks ago we spoke about gun control, and that I put forward the view that nobody would attempt an all out frontal assault on the 2nd amendment, but that they would attempt to outflank those people who choose to own firearms, and get legislation in place making gun ownership very difficult before anyone knew what was happening?

It would seem that various states and territories are introducing taxes and other measures that make owning a gun prohibitively expensive, or legally impossible. Remember when DC was forced by the supreme court to enact a mechanism that allowed people to carry a concealed firearm? They complied, but the qualifications required to hold the license included a qualifying class which hadn't been written, whose content hadn't been defined, and yet, you had to pass to apply for a CCW!!

Lets look as some other examples;

Seattle Gun and Ammunition Tax: On Jan. 1, 2016, Seattle’s $25 per gun tax took effect, as did a two cent to five cent tax per round of ammunition. The new taxes have already forced at least one major gun dealer to leave the city.

Cook County, Ill. Gun and Ammunition Tax: On June 1, 2016, Cook County’s new ammunition tax takes effect, at a rate of one cent to five cents per round of ammunition. The ammo tax comes on top of the existing gun tax regime of $25 per gun.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $1,000 per gun tax should serve as a “role model” for states, according to the governor of the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, which imposed the $1,000 gun tax earlier this month

    Unsurprisingly, this gun tax, detailed above was endorsed by Democrat front runner, Hilary Clinton in 1993, seems little has changed, apart from the realisation that they cannot achieve 'gun control' through the front door, and must find other less obvious, and less attention grabbing ways of achieving their aims.

    Hillary Clinton’s 25% Gun Tax Endorsement: In passionate testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in 1993, Hillary Clinton gave her strong personal endorsement to a new national 25% sales tax on guns and endorsed a steep increase in the gun dealer fee, to $2,500. "I am speaking personally, but I feel very strongly about that,” said Clinton at the conclusion of her endorsement.
    Seems fairly cut and dried where she stands!

    But what can we do to stem the tide? Personally, I believe we need to pick out battles, and fight them to win, gaining public support as we go. I will take a lot of flack for this I know, but we have to accept that we cannot win every battle. For instance, if we accept, as we have the principle of background checks, it makes little sense to fight against universal background checks. It only weakens our case when important battles rear their heads, and hands a PR victory to those that seek to 'control' firearms.

    You cannot win every battle in any war., but some are vital. Let's remember, Al Capone went to prison and died there for tax evasion, and if we are not very very careful, we will find ourselves with a fatally damaged 2nd amendment not by legislation, but by taxes, and seemingly innocuous regulations, while our eye was off the ball, looking at where we think the problem is.

    What do YOU think, I would love to hear your views and opinions, no matter whether you agree with me or whether you think I am as wrong as the guy who decided Titanic was unsinkable!

    Source material for this article


    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Lawsuits are interesting things.

    It seems that the judiciary are joining the seeming liberal landslide to attack the gun industry when someone miss uses their products. But it seems that this maybe an issue to far.

    In the court of Connecticut State Judge Barbara Bellis, a motion to throw out a court case against the manufacturer, distributor and the retailer in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012. It appears that there is legislation that protects manufacturers from law suits such as this, but that has been ignored by this particular judge.

    The the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), or PLCAA for short is a 2005 federal law that provides gun businesses general immunity from civil lawsuits. Now far be it from me to agree with Berni Sanders, but it seems that even he agrees with the principle that lawfully selling a legal item to someone, who then uses it for an illegal purpose should not expose the seller to a lawsuit for someone else's actions!

    He voted for the legislation when it passed, and is quoted in the article. When asked whether he thinks the victims of a gun-related crime should be able to sue the manufacturer, “No, I don’t,” he said, explaining that he doesn’t think a dealer should face a lawsuit for selling a gun legally to a customer who then misuses the weapon in a crime"

    Now lets get something straight, if someone comes in, says they want to buy a gun for a friend, gives you that friend's ID, tries to pay with a stolen credit card, fails a background check then pays in cash, and you allow him to buy a gun from you, frankly, you deserve all you get!!

    But in this, and MANY other cases, the gun store, follows the law, to the letter, every part of it, yet is attacked along with the makers for the actions of someone they have no control over once hat transaction has taken place.

    To attempt to sue a retailer, manufacturer and distributor in a case like that is akin to suing Earnhart , the truck company that brings them the cars, and Buick/GMC for the actions of Lakeisha Holloway who deliberately drove her Oldsmobile into a crowd in Las Vegas in January, killing 1 person, and injuring many more! What if it had been a Hummer? Would the contention in the court of Judge Barbara Bellis that "They argue the rifle shouldn’t have been entrusted to the general public because it is a military-style assault weapon that is unsuited for civilian use" apply in this case?

    Of course not. Sadly the realization that it really is people that kill people, no inanimate objects acting by themselves as a result of their production by the greedy out to make a few bucks gets lost in the sadness, and almost and desperation to try to find a reason for, and a way to prevent actions such as that of the low life who perpetrated such an appalling act in the future.

    Sadly, the human condition dictates that from time to time, 'people' will seek to kill many of the people that surround them. To attempt to ban the items they use to carry out that act would seem to miss the point somewhat, as well as achieving little to nothing.

    I leave you with this thought, on the 3rd anniversary of the appalling attack by the scum that were the Tsarnaev brothers. There has been no call to ban the equipment they used. Where people seek to do evil, they will find a way, be it bomb, gun, chemical or any other number of twisted methods they may come up with. Your best defense, be ready, be armed, and train train train!

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this, feel free to comment. Apart from use of bad language, no comment is a bad comment!

    Newsweek article from Conneticut

    Friday, April 8, 2016

    Self awareness is what REALLY keeps you safe.

    I cannot claim this one sadly, my wife surprised me with it a while ago on her Facebook page. What it highlights is that it's not just about what you carry, it's about how YOU train and how you conduct yourself, that's what matters, and that's what keeps you safe. I've said enough, read the text below, and I would be fascinated to hear your thoughts.

    I've had a couple things happen to me similar in severity to this. Not going to go into it, that's not what this post is about.

    I think the wording in this ("white" and "male" and "terrorism,") is a bit extreme, and screams feminazi. But the stories aren't off base. Like I said, I have a couple. The article is not a good example in my opinion but it's what is setting me off.

    My stories are from years and years back. But now I understand the behavior that men (and women, honestly) /may/ exhibit and I can prepare for it and protect myself and others. The hard truth is that it is more likely that the behavior will continue than be resolved any time soon, and until then it behooves me to be prepared for it rather than sit around whining about the way things are.
    If you are a female, you should be prepared. If you are a male, you should be prepared. That's just the way the world is. It's a shame, don't get me wrong. But just because it's a shame doesnt mean it's going to stop happening. These stories make me just as angry as the next person, but some of this can be avoided.

    Stop being victims. Be more aware. Travel with others, watch your surroundings, take classes. It's work at first but after a while it becomes second nature. I am entirely aware of everyone that enters the 21 foot circle around me, even when I'm unarmed. I make eye contact with people that make me uncomfortable so they know I see them. I walk shoulders back and head up because that demonstration of confidence is enough to act as a deterrent. I dont look at my phone unless I am stopped against a wall or in a corner where I can see whats going on around me. And I plan to be attacked. I know I won't be prepared for it because it's never happened to me (ie, a mugging, not my previous encounters). But mentally I feel that I am at least at an advantage over someone who doesnt think about it at all.

    Crimes are 99% opportunity. The more opportunities you present, the more likely you are to have someone take it. This applies to everyday life. Zip your purse closed, dont park next to large vehicles like vans, dont look at your phone while you walk through a parking lot. I go as far as to try and think of how I would attack me, how I would attack others during their normal routines. Not because I'm crazy or I'm gonna do it but because then I have some sort of clue. I can get into the mindset and prepare further.

    This is a huge mental shift for some. It doesnt have to be as extreme as what I do, but you need to do something. And I encourage any of my female friends to message me with questions, or to tell me your stories, because it's important.

    Stop. Being. A. Victim.

    Friday, April 1, 2016

    Dangerous streets?

    People from back home in the UK often ask me "does it feel odd carrying a gun" or "do you really need to carry a gun with you?

    I remember when I 1st arrived in the US 4 years ago, I was stunned on going to my 1st Crossroads of The West Gun Show, to see people armed with every conceivable weapons that could possibly be carried, and simply walking around, no problem, no hassle, just going about their business. A few weeks later, I found myself in Crown King, up in the mountains near Mayer, after a long and eventful journey in the snow (long story for another day!)! In the saloon, there was a wedding reception going on, and everyone almost without exception, was sporting a loaded .44, and nobody batted an eyelid.

    That was real eye opener for me, coming from a country that has no guns, and where carrying a small knife will land you in jail for at least the night. Over the next few months, it began to surprise me less and less to see ordinary people carrying, what until now, I had only seen carried by specialist police units, as very few police in the UK carry guns either!

    But here's the thing. People will ask "why do you need to carry a gun" and when given the response "to defend myself" try to come back with all manner of reasons why you shouldn't. Looking at a few of those, with the benefit of learning from my experiences, and coming from a country with no guns, I feel well placed to comment.

    When there are no guns, people will claim, you are safer, because you won't get shot. Now coming from London, that claim quickly falls away. Muggings in the UK with knives, bats, sticks etc etc are endemic. If you go to certain parts on London, you WILL be mugged, and there is NOTHING you can do about it. Co incidence?

    If you carry a firearm here in the US, you can actually defend yourself and your loved ones, a firearm
    in the correct hands is a leveler, a way to actually be able to have a chance of retaining your health and wealth. In the UK, pretty much all you have is harsh words! Which cities in the US are the most dangerous, and have the highest murder rates? The top 3 most dangerous cities are in states that have some of the tightest gun restrictions in the US?

    Fact is that those that want to take want you have sweated to to earn, don;t care whether it's legal to carry a gun while they commit crime, it's just another charge. What about Brandon Jenkins? Thankfully this ex marine was able to fight off a guy trying to hijack his motorbike. What if the guy had tried to hijack a car driven by you, maybe with your family in it, would you be able to fight him off?

    People say they have never been in that situation, and therefore don't need a gun.
    Do you have a fire extinguisher, an airbag in your car, seat belts, shall I go on? I have never needed to use my firearm to defend myself, and I sincerely hope I never do.

    Am I more comfortable, and do I feel safer than I ever did living in London, yes, absolutely.

    What are your thoughts, do you feel safer carrying a firearm?