Saturday, December 26, 2009

Storing Guns Safely, Yet at the Ready

The subject of firearm storage has come up a few times recently, and it got me thinking about safe storage of firearms - more specifically, how to store them safely yet remain at the ready.

Firearm storage is a touchy subject with many people. Most gun owners know how to keep their weapons secure and out of the reach of unwanted people, or little fingers. There are also those who are uninitiated into the gun ownership way of life that automatically assume that guns should be kept unloaded in the house.

I am going to do my best to dispel the rumors regarding safe firearm storage and at the same time give some insight into what method works for me. There is no catch-all when it comes to safe storage of firearms, but a few basic rules do apply.

Safety

The first rule that you need be intimately familiar with is James' first universal rule regarding safe firearms handling and storage: GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED. If you do not yet understand this rule, then let me repeat: GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED. Even when guns are not loaded, they are to be considered loaded and must be handled as such. You wouldn't point a loaded weapon at your best friend would you? Of course not. So why point an unloaded weapon at him? Chances are you will blow his brains out because the weapon you thought was unloaded was, in fact, loaded. Many people are killed by weapons that were assumed to be unloaded.

Of course, a lot of stupid acts had to lead up to unnecessary accidental deaths involving firearms. Rules, such as keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, ensuring the safety was engaged, not pointing the gun at anything you didn't want to destroy, etc were ignored. All of these rules aside, the most important rule to understand is that a gun is always loaded even if it isn't loaded.

It is a pet peeve of mine to hear someone say that guns ought to be stored "unloaded." It contradicts basic firearms understanding. Guns are always loaded. Any competent shooter will tell you that. It is the naive and ignorant that make suppositions about guns being stored "unloaded."

I will let you in on a little secret. In my house, all of my guns are loaded. Whether they are really loaded or not does not matter. I still treat them with the same measure of safety and respect as if they have live rounds in the chamber. This way, I don't do something negligent, like blow a hole in all of the walls in my house.

Conventional wisdom tells us that the safest way to store a gun is to keep it locked up and away from people you don't want to give access to. These people could be other relatives, children, neighbors, the neighbor's kids, etc.

Some argue that the ammunition should be stored separately from the weapons. However, should you have your guns locked away in a gun safe, wouldn't it make sense to lock the ammo in there too? Your situation may vary. If you have the room and the ability to lock ammunition away separately from the guns, then by all means. I personally don't like keeping ammo in the same place, but then again, if you are an apartment dweller or have limited space, you have to work with what you have.

Ah, and here comes the ignorant statement: Guns should be stored unloaded. Never mind this statement since it doesn't apply. All guns are always loaded and shall be treated as such.

So much for conventional wisdom.

Here's my wisdom regarding safe firearm storage:

1. Keep your gun locked up, away from those of whom you do not want to have access (friends, neighbors, kids, etc).

2. Lock up your ammunition. Note, I'm not saying whether or not to store the ammo separately because that depends on your situation.

3. Treat your gun as if it is loaded, even if it isn't. If you always treat your gun as if it is loaded, you will develop a good habit of being safe. I'm not here to teach you how to handle a loaded weapon. If you do not know how to handle a loaded weapon, seek out training immediately before you get yourself, or someone else, killed!

4. When handling a firearm, practice muzzle discipline, IE: don't point it at anything you don't intend to destroy. Practice trigger control, IE: don't touch the trigger until you are ready to shoot (if you aren't going to shoot, keep your damn finger off the trigger!). Be mindful of the mechanical safety, but remember that your brain is your number 1 safety - your finger is your second. Do not rely on weapon safeties at all! Be smarter than the gun.

Lockables

For those who have firearms, a good solid safe, or gun locker is an absolute must-have item. For pistols, a smaller lockable box is suitable. In my situation, I have a GunVault Multi-Safe (pictured above). It stores my dedicated bedside handgun and my concealed carry gun. It resides within arm's reach of the bed and is protected against unintended opening via a combination locking system that only I, and my wife know. My son, as inquisitive as he is, cannot figure out how to open it. It is a 100% other-person-proof safe that keeps my family safe, yet helps me maintain a state of readiness.

State of what?

State of Readiness

Consider this, many people in Washington State have concealed pistol licenses. I carry a gun everywhere with me, with exception to places I am restricted by law (post office, taverns, schools, etc). I don't carry an unloaded gun because guns are always loaded, and my carry gun is most definitely loaded. When I go to put it away, it doesn't make sense to unload it just to load it again the next day. Besides, statistics show that 100% of home invasions happen in the home. Okay, all farcical statements aside, the serious side is that if you are at home, and a home invasion does occur, you want to be ready for what goes "bump" in the night.

Keeping a weapon loaded in the house is not only a good insurance policy, it is the right thing to do. The last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around trying to load a weapon in the middle of the night when the burglar, or predator is on you.

Another thing, when you buy a brand new gun, it comes with a trigger lock. Throw the trigger lock in the garbage! If you don't understand why, consider this: try unlocking one of those things under stress, in the dark when you are barely awake, with a key you have to keep close by, and then figure out how to charge the weapon. Did you know that trigger locks require you to first pull the trigger in order to get them on? How are you going to do this with a revolver without blowing your brains out in the process? You won't. You must first unload the gun before you can put the trigger lock on. So, all statements about guns being loaded aside, when you go to take the trigger lock off a wheelgun, you must then load it... and you must do all of this UNDER DURESS!

Good luck!

As for me, I'm more of a practical man. I have a vault for my pistols. It requires no keys to access - just a keypad combination. It is a code I've practiced over and over again until it has become muscle memory. Accessing the vault twice a day helps maintain this muscle memory. Once I press the proper sequence, the door flings open (it is spring-loaded) and my guns are right there. With no trigger locks to mess with, no loose rounds to load, no magazines that need to be inserted, I simply pull the gun out and level it on the suspect. I can also easily slip out of bed and silently move around the house to either "clear" it, or locate the suspect.

Tower Ready

This is a term a good friend of mine taught me some years ago. It is called "Tower Ready". It is a term used by the Department of Corrections at one of the state prisons. It means that a weapon has a loaded magazine, but there is no cartridge in the chamber itself. Before firing, the weapon must first be charged - that is to say that the firearm needs to have it's action cycled and a round chambered before it will fire.

It is a safety protocol to protect people. Now, even though all guns are always loaded, it doesn't hurt to add a measure of safety. My automatic pistol is kept "tower ready" because it doesn't normally go with me on concealed carry. It only resides at the bedside in the vault. It takes but a fraction of a second to rack the slide and charge the weapon if I need it.

Consider this: you are fast asleep in your bed and you hear a sound. A light turns on, and your bed is disturbed by what you do not yet know. Without hesitation, you reach for your gun and level it onto the first thing that moves. That movement is your wife.

Believe it nor not, that scenario plays over and over in this country all the time. Keeping a gun "tower ready" will help you to ensure that you don't accidentally blow the head off your significant other. Before you are able to accidentally end her life, you must first charge the weapon. There is a good chance that you will be getting an earful from your angry woman before you have the chance to do that.

Training

Seriously, before you invest in a firearm, or if you have already purchased one, get some training. Learn how to react to different scenarios. Practice loading and unloading your gun (with dummy rounds of course). Learn to maintain your gun. Clean it as needed, and shoot it as often as you can.

I have been shooting ever since I can remember. My earliest memories are that of my father and I shooting targets, pop cans, and veggies at this old gravel pit near our house. My father taught me a lot of little gems that have remained with me all these years and these have helped keep me safe when handling firearms. To date, I have been shooting and handling firearms for almost 25 years. I have passed much of this knowledge to my wife and intend to pass it to my posterity because if they are safe, then I am safe.

-James

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My First LCP Range Experience

I was finally able to get some time off in the evening to take my latest acquisition to the range and fire a few rounds.

I initially bought some Magtech 95 gr FMJ practice ammo and a box of Cor-Bon 70 gr PowR'Ball. Total of 70 rounds.

I started with the Magtech ammo to get the gun warmed up and possibly break it in. Fired all 50 rounds with only one Failure to feed from the second magazine. Didn't have any such problem again with said ammo. My first couple groupings were a little a little larger than I was used to, but considering I was getting a handle on the gun, I didn't worry too much. After the third magazine, I was able to get them to about 1-2 inch groups at 7 yards, which is pretty decent considering the long-winded trigger and the small size of the grip area. So far I was happy with the results.

It got interesting when I started feeding it the Powr'Ball ammo. Suddenly, at least one round in every magazine would fail to fire. I inspected each round and noticed that there was the primer had been struck by the firing pin. I'd load it back up and it would fire on the second try. I couldn't put my finger on it. So, after firing all 20 of the PB ammo, I decided to go back out to the storefront and buy another box of the magtechs and see if the gun was experiencing light primer strike issues after being broken in a little.

I dumped 50 more rounds of the magtech FMJ ammo downrange without a single light primer strike. I compared primers from the two brands and they were identical. I even compared the primer strikes on the [failed to fire] rounds before I reshot them. Same depth as far as I could tell. I figured, though, that 120 rounds was enough for one evening because my wife would kill me if I bought another box for "test purposes".

I asked the employee working the storefront if he has had any complaints about the PowR’Ball ammunition. He said the stuff has been flying off the shelves and people keep coming back for more. I’m starting to wonder if I got a bad batch.

I then wondered if the gun just needed to be broken a little bit. By the time I shot my second box of Magtechs, I had a total of 70 rounds down range. Perhaps any mechanical issues may have worked themselves out?

I did experience a couple of hang-ups when the slide was inserting a fresh round, but this too shall work itself out with time and more ammo. My wife’s Beretta was the same way until we got a few hundred rounds through it. Now it shoots just fine. The LCP never jammed during ejection of a spent round. It didn’t have a problem ejecting the spent cartridges one bit. As I said, the only problems I experienced were [failed to fire] with the PowR’Balls.

As far as shooting the gun goes, I’m surprised so many people talk about the LCP’s recoil as if it were like shooting a howitzer. I found the gun extremely pleasant to shoot; even more so with the factory extended floorplate. That helped out a lot, especially during rapid-fire.

One gentleman asked me what I was shooting because he said it sounded like a cannon. I’m not sure if he was referring to the LCP or my SP101, but when he saw the 5 round groups I was putting on the paper, he was impressed that a pocket gun could shoot so accurately.

I warmed up to the LCP quickly. I was able to put round after round just about where my point of aim was. It shot just a touch low, but that is probably my fault more than anything. The little ridge on the slide, just behind the front ramp, made it seem like I was aiming really high. The low light of the range made looking through the sights just a little difficult, but I compensated by pulling the gun a little closer to my body and had no problem. Actually, bringing the gun closer helped my accuracy because it made those tiny sights easier to see and it really helped with recoil. Compared with my wife’s Beretta 21 (.22LR), it felt very similar. My wife’s gun has a quick “snap” of recoil, whereas the LCP was more of a “thud” type of recoil. The gun was extremely controllable during rapid-fire and I still put all rounds within a 5-6” group just point-shooting.

Overall, I’m happy with this little pocket rocket. I’m going to experiment with different types and brands of carry ammunition and see which one this gun likes the best. The winner will have the opportunity to stay in those easy-to-load factory Ruger magazines until the time they are called upon to save my life – which I hope never has to happen.

-James

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Decision To Carry

This article is a very well articulated bit of reasoning behind the decision to carry a concealed weapon, and illustrates my point of view accurately. If you are considering the decision to carry, please read this article. Even if you are not considering, please read it anyway because it might help you understand the mindset of those of us who choose to carry concealed weapons.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=34811


The Decision to Carry
by Bob Childers
12/15/2009

Though I've had a license to carry a concealed weapon for a number of years, I still remember my first training class as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Our two instructors were retired policemen and after explaining the class curriculum, they told us something about themselves. One man said that in his quarter century as a policeman, he had been fortunate in never having to use his weapon, though there were close calls. The other man explained that during his almost 30 years in law enforcement he had been forced to use his weapon twice, with one incident resulting in the death of the individual that was shot. He went on to say that despite having nearly 20 years experience in law enforcement at the time and being completely justified in his use of deadly force, it was still the most difficult thing he had ever done.

After he had finished telling us some of the details of that fatal shooting, our instructor made this statement to the class; "Kill another human being, for whatever reason or however justified, and your life as you know it is over forever." There was complete silence for over a minute when he finished, after which he said if anyone was having second thoughts about getting a carry permit, they were free to leave before the class continued. While nobody left, the class was extremely quiet for the remainder of the evening.

When you make the decision to carry a gun for personal defense, you must also come to terms with this fact: Your firearm may someday end the life of another person. Since receiving my concealed carry permit, I have become acutely aware that I carry something capable of forever changing not only someone else's life but my own, and there are times when it is a burden that is tougher to carry than the gun itself. Before you ever make that decision to carry a weapon for self-defense, you must first make the commitment to use that weapon -- with potentially deadly consequences -- if it ever becomes necessary. If you cannot make the conscious decision to shoot one human being in defense of another's life, if you aren't 100% sure you have the will to use it if the time comes, then you should not be carrying a weapon!

Most of us carry a weapon not because we realistically expect to ever use it, but to have it "just in case." With very few exceptions, the need to defend ourselves with deadly force is thrust upon us with almost no warning and with only moments to react. We are then required to make a life or death decision in less time than it took us to put on the socks we are wearing today. If I am ever forced to use my gun against another person it will be because (1), my life or the life of an innocent by-stander is in immediate danger and (2), another person has both the desire and the means to end my life, and I have no reasonable alternatives to prevent it other than the use of deadly force. This possibility, as remote as it may be, is the reason I own a firearm and have a concealed carry license. It's why I practice regularly at my local gun range and train myself how to react in a variety of scenarios. It's also why I read magazines like Concealed Carry Magazine and watch the many videos and television shows now available dealing with self-defense.

For what it's worth, I spent over twenty years in the military defending our country. When combined with the required classes I attended (both in the classroom and at the range) prior to receiving my license, and the training I do on a continuing basis, I believe I have both the knowledge and determination to use deadly force should it ever become necessary. However, regardless of your age and experience, a license to carry a firearm is a serious responsibility and a responsibility never to be taken lightly. The truth is that when I first started to carry a gun, I not only felt the huge responsibility that went with it but was almost overwhelmed by it. I actually had my concealed carry license for almost two years before I felt comfortable enough in both my abilities and judgment to carry a gun in public regularly. Maybe the knowledge that I possessed the power to end someone's life with a simple pull of my finger made me aware of my own mortality and how easily - and often needlessly - life can be lost.

In post 9/11 America, terrorism comes in many guises and has many faces. It can come in the form of a fanatic attempting to kill thousands by exploding a bomb in a crowded skyscraper. It may take the shape of a crazed killer walking through a shopping mall or college campus randomly shooting anyone he encounters. It could also assume the face of the burglar who breaks into your home in the pre-dawn hours and holds a knife to the throat of your son or daughter. Sadly, there are some very bad people in the world who won't hesitate to take both your property and your life if it serves their purpose. There are also people who take pleasure in seeing others suffer as well as imposing their will on those around them... often violently.

With any luck at all, my wife and I will spend the rest of our lives shooting at nothing more dangerous than the bull's-eye on a paper target. On the other hand, despite our best efforts there may come a time when we are forced to defend ourselves or a loved one with lethal force. It's for those times that both my wife and I carry a gun. Like the Boy Scouts, we believe in being prepared. If the unthinkable does happen and we are someday placed in the position of using deadly force, I'm confident we have the training, equipment and where-with-all to do it.

These days, you just never know when you may be required to protect yourself or someone close to you. Long ago I decided I'd rather carry a weapon I'll (hopefully) never use than someday need the weapon I decided not to carry. However, my advice to anyone who is considering the use of a firearm -- or any potentially deadly weapon -- is to be absolutely certain you've made the mental commitment to use that weapon if and when the time comes. If you're not willing to use it, then you shouldn't be carrying it.
____________________________

Mr. Childers has a Degree in Theology and retired from the United States Navy in 1994. He's a member of the NRA, Texas State Rifle Association, the East Texas Rifle and Pistol Club and holds a Texas CCL. You can find out more about him at his website: http://vchilder.home.netcom.com

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The popular disdain for the Constitution

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/price/091213

December 13, 2009

The popular disdain for the Constitution

By Kevin Price

At one of her recent press conferences, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's was asked by a CNS News reporter, "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" the Speaker was clearly agitated by the question and responded, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" The reporter said, "Yes, yes, I am." Without commenting further, Pelosi shook her head in disgust and took a question from another reporter. Later on, the Speaker's press spokesman Nadeam Elshami told CNSNews.com about its question regarding the constitutionality of socialized medicine that "You can put this on the record. That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question."

Like every member of Congress, Pelosi takes this sacred oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God." She swears to defend the Constitution, but does not take this question seriously? The arrogance or ignorance is amazing. The question is legitimate, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the enumerated powers of Congress and there is no provision for health care. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment makes it explicitly clear that the powers not listed in the Constitution are to be left to the states and the citizens.

For decades government has gone well beyond it Constitutional responsibility and has become more cavalier about the role of government. Essentially our government is on auto-pilot and simply picks up new duties as it deems fit.

I have said often on my radio show that to be for the Constitution is simply not "cool" and you will not be taken serious in Washington. I have had friends — both Democrat and Republican — smugly smile at me and say that arguments about the Constitution are laughable. Discussions about a "strict constructionist" view can only be academic.

I must ask the question, by what standard than are we going to judge government? If not the Constitution, what will be our measure of whether government is serving us properly? It cannot be popular opinion, because the masses can be convinced to believe anything. That is why the Founding Fathers put such safe guards against pure democracy.

This is why I have grown frustrated by the "liberal" versus "conservative" debate. All these two views argue is the pace towards socialism. Liberals ask why we are not fully under government control while conservatives want to argue to slow down the pace. What is there to "conserve" any more? Massive deficits and debts? Taxation out of control? A regulatory system that is hostile to freedom? If we are serious about the Constitution we should drop the conservative label and state we wish to restore the Constitution.

Until we have a serious debate about the Constitution we can only expect our freedoms to further disappear while are political leaders show extreme joy on the left or slight discomfort on the right. The leaders in Washington believe there is nothing government cannot do and they intend to only prove that in the years to come.

Economist Walter Williams recently noted that "in each new session of Congress since 1995, John Shadegg, (R-Ariz.,) has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act, a measure 'To require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws, and for other purposes.' The highest number of co-sponsors it has ever had in the House of Representatives is 54 and it has never had co-sponsors in the Senate until this year, when 22 senators signed up. The fact that less than 15 percent of the Congress supports such a measure demonstrates the kind of contempt our elected representatives have for the rules of the game — our Constitution."

How has your member of Congress stood on this important first step in restoring Constitutional government? Instead of arguing with politicians on specific policies, let us make them defend their view of the document they swore to defend.

© Kevin Price

My Latest Acquisition

I decided to put my money where my mouth is and do this thing. So, I headed to Surplus Ammo & Arms, located in Lakewood, and ponied up for the last Ruger LCP that they had.

So, here it is, and just to prove that it's mine, I've included a picture of it with my Ruger SP101. Yep, no denying it now.
















-James

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ruger LCP

This is the backup gun I am going to buy. It is the Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol). It weighs next to nothing, is less than an inch wide, and fits in the palm of my hand. As small and light as it is, it still shoots a .380 Auto round.

Alright, some better specs are in order. It is 5.16 inches long, 3.60 inches high, and .82 inches wide. Unloaded weight (with magazine inserted) is 9.4 ounces. It is made from a combination of blued alloy steel for the slide, and glass-filled nylon (plastic) for the frame. The barrel is 6-grooved, 2.75 inches long with a 1:16" RH twist. I've made the point that the gun is small and lightweight. I don't know how much more I can beat that dead horse. Needless to say it is perfect for deep concealment.

So, what about the .380 Auto? .380 is a small, 38 caliber cartridge that is often mistaken for smaller mousegun cartridges, such as the .32 or even the .25 cartridge. .380 gets a reputation of being an underpowered cartridge that will likely make an attacker angry rather than drop him. However, good ammunition makes up for any shortfalls that .380 Auto may have had in the past. Federal Hydra Shok rounds are available that have nearly the same muzzle energy as the venerable .38 Special. Yes, the .380 drops off faster, but at 7 yards or less, they are equally matched. Comparing hydra shok for hydra shok, the .380 Auto has 200 ft lbs of energy at 1000 fps, whereas the .38 Special has 235 ft lbs of energy at 980 fps. At 25 yards, however, the muzzle energy drops off by 18 ft lbs to 182 vs the .38 Special's 217 ft lbs.

Okay, so if the .38 is so much better at 25 yards, why not use it instead? Well, you have to first understand what the Ruger LCP is intended for. It is going to be a backup gun. In simple terms, if I run out of ammo in my main carry weapon, or it malfunctions (which does happen sometimes to some people), then the LCP comes into play. It is extra insurance. Additionally, the LCP has a distinct advantage over the .38 Special. Most guns that shoot .38's are revolvers. They are, by their nature, bulkier and more difficult to reload under stress. In particular, my revolver (which is a .357 magnum) is limited to 5 rounds in the cylinder. In the real world, 5 rounds isn't a whole lot. The Ruger LCP has a 6+1 capacity, for a total of 7 rounds comparable to the .38 Special. Additionally, another 6 rounds can quickly be inserted via an extra magazine.

Are there more powerful guns out there? Sure. Are they as compact? Not likely. I have two other carry guns that I use: A Ruger SP101, .357 magnum which fires a round that hits with 539 ft lbs of energy at over 1200 fps. I also have a Beretta 92 FS, a 9mm gun that hits with 345 ft lbs of energy at over 1100 fps. The Ruger is compact and hides well. The Beretta is much bulkier. Both guns are powerful enough to do the job extremely well. Both guns are a much better option for concealed carry than a Ruger LCP. But you can't compare apples to oranges.

You have to look at a backup gun for what it is: backup. It's not a primary defense weapon. Well, in some cases it can be, but for primary defense you'd better have some hot loaded catridges! In my case, pulling a smaller handgun out is faster than reloading a revolver using speed strips or loose rounds. Speedloaders are fast, but they are wider than the Ruger LCP! For the same weight, I can have 6 additional .380 rounds waiting... that is after I've dumped 5 rounds from my magnum and 7 rounds from the LCP. For the average attack, that's a lot of lead going down range. Remember, my philosophy is simple: When in doubt, empty the magazine. That means shooting them until they are on the ground twitching. If there are multiple attackers, you have a whole new problem. Pulling a second gun out is much faster and easier than reloading one. An attacker can cover 7 yards (21 feet) in less than 3 seconds. Can you reload a revolver (or automatic) that fast?

-James

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another reason I carry a gun... and extra ammo!

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/78599827.html

SEATTLE - A couple was attacked by about 10 men outside a hot dog stand as they walked home early Saturday in the Belltown area.Officers were called to the scene, in the 2200 block of 1st Avenue, at about 2:40 a.m. Saturday.The victims, a man and woman, told police they had just returned to their apartment building when they passed a group at the nearby hot dog stand.One member of the group grabbed the woman's buttocks. When she turned to object and her boyfriend stepped in, a group of about 10 men punched and kicked the boyfriend.The group assaulted the woman when she tried to intervene. Bystanders broke up the fight and the suspects fled. Medics responded and examined the victims, but they declined treatment. A search for the suspects turned up nothing. The victims did not provide a description of the suspects.

40 years sought for aunt accused of hiding gun

I hope the justice system is FIRM with these assholes.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/293/story/981358.html?storylink=omni_popular

Letrecia Nelson might spend the rest of her life in prison for allegedly providing aid to her nephew after he shot four Lakewood police officers to death Sunday at a Parkland coffee shop.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced in court Friday that he will seek a 40-year sentence for the 52-year-old Nelson, who is charged with six counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance and one count of possessing a stolen firearm.

Lindquist contends Nelson helped Maurice Clemmons on Sunday – giving him medical aid and money and lying to police and concealing evidence – despite knowing he had shot Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Tina Griswold, 40, Greg Richards, 42, and Ronald Owens, 37, at the Forza Coffee Co. shop on Steele Street South.

The prosecutor also accuses her of temporarily concealing a handgun Clemmons took from one of the dead officers by putting it into a plastic grocery bag at her home in Pacific.
The gun was found on Clemmons after a Seattle police officer shot him dead before dawn Tuesday.

Not guilty pleas were entered on Nelson’s behalf in Superior Court on Friday.
Judge Thomas Larkin increased Nelson’s bail from the $500,000 set during her first court appearance earlier this week to $1.5 million at Lindquist’s request.

The prosecutor called Nelson a danger to the community and a flight risk, especially because he intends to seek an exceptional sentence for her and another woman – Quiana M. Williams – accused of helping Clemmons.

Williams, 26, was charged Friday with five counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Prosecutors contend she gave Clemmons a ride to Seattle on Sunday, helped him clean his wounds and allowed him to do laundry at her home.

Not guilty pleas were entered on her behalf as well, and Larkin increased her bail from $500,000 to $1 million, again at Lindquist’s request. The prosecutor told the judge the high bail was warranted because he plans to seek a sentence of 25 years for Williams.

Public Defender Mike McNerthney, who represented both women for the purposes of Friday’s arraignments, called Lindquist’s bail requests “extraordinarily high” given the charges, but he did not argue against them. Instead, he reserved the right for a future attorney to request a lower bail.

Nelson originally told investigators she hadn’t seen or heard from her nephew since Thanksgiving, when he ate dinner at her home. She changed her account during a subsequent interview, according to court records.

Clemmons, 37, showed up at her home about 9 a.m. Sunday – about 45 minutes after the slayings at Forza – telling her and another woman he’d shot police and been shot himself, Nelson told detectives.

She helped him clean his wounds, ordered the other woman to give him her car keys and cash and later cleaned up blood spots he’d left on the floor of her home, the court records state.
Nelson allegedly told her housemate they weren’t going to call police because “family’s more important.”

Williams is accused of picking up Clemmons later that day and taking him to Seattle, cleaning his wounds with hydrogen peroxide then driving him to another part of Seattle and dropping him off.

Three other people – Eddie Davis, 20, Douglas Davis, 22, and Rickey Hinton, 47 – also have been charged with assisting Clemmons.

Darcus Allen, 37, is being held in jail on a no-bail warrant out of Arkansas. He’s not been charged in connection with Sunday’s shooting, but authorities believe he drove Clemmons to and from the scene of the shooting.

Right after Friday’s arraignments, two Pierce County sheriff’s detectives escorted Clemmons’ sister away from the courtroom. They told her they needed to ask her more questions in connection with the case. She later was arrested and booked for investigation of rendering first-degree criminal assistance.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/crime

Enter the Back-Up Gun

I was having an enlightened conversation with my wife about concealed carry guns and extra ammo last night. Truly, I did. Lindsay speaks common sense when it comes to practical concealment options. You'd think she's been doing this longer than me sometimes.
At the moment, I have three practical carry weapons at my disposal: my Ruger SP-101 revolver, my Beretta 92 FS, and in some cases, Lindsay's diminutive Beretta 21 Bobcat. All of these guns have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to concealed carry and shootability.

The SP-101 hides under a t-shirt and can be easily deployed to deliver a lethal does of 5 .357 magnum shots quickly and reliably. The only drawback is the reload. Speed loaders make me fast, but speed loaders are bulky. The other option is the slower, yet still effective speed strips. Speed strips may be slower than speed loaders, but it is much better than loading loose rounds into a cylinder, especially in high stress scenarios. With that said, those first 5 rounds need to count.

The Beretta 92 FS is big. It's probably one of the biggest handguns ever made. The size makes it less convenient to stuff in a pocket, or wear with only a t-shirt, however if a vest or jacket is utilized, it still disappears under a few layer of clothing. The biggest advantage is magazine capacity. I have high quality aftermarket Mec-Gar magazines that give me 17 rounds of 9mm in each magazine. The 9mm I carry is more powerful than standard 9mm. I carry +P+ rounds that are heavy and moving fast; which are two important considerations when it comes to knock down power. Another distinct advantage my Beretta 92 FS has is that I can carry a lot of ammo in a small space. Two extra magazines hide very easily and give me increased capacity up to 52 rounds for normal carry. That's a ton of ammo (way more than 5 rounds).

Lindsay's Beretta 21 is a pocket gun. It is less than 5 inches long (it is shorter than my Beretta 92 barrel). It hides in the front pocket of my jeans and after a few minutes I completely forget it is there. It has two major drawbacks though: 1, it only has a 7+1 capacity and 2, it's a .22 LR pistol; not exactly powerful. One advantage, however, is that I can very easily carry another magazine for an additional 7 rounds if I need it. It is also very accurate at self-defense distances.
Have you ever heard of the "New York reload?" Basically, instead of loading your gun after running it dry, you drop it and pull out a Back-Up Gun (BUG) and use that instead. Typically, it is a much smaller gun than your normal carry weapon - a pocket gun. The main drawback to any pocket gun is the caliber of the ammo it shoots. .22 LR is hardly a round I would want to use to fend off a crazed individual high on methamphetamines.

I've heard of the one shot stop used in magnum revolvers for years. That is one of the reasons I carry a 5 shot .357 magnum revolver in the first place. However, I'm a bit more realistic. When you get into ammunition ballistics, and start pouring over data on charts until your eyes bleed, read actual accounts and then do some test firing through things like wet phone books, pumpkins, other veggies, and 1 gallon jugs, you start to see what is really powerful and what isn't. I'm a proponent of shooting until the attacker does one of two things: 1, falls down dead, or 2, runs away. Either way, the attack is stopped, however I prefer the "falls down dead" result because they can't come back to sue me. However, in the heat of the moment, when you have to react within fractions of a second (while the attacker has had time to zero you and think out his plan), your options are quite limited.

Alas, we come right back around to my revolver's biggest weakness, and that is ammo capacity and the ability to quickly reload and keep firing (or at least reload to be ready for anything else). Of course, there are the people who say that if you can't stop an attack with 5 shots, then you aren't worth your salt. To them, I simply shake my head. They obviously haven't had to shoot while under stress. When the adrenaline is pumping, your hands are shaking, your vision is tunneled, and you have to use your training to protect your life or the lives of your loved ones, all things come into play. Let's not forget that many attackers are moving targets.

I also feel that, even though magnum rounds are powerful, they aren't medium bore rifles or shotguns. If I had as much time to plan my defense as the criminal has in planning my demise, I'd bring a shotgun. I mean, really. A shotgun is probably the absolute best defense against an attacker 100% of the time. The problem is that I can't just go walking down the street or driving in my car with a loaded shotgun. The drawback to any handgun practical enough for concealed carry is knock down power. That's why I train to just keep on shooting until they fall over. When in doubt, empty the magazine. At this point, what do you have to lose?

I always carry extra ammo. That's just good practice. Only a fool would carry enough ammo to drop a bad guy and then leave himself completely empty. However, when milliseconds count, you can't always count on being able to find cover and reload.

Enter the back-up gun; BUG for short. Ammo run dry? Don't have time to reload? Unholster the BUG and either keep their heads down or just keep a strong presence. Since most BUGs are usually pocket pistols anyway, it only makes sense to carry them. Okay, they aren't that powerful, but that's why it is a back-up gun.

Sometimes, carrying a big gun just isn't practical. So what do you do? Leave it in the car? Leave it home? That big powerful weapon doesn't do you any good unless you have it with you! A .22 in the pocket beats a .357 in the truck any day. Say, for instance, you are a church goer. Okay, carrying guns in the house of the lord is another can of worms completely (which I'll cover at a later time). You don't necessarily want your cannon because it doesn't conceal as well. In my case, my shirt is tucked in at church. Can't carry a gun on my hip because everyone would see it. The BUG hides in a pocket instead. No, it's not as powerful, but it does give that extra edge over the gun you just left in your car.

Another consideration is the summertime. Around here, I can get away with wearing my light vest over my t-shirt, no problem. But if the shorts come out, the vest goes away, and the sandles are chosen in favor of boots, my concealed carry options just went away with all the layers of clothes. A small pocket gun in the shorts beats the gun you had to leave home due to wardrobe issues.

To this end, I think it is prudent for me to find a pocket gun that will fit the bill exactly as needed. I don't want something that is chambered for .22 LR because that's just a little too weak for my tastes. Something in .380 or higher is more like it.

-James

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Bulls Eye Experience Today

I am getting impatient. I've waited nearly six months for my custom Rock River Arms AR-15 upper receiver to get here. It's maddening because when I ordered it, Rock River Arms had a (minimum) 6 month back-order on any AR-15 upper receiver half, barrels, or A-4 style systems. Now, I walk into the stores and I see tons of them, but none of them exactly how I want them to be: 16" chrome-lined 1:9 twist barrels, A-2 front sight, CAR-15 grips, A-2 flash-hider, A-4 flat-top receiver with a beefed up bolt carrier group, and a standalone Rock River Arms rear sight (no handle). Most have chromoly barrels with A-3/A-2 receivers, or perhaps some varminter combination with stainless steel 24" barrel, or just a CAR-length upper half with a gas block with a rail instead of a solid front sight. Bah! That's exactly why I ordered mine the way I ordered it. I want something that is basic. I want a simple gun. I want a stupid gun. I want a gun that is so dumb that it shouldn't be allowed to cross the street without a helmet. So, I ordered it 6 months ago, and am still waiting for it.

I drove over to Bulls Eye Shooter Supply, located in Tacoma, today. I've been kind of babysitting on this issue because I don't want my order to get lost. Considering this half of the gun is going to cost me $600, I'm more than a little concerned about it getting lost, sold to someone else, or screwed up. I know some of you folks sleep in beds stuffed with hundred dollar bills, but $600 is big money to me, especially when it pays for only 1/2 of the gun! But I digress...

I walked into the store and the woman that has been handling my order from day one recognized me. I told her I wanted to pay another installment on the upper half. She pulled up my account and asked me how much I wanted to pay. I pulled 3 crisp Benjamins out of my wallet and laid them on the counter. She smiled and gladly took the money. I waited and she handed me my receipt. Woohoo! Only $285 until it's free and clear. I told her I'd come in and pay the rest when the upper came in. She then reassured me by saying they'd call me as soon as it comes in (which is like any day now).

While I was there, I saw a man behind the counter in front of some holsters. I casually walked over and asked him what he had for a Ruger SP-101. He pulled down two comparable holsters. One was a Kramer horsehide outside the waistband holster (OWB) and the other was a Desantis cowhide OWB. Both are nice. The Kramer felt much stronger, thicker, and higher quality though. However, the price tag reflected this: $115 for it vs. only $75 for the Desantis. After some conversation, I decided that the one I'm going to get is the Kramer. The guy knew his holsters and the deal maker was the fact that he wasn't just pushing the product. Actually, there were two points: 1, Kramer holsters are made in Lacey, WA (about as local as you can get in Tacoma) and 2, he was wearing a Kramer OWB and it cradled his custom 1911 nicely. Would you have guessed this? He also has one for a Beretta 92 FS. Hmm, I have a Beretta...

We got to talking about Rugers, the LCR and the SP-101 specifically. It was good to talk to someone who understands good ole Rugers and agrees that the SP-101 is easy to shoot, even with full magnum loads. It's hard to find someone who actually finds these guns easy to handle, even in rapid fire. He even gave me a Ruger patch and Ruger's 2010 catalog.
Then I started to think that these guys were being way too nice to me. Then again, if someone came into my store and dropped $300 on my counter, I'd be nice too. By the way I figure it, Bulls Eye will be getting another $400 from me in the next 6 weeks easily. Not a bad sales tactic. But then again, I thought that since I come in a couple times a month, they must all recognize me by now. I surely know all of them. Who knows? Of course they want my money. But a lot of these guys love a good conversation too.

Anyhow, a reassurance that they'll call me on my AR upper half when it comes in, a free Ruger patch, a catalog and some good conversation - not to mention my new future holster - makes for a good day in the gun shop.
-James

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Plot Thickens - More Arrested in Lakewood Officer Shooting

All of these men, and anyone else who aided Clemmons in eluding the police need to be tried as though they committed the act of murder themselves.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/78267897.html

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Three people accused of helping the suspected gunman in the killing of four Lakewood police officers in a Parkland coffee shop evade police have been arrested. Three people were booked into the Pierce County Jail on Monday and early Tuesday for investigation of rendering criminal assistance on four counts of first-degree murder. They are Ricky Hinton, Eddie Lee Davis and Douglas Edward Davis.

In court Tuesday, Eddie Davis and Douglas Davis both pleaded not guilty. Judge Bryan Chushcoff set bail for Eddie Davis at $700,000 and bail for Douglas Davis at $500,000.Clemmons' half brother, Rickey Hinton, has not been charged yet, but has been booked into jail for investigation of rendering criminal assistance. Chushcoff set his bail at $2 million.


A getaway driver also was arrested, said Det. Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. The driver is a man who served time in an Arkansas prison with Clemmons, investigators said. Troyer said Darcus D. Allen is being held in Pierce County for investigation of rendering criminal assistance, and will be charged on Wednesday in connection with Sunday's police shooting.


Allen was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a 1990 double murder at a Little Rock liquor store. He was paroled in 2004.


Arkansas prison spokeswoman Dina Tyler said Allen and Clemmons never shared a cell, but lived in the same barracks - along with 50-100 other inmates - at various times during their imprisonment.


Troyer said while there are four people under arrest now, more arrests could happen as investigators piece together how other people might have helped Clemmons after the shooting.


"We are not going to rest until everyone involved in this murder is brought to justice," Troyer said.


According to court documents, Clemmons had shown two handguns to the three arrested men at his Auburn-area home the night before the shootings and told them he was going to shoot police. He asked for the keys to Hinton's truck. On Sunday morning, detectives said Clemmons returned to the home and told Hinton he had been shot and that he had shot police officers. Hinton gave Clemmons the keys to a white Pontiac and told the Davis' to get Clemmons out of there. Hilton then tossed his cell phone to his 12-year-old son or grandson and told him to start deleting all of Clemmons' phone numbers out of the address book, according to court documents. The Davis' later told detectives that as they drove Clemmons away, he told them he had "taken care of business," the document said.


They went to a friend's home in the Algona/Pacific area where a female relative of Clemmons helped clean treat the gunshot wound to his torso, detectives said. Clemmons changed clothes and put his own clothes into a bag.Clemmons got into a car with the woman while the Davis' got into the Pontiac and they all four headed to the Auburn Super Mall, where they met up with a female friend of Clemmons, documents said.


As Clemmons drove off with that friend, he called friends who lived in the 3800 block of East Superior Street in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood and told him he needed a place to stay and he was bringing a gun, and the residents agreed.


However, police say when those friends called Clemmons' relatives in Algona, they learned Clemmons had been shot and said he had shot some police officers in Tacoma. The residents left the home before Clemmons arrived and drove to the police station to tell police what they learned.


Meanwhile, Clemmons was dropped off at the home. The first Seattle officers arrived and noticed an African-American man on foot near a home and the woman driving away. Police stopped the woman as she was driving away and found a piece of clothing that had a bullet wound in front plus evidence of gauze and bandages, documents said. An 11-hour standoff ensued at the home on Superior Street, but Clemmons had somehow managed to get away.


Officers spent Monday chasing after several leads, but it wasn't until a lone Seattle officer happened upon the stolen car Tuesday that Clemmons was heard from again.


Maurice Clemmons was carrying a handgun he took from one of the dead officers when a Seattle policeman recognized him near a stolen car on Kenyon Street at about 2:45 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said.


The vehicle was running but unoccupied when the officer pulled up, radioed in the license plate number and realized the car was stolen, Pugel said.As the officer was doing his paperwork, he caught something moving behind him. He turned around and saw a man walking on the street behind his car, approaching the driver's side, police said. The officer got out of his car, immediately recognized the man as Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands and stop.


Clemmons refused, and while the officer was drawing his gun, the man reached into his waist and moved, police said.


"He wouldn't stop," Pugel said. "The officer fired several rounds."


Clemmons was struck at least twice, police said. After Clemmons was pronounced dead, officers found a gun in Clemmons' front pocket.

Lone Patrolman Shoots and Kills Clemmons

The police officer who shot Clemmons deserves a medal!

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/78211742.html

SEATTLE (AP) - The man suspected of gunning down four police officers in a suburban coffee shop was shot and killed by a lone patrolman investigating a stolen car early Tuesday. Four people were arrested for allegedly helping the suspect elude authorities during a massive two-day manhunt.

Maurice Clemmons was carrying a handgun he took from one of the dead officers when a Seattle policeman recognized him near a stolen car in a working-class south Seattle neighborhood about 2:45 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said.The officer saw Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands and stop."He wouldn't stop," Pugel said. "The officer fired several rounds."

Clemmons also had sustained a serious gunshot wound from one of the four officers killed in the coffee-shop shooting.Police planned to arrest more people who helped Clemmons.
"We expect to have maybe six or seven people in custody by the day's end," said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff. "Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime, some are relatives. Now they're all partners in crime."

Troyer didn't immediately identify the four people already arrested. On Monday, officers detained a sister of Clemmons who they think treated the suspect's gunshot wound."We believe she drove him up to Seattle and bandaged him up," Troyer said.

Authorities say Clemmons, 37, singled out the Lakewood officers and spared employees and other customers at the coffee shop Sunday morning in Parkland, a Tacoma suburb about 35 miles south of Seattle. He then fled, but not before one of the dying officers apparently shot him in the torso.

"I'm surprised that he managed to get away," Troyer said. "The officer did a good job in Lakewood.

"Killed were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42.A couple dozen police officers milled around at the scene where Clemmons apparently was shot, shaking hands and patting each other on the back later Tuesday morning. The officer who shot Clemmons was not injured, Pugel said.

Police said they aren't sure what prompted Clemmons to shoot the four officers, who were in uniform and working on paperwork at the coffee shop just two blocks outside their jurisdiction.

"The only motive that we have is he decided he was going to go kill police officers," Troyer said. He said Clemmons talked the night before the shooting about killing a group of cops and watching the news.

Police believe Clemmons chose the coffee shop because it was frequented by police officers from various agencies.

"We do not believe that the Lakewood officers were actually targeted other than that they were police officers in that location at the time where he knew he could find police officers."

Clemmons was described as increasingly erratic in the past few months and had been arrested earlier this year on charges that he punched a sheriff's deputy in the face.

Police surrounded a house in a Seattle neighborhood late Sunday following a tip Clemmons had been dropped off there. After an all-night siege, a SWAT team entered the home and found it empty. But police said Clemmons had been there.

Police frantically chased leads on Monday, searching multiple spots in the Seattle and Tacoma area and at one point cordoning off a park where people thought they saw Clemmons.

Authorities found a handgun carried by the killer, along with a pickup truck belonging to the suspect with blood stains inside. They posted a $125,000 reward for information leading to Clemmons' arrest and alerted hospitals to be on the lookout for a man seeking treatment for gunshot wounds.

Authorities in two states were criticized amid revelations that Clemmons was allowed to walk the streets despite a teenage crime spree in Arkansas that landed him an 108-year prison sentence. He was released early after then-Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted his sentence.Huckabee cited Clemmons' youth in granting the request. But Clemmons quickly reverted to his criminal past, violated his parole and was returned to prison. He was released again in 2004.

"This guy should have never been on the street," said Brian D. Wurts, president of the police union in Lakewood. "Our elected officials need to find out why these people are out."

Huckabee said on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday night that Clemmons was allowed back on the street because prosecutors failed to file paperwork in time.

Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley, whose office opposed Clemmons' parole in 2000 and 2004, said Huckabee's comments were "red herrings."

"My word to Mr. Huckabee is man up and own what you did," Jegley said.

Clemmons was charged in Washington state earlier this year with assaulting a police officer and raping a child, and investigators in the sex case said he was motivated by visions that he was Jesus Christ and that the world was on the verge of the apocalypse.

But he was released from jail after posting bail with the assistance of Jail Sucks Bail Bonds.

Documents related to those charges indicate a volatile personality. In one instance, he is accused of gathering his wife and young relatives and forcing them to undress.

"The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus," a Pierce County sheriff's report said.