Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shells Up or Shells Down?

I have been shooting shotguns a long time.  One of the things I see on various forums around the internet is the argument over which way to orientate the shells on your side saddle.  Do you orientate them with the shells facing up or shells facing down?  Some claim that shells facing up makes it easier and faster to load rounds into the gun with your strong side hand, while proponents of the shells facing down technique argue that the recoil of the gun will cause the shells to work themselves loose and fall off.

Having humped around shotguns in the woods a good portion of my life, I can tell you that shells down is my preference.  Gravity can be your friend sometimes, but in the case of shotgun shells being stored on your side saddle, it most certainly is not.  I have had more than a few shells fall loose while shooting as well as from running with the shotgun.  The argument of faster reload speeds from upward oriented shells is inconsequential if your shot shells have fallen off.

Another thing I'd like to reference is the fact that I don't normally reload all my shells from the side saddle at once.  I'm a huge fan of dumping a shell into the gun after the last round has been ejected.  It is then just as fast for me to reach back to my buttstock-mounted shell holder (rounds facing down as well) and reload the weapon from there, or use another ammunition source, such as a shell rack or a pouch on my hip.

No matter what method you employ to reload a shotgun, you're not going to win any races.  Shotguns, by design, are inherently slow to reload.  They are always in need of being topped off.  For me, I prefer to keep my emergency dump reload rounds on the side saddle because it's fast for me to dump load the gun in a situation where I have run dry and potentially save my life.  If we could, we would fire once, reload, fire once, reload, etc.  Sometimes we can, sometimes we can't.  It all depends greatly on what the situation is.

No matter what method you employ, your process and equipment need to be fully vetted to find what works and what doesn't.  Train using your methods and remain open minded to options that may not be yours, but work for others.  Remember, as long as it works, there is no wrong way to do a thing - just a way.

-James

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trijicon Night Sights - Beretta M9A1 Installation

There comes a point in your life when you realize that you just need to pony up and get some glow in the dark night sights installed on your self defense pistol.  For the last couple of years, this Beretta M9A1 has been my bedside gun, range gun, concealed carry gun, and backup to my AR-15.  As it has seen a lot of holster use and wear, it has seen more than it's fair share of treatment from the Birchwood Casey PRESTO gun blue pen to cover up scars and restore scratches from use.  This gun has seen quite a few rounds down the pipe, and most recently was used in my youtube video demonstrating the futility of banning high capacity magazines.  Used by new and experienced shooters alike, this gun has been ever faithful and has functioned without malfunction in every environment she has been subjected to, most notably the dusty conditions of the Utah desert.

As I have no intention of relegating this gun to safe queen status, I decided to send it out and finally get Trijicon Night Sights installed.  Since I do not have the tooling, or expertise to drill out my front sight and install a tritium lamp, I farmed this work out to someone else.  The company I used to do this work is Trijicon's authorized installer, Tooltech Gunsite.  The process of installation, for a Beretta, includes drilling out the front sight and installing the Night Sight lamps into it.  Then it is a simple matter of drifting out the rear combat sight and installing the Trijicon rear sight in it's place.

The process was pretty easy.  First, I completed the order form, which included pertinent information about the weapon, my address, payment option, and exactly what work I wanted done while it was away.  Since the entire weapon does not have to be shipped, I field stripped the gun, and packaged the slide only.  I placed the frame, barrel, magazine, recoil spring, and guide rod into a couple of plastic bags and stored them safely at my house.  I recommend getting insurance on this when you ship it because without a slide, a Beretta frame is pretty useless.

The slide had a two-week turn around.  I received it about 15 days later, and to my chagrin, UPS knocked on the door, and just left the gun on the front porch.  Tooltech did buy insurance for it for the return to my house.  I hate UPS though.

The wait, and cost were worth it.  My  wife actually sent me a couple pictures on my phone before I saw it in person, and it looks fantastic.  The bright white ring around the tritium lamp is highly visible - much more so than the standard dot that the weapon came standard with.  Target acquisition is faster and easier with this setup.  It appears that in order to get the night sight installed, Tooltech drilled all the way through the front sight, installed the lamp, and applied this black resin compound to keep it in.  I imagine this is pretty tough stuff.  If you're wondering if the resin is solvent resistant, you can rest assured that it is, but prolonged contact is not recommended due to the adhesive bonds to keep the sight together.  Fortunately, these areas don't require much cleaning, and the use of some Hoppes #9 oil and a quick wipe will due.  Trijicon actually recommends a bit of water to flush them out if needed.

The rear sights are a straightforward process of removing the rear combat sights and installing the new ones.  It was nice of Tooltech to send my old rear sights back with all the documentation, receipt, warranty information, and the care & maintenance card.  While I highly doubt I will be reusing my old sights on this gun, I could utilize them on my other Beretta 92 FS, if I so desired.  It's the same awesome story for the rear sights, as there are two highly visible sight rings, and the tritium gas lamps in the center.  My wife calls them robot eyes.  While I do not have a micrometer to verify at the moment, it appears that the rear sights rings are a bit smaller than the front ring.  Furthermore, when I punch the gun out to full extension, the three dots appear to be the same size.  Since the front sight is hanging out nearly 5 inches ahead of the rear sights, I'm forced to conclude that the front sight is likely larger than the rears, and this is a very good thing.  The sight body is all metal construction.  The tritium gas lamps are housed in an aluminum tube, and a sapphire window is used so you can see the glowing tritium in complete darkness.

If you think you are seeing a few too many glowing dots in this picture, you are correct.  I took this picture in total darkness on top of my deep freeze chest freezer.  The light reflected off the lid for the camera.  No matter though.  You can see the outline of the gun somewhat clearly.  I must point out that I used Photoshop to lighten this picture considerably.  Otherwise, you'd be staring at a few green dots against a field of total blackness.  One question my colleague at work asked me is "Do you have to expose them to light for them to work?"  The answer is no.  Tritium (3H) is a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen.  It contains one proton and two neutrons.  Naturally occurring tritium is very rare.  Tritium has a half life of about 12 years, and Trijicon warranties their Night Sights to last about that time.  After the twelve years is up, the tritium illumination begins to degrade and the night sights will eventually dim.  It's not difficult for Trijicon to replace the lamps in your existing sights for a nominal fee at that point.  Better than batteries, you never have to worry about your sights being on.  Let the tritium light your way in the darkness.

Now, I should clarify that because these sights illuminate in total darkness does not mean they are so bright that you lose your night vision.  In fact, the green color choice is so because of two things: the human eye sees green better than any color, and it remains brightest longest.  When a room goes from full light to total darkness, it takes my eyes about a second to see the tritium night sights.  If I use my weapon-mounted flashlight, I may lose the sights while it is use momentarily, but they come back quickly, especially if I use my light properly and only illuminate for a moment to identify targets.  My attached video, below, demonstrates this quite effectively.

Overall, I'm happy with this decisions.  Trijicon Night Sights will vary on cost, depending on what firearm you have, and what it will take to get the sights installed.  After all shipping costs, I think mine rand me in the neighborhood of $175, and was worth every penny.  My weapon went from being not so great in the dark to totally capable.


-James

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms: State Supremacy Vs Supremacy Clause

Posted from News Corner USA, this article is in response to a lot of push back from people who say that a state law cannot supersede a federal law.  There is a difference, and you need to be armed with the knowledge to push back when someone tells you that a state cannot make it illegal for the federal government to regulate arms within its borders.

Credit to News Corner USA: http://newscornerusa.com/articles/guest-2013-2501.html


THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS
STATE SUPREMACY v. THE SUPREMACY CLAUSE
Representative Brian Greene (R-UT)

Many reading this article are already aware that I have drafted a bill for the upcoming Legislative session entitled the “State Supremacy Firearms Act” (official numbering and public release pending). The bill is intended to serve as a declaration of state supremacy over the regulation of firearm activities occurring exclusively within the boundaries of Utah, and to put the Federal Government on notice that enforcement of any conflicting federal laws will not be allowed in Utah. Although the response to my bill has been overwhelmingly positive, there have been some critics. The most common argument I have encountered is based upon a misguided reliance on Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution—known as the “Supremacy Clause.” Blanket statements such as “federal law always trumps state law,” and “you’re wasting your time because the law is unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause,” are typical negative reactions to my bill.

Many who favor more gun control and who support a dominant federal government actually believe that if Congress passes a law, or if the President makes an executive order, it is automatically the supreme law of the land. They love to point to the part of the Supremacy Clause that mandates that states must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either the state constitution or state law. Whether out of ignorance or convenience, they fail to look at the Supremacy Clause in its proper context—that which establishes the U.S. Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and U.S. Treaties as "the supreme law of the land."

Hence, the Supremacy Clause only applies if an act of the Federal Government is in pursuit of its constitutionally authorized powers. In other words, Federal laws are valid and are supreme, only to the extent that those laws were adopted in pursuance of—that is, consistent with—the Constitution. To read the Supremacy Clause as big government proponents would have you—that ALL FEDERAL LAWS ARE SUPREME—would render the remainder of the Constitution meaningless. Why would there be a need for anything other than a Supremacy Clause? Why would the Constitution’s Framers have deliberated throughout the summer of 1787 over the other 4,500 words in the Constitution if their intent was to make the Federal Government supreme in all areas it unilaterally decided to act?

The reality is that we have a Constitution that delegates specific enumerated powers to the Federal Government—with the expectation that the Federal Government is not to act beyond those powers. In addition, we have 50 state constitutions that govern in the areas not delegated to the Federal Government. Together, the Constitution of the United States and the Constitutions of each of the fifty states contemplate that each state government will represent and remain accountable to its own citizens. Because the Federal Government is one of enumerated and limited powers, it must show that a constitutional grant of power authorizes each of its actions. But the opposite applies to the states—absent a Constitutional restriction on the states, state governments do not need constitutional authorization to act, specifically because it was the intent of the Framers that the powers which “in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people” were to remain the jurisdiction of governments more local and more accountable to the people. Therefore, the general power of governing the health, safety and welfare of the people, generally referred to as the “police power,” was reserved to the states and not delegated to the Federal Government. National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, U.S. Supreme Court (2012) (aka the Obamacare decision).

James Madison explained the nature of our dual sovereignty structure in Federalist No. 39: "the local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere." This separation of the two spheres is one of the Constitution's structural protections of liberty. “Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the Federal Government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front.” Printz v. United States U.S. Supreme Court (1997).

The right of the people of Utah to keep and bear arms is not only a matter of public health and safety, subject to the exclusive police power of the State; but, interference with this right by the Federal Government is expressly prohibited by the Second Amendment to the Constitution which reads as follows: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed..” Additionally, Article 1 Section 6 of the Utah State Constitution declares that “The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed . . ,“ and reserves to the State Legislature the exclusive authority of defining the lawful use of arms.

Any argument that the current gun control agenda coming out of our nation’s capitol is in pursuit of constitutionally authorized powers is simply unsupportable in the face of the of the 2nd Amendment’s prohibition against infringement, the 10th Amendment’s reservation to the states and their people of all powers not granted to the Federal Government elsewhere in the Constitution, and the protection of the right to keep and bear arms found in Utah’s Constitution. To conclude that the anticipated gun control measures being considered by the Federal Government will be entitled to supremacy status via the Supremacy Clause would require a blatant and intentional disregard of the abundant evidence to the contrary.

Those of us who have the privilege of serving our fellow citizens are duty bound to preserve, protect and defend the fundamental rights of those who elected us. The bill I have proposed is simply a reminder and a warning that Utah will neither violate nor ignore fundamental constitutional principles because of either a perceived or real crisis. In fact, it is in such times of crisis that “the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day." New York v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court (1992).

Brian Greene (R) represents House District 57 in Pleasant Grove, UT.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Proposed 2nd Amendment Preservation Act - Utah


During yesterday's rally on the capitol steps of Utah, we heard Brian Greene announce a bill that would protect gun owner's right to keep and bear arms within the borders of Utah.  The proposed 2nd Amendment Preservation Act would protect all guns and gun owners in the state of Utah from federal statutes.  I will have regular updates on this bill, as I feel it is the most important piece of legislature Utah is currently working on.  As things change, I will make them available here.  Also note that when this goes into committee to be voted on, we need every Utah gun owner to swarm the capitol steps and make our voices heard.  Bring your signs, show your support.  We cannot afford to yawn our way through this.  The fight has just begun, and I am just getting warmed up.

For your reference, I've provided the current text of the bill, as provided by UtahGuns.com with my thanks to them for leading this charge.


A BILL
For
AN ACT relating to firearms; providing that it is the exclusive authority of the Legislature of this State to adopt and enact any and all laws, orders, rules or regulations as may be deemed necessary regarding the manufacture, transfer, possession, ownership, and/or use of firearms within the State of Utah, and that any federal action which attempts to impose limitations on firearms contrary to the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, or the Constitution or laws of the State of Utah, shall be unenforceable in Utah; providing a penalty; and providing for an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Utah:
Section 1 - Prohibition on federal infringement of the right to keep and bear arms.
A. The Legislature of the State of Utah declares that it shall be the exclusive duty of this Legislature to:
1) adopt and enact any and all laws, orders, rules or regulations it deems necessary and proper regarding the manufacture, transfer, possession, ownership, and/or use of firearms within the State to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Utah; and
2) adopt and enact any and all measures it deems necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations that violate the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or the Constitution or laws of the State of Utah.
B. All laws, orders, rules and regulations pertaining to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition enacted or authorized by the Legislature of the State of Utah shall enjoy legal primacy within the State of Utah over any and all federal laws, orders, rules and regulations.
Section 2 - Offenses and penalties; defense of Utah public servants and citizens.
A. No public servant or dealer selling any firearm in this state shall enforce or attempt to enforce any law, order, rule or regulation of the United States government relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in Utah and that remains exclusively within the borders of Utah.
B. Any official, agent or employee of the United States government who enforces or attempts to enforce any law, order, rule or regulation of the United States government upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in Utah and that remains exclusively within the borders of Utah shall be guilty of a third degree felony, and subject to imprisonment not exceed five (5) year and/or a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.00).
C. The attorney general of Utah shall develop a program to provide for the defense of a public servant or citizen of Utah who is prosecuted by the United States government for violation of a federal law, order, rule or regulation relating to the manufacture, sale, transfer or possession of a
firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition when such activities are contained exclusively within the borders of Utah.
D. Any federal law, order, rule or regulation created or effective on or after January 1, 2013 shall be unenforceable within the borders of Utah if the law, order, rule or regulation attempts to:
1) ban or restrict the manufacture, ownership, possession, sale, or transfer of any specific type of firearm, firearm magazine, firearm accessory, or ammunition;
2) require enhanced criminal background checks or waiting periods in connection with the purchase or transfer of any firearm, firearm magazine, firearm accessory, or ammunition;
3) require the ownership, possession, sale or transfer of any firearm, firearm magazine, firearm accessory, or ammunition to be registered in any manner; or
4) require the disclosure or sharing of personal information connected with the ownership, possession, sale or transfer of any firearm, firearm magazine, firearm accessory, or ammunition with the Federal Government or other states without the written consent of the individual to who such personal information pertains.
Section 3 – Effective Date
This act is effective immediately upon completion of all acts necessary for a bill to become law as provided by the Utah Constitution.

Candace Salima on Gun Appreciation Day, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nutnfancy On Gun Appreciation Day, 2013 - Utah

Gun Appreciation Day - Salt Lake City


With current events as they are, gun control is the number one topic on leftist channels, such as CNN, MSNBC, KSL, and the like.  They are attempting to paint a picture of WE THE PEOPLE, also known as gun owners and patriots, as a radical fringe element that needs to be reigned in with draconian gun control laws that will serve no purpose other than to control the citizenry and force them into submission.  If you followed my AR-15 Justification blog entry, you know exactly where I stand on this issue.  Suffice it to say, I'm not going to get into that debate here.  I want to walk you through what it was like to rally around fellow patriots and concerned citizens alike on this chilly day in January.

The morning started with breakfast at a local greasy spoon with a couple of families we met up with through social media.  With only a few minutes of acquaintances under our belts, we all knew that we all just get it.  There really wasn't any need to justify anything to each other - we basically confirmed what each other thought and spent breakfast getting to know each other's families and watching all the kids run around doing what kids do.

After breakfast, my family, and another we had just met, boarded the train to head to the Capitol.  After a brief train ride, we took a brisk walk in 20 degree weather up to the Capitol Steps.  As we hiked up the hill, I wondered to myself why states always seem to put capitol buildings on hills.  I noticed car after car after car driving up the road, filled with passengers arriving to create a ground swell around the south steps of the Capitol.  After arriving, and working the stroller up the steps, we found ourselves with a pretty good vantage point of the podium that the organizers had set up.

We were surrounded on all sides by patriots open carrying their pistols and revolvers, concealed carrying said weapons, some with rifles slung over their shoulders, others with homemade signs, still others with Gadsden flags, American flags, MOLON LABE (Come and Take Them) flags, men, women, children, people from all walks of life and circumstances, all gathered in the frigid Utah air at one place to show their support for the 2nd Amendment and to exercise their right to influence political process by protest.  It was an amazing sight.  And my first thought was, "well, I feel pretty safe here."  Standing in a sea of gun owners, I wondered what the liberals would think of us now when no shot was fired, nobody was arrested, no one was defecating on the side walks, and as we waited for the speeches to commence, everyone stood in silent reverence and respect for the political process we came to uphold and support.

The mood was that of excited anticipation.  We knew there would be speakers, and we were curious to know what the Utah Legislature had in mind for this event.  As you may or may not know, several states have signed into law acts that will protect their borders from federal encroachment and enforcement of draconian gun laws.  Our first speaker was a Baptist minister, who gave an inspiring speech.  With many cheers and applauds, he went on to bow his head and offer a prayer to our Lord God.  To my pure delight, everyone in attendance, whether they be Christian, agnostic, atheist, or not religious at all, bowed their heads in reverence and respect, as Kevin Brooks prayed openly and unapologetically for the preservation of our liberty and safety of those who will stand to preserve it.

Feeling the spirit of patriotism and pride, I was more than happy when one of the announcers asked us to remove our hats and assist him in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  I am not ashamed to admit that I as said those words, tears welled up in my eyes.  My love of country runs deep, and the cause of liberty courses through my veins.  I know it sounds cheesy, but I like cheese.  I also like liberty.  As we all stood there, hands over our hearts, soldiers in salute, we all recited, as one, the Pledge of Allegiance, and it was recited resolutely, without shame for what is is or who we are.  We are Americans.  We pledge allegiance to the flag of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

We heard from Candace Salima, a talk show host, who gave a chilling retell of her father's ordeal in Nazi-occupied Europe.  The things that people had to endure in those days are the very reason we hold the 2nd Amendment so near and dear.  One of the parts that struck me was the fact that her father got ahold of this old, hard bread, and practically had to chip away with a a knife to break off pieces of it, and he said it was the most delicious thing he had eaten in years.  The people of Amsterdam were unarmed, and Amsterdam fell in 8 hours under the Blitzkrieg attacks of the German army.

Then we heard from my favorite youtube personality, Nutnfancy.  Yes, he was announced as Nutnfancy.  Love it!  In a short (for him) speech, he delivered a powerful message of liberty, freedom, preservation of essential liberties, and a warning for gun control advocates.  Don't piss off the rattlesnake.  Leave it alone.  I found the symbolism appropriate given the fact that there were no less than 30 Gadsden flags being flown when he said it.  (I recorded his speech with my iPhone.  I will post the video in further blog entries.)

Afterwards, we heard from W. Clark Aposhian from the Utah Sports Shooting Council (USSC).  This man is considered one of the big three when it comes to gun rights in Utah, and he reiterated the importance of keeping the 2nd Amendment for the citizens of Utah.  He made valid arguments for concealed carry in all schools in Utah, and stated, factually, that we have never had a school shooting, nor did students take a teacher's gun from them, nor did we ever have accidental discharges, or any other gun crime committed on school property in the State of Utah.

The last major speaker of the day was Representative Brian Greene, from District 57.  He used the podium to give us two important pieces of news.  The first was to announce a letter written by the Utah Sheriff's Association to President Obama.  This letter, while respectful and sensitive to the current issues at hand, sent a clear warning to the President that no federal official will be allowed to descend upon Utah citizens and take from them what the Bill of Rights, particularly the 2nd Amendment, has given them, and are prepared to trade their lives to preserve the original interpretation of the 2nd Amendment in the State of Utah.  In essence, no foreign invader will subject Utah citizens to draconian federal measures to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms, lest they want to get shot in the face.

The second piece of news was Greene's announcement of the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act.  This bill, if passed into law, will make it a felony for federal officials to come into Utah and attempt to force the citizens of the great State of Utah to be subjected to federal laws that continue to errode our second Amendment rights, and gives authority to local law enforcement to arrest these officials.  Finally!  A bill has come along to make it illegal for the federal government to tell the sovereign citizens of Utah what they can and cannot do with essential liberties.  The Sheriff's Association will not enforce federal draconian statutes, and will arrest federal officials; and the gun owning patriots give it teeth!  10th Amendment, FOR THE WIN!

After the official speeches were over, we were dismissed by the announcers and just as respectfully as we stood awaiting for their words of comfort, support, and strength, everyone quickly, and quietly left.  I saw many folks picking up pieces of trash they found, and the grounds were left as clean, if not cleaner, than when we arrived.  Despite the cold, made bitter by a wind that kicked up halfway through the 2-hour proceedings, nobody complained one bit.  Children were bundled and cared for by those of us in the crowd.  We witnessed history in the making today.  When my children ask me what I did to help preserve the 2nd Amendment for them, I will gladly say that among other things, I made my voice heard loudly and proudly with my fellow patriots side by side, shoulder to shoulder, in defiance of the dictates by a president who thinks he's a king, in support of that precious founding document that jump-started this great nation, THESE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

As I was writing this, I have been receiving reports from friends, and news alike, of similar rally's all over the country with thousands showing.  I would not be surprised if those in attendance, across the nation, numbered from 75,000 to around 100,000.  And this is just the beginning.  You want to piss off the rattlesnake?  We are just getting warmed up!

MOLON LABE!

-James

Friday, January 11, 2013

The AR-15 Justification

I have been pretty quiet on my blog as of late.  I've been waiting for a few things to complete a couple systems I intend to go over and while I have waited, I've been very active on social networks like Facebook.  I made a ton of new patriotic, like-minded friends, and have been very committed to getting information out to these people in earnest, which has helped spread a lot of facts and ideology regarding the 2nd Amendment and defense of liberty.  Alas, my blog has suffered somewhat as a result.

One thing I keep hearing over and over again, predominantly from the Left, is the question, "Why do you need an AR-15?"  What justification, or purpose does a "weapon of war" have with a regular civilian like me?  Why can't I be satisfied with a rifle that has a fixed magazine, or one that accepts a magazine with fewer than 11 rounds of ammunition?  My intention is to provide a forthright argument in favor of keeping weapons like this in my house.

Let me first talk about the 2nd Amendment.  I need to do this because until we have a clear understanding of what my interpretation of the 2nd Amendment means, we really can't have a viable discussion on my justification for weapons, such as AR-15's, in the home.  This is the actual text of the 2nd Amendment:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

I'm going to break this down a little because there are many people who feel that the first part of the the 2nd Amendment is ambiguous.  What is this "well regulated militia"?  It's you and me.  Title 10 of the US Code, chapter 13 states that the militia consists of men ages 17 through 45.  The Militia is then organized into two classes: the organized Militia (National Guard), and the unorganized Militia (you and me).  Of course, the age limit of 45 doesn't mean that older men can't participate in national defense.  It's just that men between 17 and 45 are typically more fit and capable of defending the country against threats.

But what about the "well regulated" part?  Does that not mean that only organized militias may have arms?  Nope.  The last section of the amendment states rather clearly, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."  The issue is not whether the National Guard is the only militia capable of bearing arms, it's a vernacular issue.  In the days of the drafting of the 2nd Amendment, "well regulated" meant to put into working order.  This meant that "a well regulated militia" consisted of men who had rifles, ammunition, appropriate gear necessary to bring to the fight as needed, and were trained to use them effectively.  Minutemen, who were ready in a minute's notice, had a good rifle, ball, powder, and essential clothing and survival gear needed to respond to threats against liberty.  They were also drilled, and practiced at their craft.  While there was already a Continental Army at the time of the Revolution, trained militias that consisted of everyday citizens, non-military men, were called upon to help the regular army in the fight for independence.  The nature of the 2nd Amendment is that it is intended for regular citizens, men and women, to keep sufficient arms as to stand as a last resort defense against an over reaching government.

You'll notice that hunting and sport are not mentioned in the 2nd Amendment.  These two purposes are simply byproducts of the 2nd Amendment, and both purposes are protected by the virtue that the 2nd Amendment does not define what sort of arms are for sporting purposes and what are for military purposes. This is a key point because to say that an AR-15 is not necessary but a bolt action rifle is, oversteps the limitations on government to control arms in this country.  You cannot say that a shotgun is okay to have in the house, yet AR-15 type rifles are not.  There is no justification for that argument in the 2nd Amendment.

Given this point, banning "assault weapons" (a misnomer at least) is not justified by the Constitution or the 2nd Amendment, therefore it does not have the force of law behind it.  Soldiers, law enforcement officers, and law-abiding citizens alike have a duty to nullify laws restricting these types of weapons because by banning these type of guns or severely regulating them into oblivion, goes against the very nature of the 2nd Amendment, and those who support such laws are traitors to the United States Constitution.  It's really that simple.

By now, you probably know what I'm going to say next.  What's the number 1 reason for owning arms such as AR-15's, AK-47's, SCAR17's, FN FAL's, etc?  Defense against tyranny.  Now, some of you might be rolling your eyes and saying that it is absurd to think that the United States government would ever turn on it's own citizens.  Really?  Must I remind you that just over 200 years ago, England turned on its own colonists, who then had to fight and die to protect liberty in America?  Or was that not in your high school history lessons?  I consider myself fortunate that my US History instructor was a patriot in every sense of the word, and augmented our assigned history book (about a page and a half dedicated to the Constitution) with an actual Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and a ton of reading of the Federalist Papers, and just what the patriots of 1776 were thinking.  By the way, our Founding Fathers were considered "radicals" by the Tories who supported a Statist government as well.  I feel that I'm in good company by siding with the Founding Fathers on issues such as liberty.

But let's not get off track here.  Has our own government not turned on us already?  Who among you actually wanted Obamacare?  How many of you are in favor of raising the debt ceiling, and printing and spending more and more dollars we do not have?  How many of you voted for Obama and thought that his recent tax hike for citizens making less than $250K per year was a good idea?  How many executive orders has our current President made in his term in office?  And what is this about the possibility of us getting a third term for this president?  Has your government not turned against you yet?  Obama says he has the support of the majority of the people, yet in a republic, 51/49 does not represent an actual majority.  That's class warfare.  If you don't know the difference between a representative republic and a democracy, may I suggest a few minutes on Google?

History has shown time and time again that government is no friend to personal liberty.  Government, by its very nature, serves to restrict liberties of the individual by imposing regulations and laws - many of which are totally unnecessary.  Are some of these regulations a good thing?  Sure.  Making it illegal to murder people is certainly a good law, but then again most people in this world don't need to be told that murder is illegal.  In their hearts, they know it is wrong and goes against the fundamental laws of nature and God, so by doing so they know they'd be going against everything that is good in this world.  That is why they don't do it.  The law simply recognizes that.

When you look at recent wars and tyrannical governments, you can see that utilizing the natural right of self defense against them is really good for America.  Look at the atrocities committed in West Africa, Iraq, the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the killings of millions by Hitler and Stalin, etc.  Then go further back to the campaigns of Persia against Greece.  Look at the wars waged by Alexander the Great, King Agamemnon, and King George III, just to name a few.  History is filled with examples of over reaching, tyrannical governments that sought to control the people under their rule with impunity and violence.

If you don't think that this could happen in America, you need to have your head examined.  In the historical sense, America is an extremely young country.  We have been spoiled by the freedoms and liberties we have.  Our children have all the toys and crap in the world that they want.  Most families are bulging with material goods that only liberty could buy.  We go to work and make enough money to have all of our needs met, and are able to spend money we don't have on frivolous things we don't need.

Then there are kids in war torn 3rd world shit holes that have a stick and a rock to play with.  Their bellies aren't full, their parents are dead, and warlords round them up for execution, recruitment into their brutal armies, and to defile young women.  This is the reality of tyranny.  It's not about being forced to drive an economy class car, or pay extra taxes, or be forced to take a health insurance plan you don't want.  It's about suffering, dying, rape, violence, and power.

This is my number 1 reason for owning an AR-15.

 I wish the argument could end there, but unfortunately, there are those who say that AR-15 rifles are not ideal for home defense.  I must ask, have you actually fired an AR-15 in your life?  How do you know what is, and what isn't ideal for home defense?  I believe that the AR-15 is perfectly suited for home defense.  I'm going to pick a couple details off the top of my head against the philosophy of home defense, and counter them with actual experience in training.  The first argument is that the round over penetrates.  True, the 5.56/.223 round is designed to shoot through things in order to hit the intended target.  The problem is that when you say that the .223 round over penetrates, you are being intellectually dishonest by not saying that the 9mm or the 45 ACP doesn't.  The last time I checked, both of those rounds easily penetrate sheet rock, wood, and steel.  These two popular rounds are capable of over penetrating with the best of them, so why does the issue lie only with AR-15 type rifles?  I don't see the logic.  Even the venerable 12 gauge buckshot round will over penetrate medium objects found in the average house.  Yet it is arguably the best self defense weapon you could own.

Why is that?  Because it is a devastating weapon.  Self defense isn't about defense.  It is about destroying threats.  When you shoot someone, you aren't defending yourself anymore.  No, you are destroying a person when you shoot them. You are destroying everything they ever were, or ever could be.  When you shoot someone, you are no longer on the defensive.  That ship set sail long ago when you presented your firearm.  When the threats persists against you, and you pull that trigger, you are taking the offensive.  If you can't overcome this mindset, then you don't have any business handling a gun.

The next argument is that the AR-15 is hard to move around inside the confines of a home.  What?  Like as hard as a shotgun is?  Wait, I thought shotguns were acceptable.  The last time I checked, my shotgun was as long, if not longer than my AR-15.  So why is it okay to use a shotgun over the AR-15 if the AR-15 is so hard to maneuver inside a house?  If it is so difficult to move around inside a building with an AR-15, then why do many police SWAT agencies use them?  With just a little practice, moving a rifle around inside a house becomes just as effective as walking around with a handgun.  But wait!  Why not just use a handgun for home defense instead?  It's much easier to maneuver with a handgun.  Well, I'd contend that it's much harder to hit a moving target with a handgun than a rifle.  There are many advantages to using rifles over handguns.  That's why handguns are considered secondary to rifles.  If handguns are so great, why doesn't the military issue only handguns to our men and women in uniform?  That's because rifles are superior weapons.  The only reasons I have handguns is because they are easier to conceal, and come in really handy when your rifle malfunctions or you run out of ammunition.  As was once said to me, "we use pistols to fight our way to rifles."

Also, have you ever tried to clear your house with your handgun?  Okay, shooting fundamentals 101 teaches us that we do not fire our handguns when they are two inches in front of our noses.  So in order to obtain a proper shooting stance, we must punch the handgun out to full extension in order to properly acquire sights and take accurate shots.  I am here to tell you that the end of my pistol barrel is almost the same distance away from my body as the end of my rifle barrel when I'm ready to shoot.  The techniques for clearing a room with a handgun and a rifle are similar.  Stay away from the walls, cut the pie, and if the space is really confined, you lower each weapon platform to move around some walls or obstacles.  That's the nature of the beast.  Given the choice, I'd still take a rifle over a handgun any day.

If you take the picture of me, above, holding my Beretta M9A1 pistol at full extension, and compare it to the first picture of me holding an AR-15 in this blog, you will see that the muzzles of both my pistol and rifle are in nearly the same position in relation to my body.

Now, we get to the hot button issue of these so-called "high capacity" magazines.  First off, the AR-15 uses 30 round magazines as a standard.  The 30 round magazine is recognized as the standard capacity magazine, and this bears itself out by military use and law enforcement.  The fact of the matter is that AR-15 rifles are designed to accept, and function with, 30 round magazines as a gold standard.  If an AR-15 does not function with these magazines, it's junk.  Why do I need these feeding devices for my AR-15?  Why not simply be content with a 10 round magazine, or even a 5 round magazine?  Well, if you really must ask that question, I encourage you to reread the section of this entry regarding defense against tyranny.  If military and law enforcement can use these magazines, than so should I.  The point of the 2nd Amendment was so that we could match small arms against government.  No, that does not mean I need a bazooka.  It means I need a small arm typical of the type currently in use by the government.  Since they have no intention of reverting back to muskets anytime soon, neither do I.

When it comes to magazine capacity, there are two arguments I make.  With regard to a mass murderer, limiting magazines to 10 rounds or less won't make any difference.  If he is shooting up a crowd of people, creating all kinds of chaos and mayhem, he can take his time to keep reloading 10 round magazine after 10 round magazine.  If no one is shooting back, it's just a matter of seconds to get the weapon charged up and ready to shoot again.

In regards to self defense, however, it's a much different game.  If I'm up against two or more threats, I don't desire to have to reload after 10 rounds.  We have recently seen than 5 shots at point black range from a 38 special didn't necessarily kill the bad guy.  I've personally been "approached" by three menacing guys, and have had need to draw my pistol and level it between the lead bad guy's eyes.  At the time, my Beretta 92 FS was loaded with 15 rounds in the magazine, and 1 in the pipe.  I had two spare 15 round magazines on my hip.  But it didn't matter that I had as many rounds on my person as I did.  They still weren't enough.  You'll never hear anyone who has been in that situation say that they wished they had less ammunition on them.  When you are being attacked by one, two, or more assailants, the two to three seconds it takes to change a magazine could be the end of your life.

I have a distant relative that thinks that magazines should be limited to three rounds because if you can't hit your target in three shots, then you suck.  Well she sucks!  She has no idea about terminal ballistics, mindset, the fact that bad guys don't just stand still, and the fact that we, as the people trying not to be killed ourselves, are not standing still either.

I have three appropriate weapons for home defense: an AR-15 carbine, a 12 gauge shotgun, and a handgun.  My AR-15 has a loaded 30 round magazine.  The shotgun is loaded with 7 rounds of buckshot.  The handgun is loaded with 20 rounds (yes, I have twenty round magazines for it).  If I suddenly found myself in a room, facing a door, with a single table in the middle, these three guns, my family in a corner, and a note that read, "In 60 seconds a man is going to come in this room and kill you all," I wouldn't hesitate to grab the AR-15 rifle over the other two.  The reason is simple.  I can shoot through the door, I have 30 rounds at my disposal, and when all else fails, the buttstock or a rifle makes a very good bludgeoning tool.

All other justifications for the AR-15 in my home are superfluous when compared to the reasons I stated above.  The sporting aspect of it is yet another byproduct of having the gun.  I take the weapon out and use it against clay pigeons, steel plates, paper targets, and the occasional unfortunate pumpkin.  By taking the weapon out and having a bit of fun with it, I'm reinforcing training.  Just because I'm shooting a pumpkin doesn't mean I'm not using it properly.  No, in fact, a pumpkin offers a great 3 dimensional target to shoot at, and augments my training.  We don't shoot for accuracy just for fun.  When I shoot my little steel plate from great distances, I'm honing my skills with the rifle.  When I'm changing magazines, solving failure issues, or operating the weapon, I'm reinforcing weapons manipulation and learning the odds and ends of my rifle.  In effect, I'm insuring that my weapon is in operational condition.  Should the time come that I'm called upon to defend liberty, I will add my own system to that "well regulated" militia that the 2nd Amendment is talking about.  By teaching my family, I'm insuring that they are ready in case I am not able to be there.

My AR-15 empowers my wife.  She knows how to use it.  She's a good shot with it.  She's also not very big.  Most men could easily force their way upon her.  I don't say this as a slam against her.  She already told me last night that she isn't strong enough to fight most men twice her size.  A weapon like an AR-15 levels the playing field so that she can defend herself against an attacker.  That attacker could be anything.  From a deranged druggy to a rapist, or even a tyrannical government.  I don't think that she would make herself an easy target or prey to someone looking to victimize her.  I also be in fear if I was an attacker, and she was defending our children.  There's something about protecting your children that brings out some rather powerful instincts in parents.  Suddenly, this life isn't filled with what your wants and needs are, but rather those of your kids.  Your needs come second to their needs.

So why have such weapons in the house?  They could be hurt or killed.  Wrong.  I am still alive to type this and my dad had all sorts of guns in our house when I was growing up.  They weren't locked away.  They were accessible.  The ammunition wasn't stored separately.  So why didn't I die or kill anybody?  Well, because even though we had our ups and downs as a family, we were still given a set of moral codes, a foundation if you will, that kept us in line.  Even though we'd have some really good verbal fights from time to time, the thought of breaking out Dad's old service revolver never occurred to us.

We were also trained in weapons handling.  My dad took me out at 5 years old to learn how to shoot.  My son got his first taste of shooting at age 3.  Yet when my children see me holding a gun, they aren't shocked, surprised, or at all interested in what "daddy is doing with his gun."  In fact, just this morning, I walked out of my bedroom with my AR-15 in hand, and my nearly 3 year old daughter saw it.  She immediately told me, in a rather stern voice, "Not in the house.  You shoot that gun outside."  Both my children have had the curiosity and naive excitement about guns taken out of their systems.  Whenever we go shooting, my son is always willing to go.  He likes shooting.  But he's also been taught that guns have their place, and touching them without mom and dad's permission is a big no-no.  My children don't go looking for my guns, nor will they touch them without being told it's okay.  And no, we are not training them to be little killers.  I'm 32 years old and I've never killed anybody.  And I've been shooting longer than I can remember.  What we are doing is teaching them to be responsible with firearms, especially with guns that do have so much killing potential.  I won't deny that the AR-15 is a fearsome weapon.  I know what it is capable of doing.  That's why I own one.  Because should the time come when I need to draw upon those capabilities, I'll have them.

By now, I think I've made my position on this issue perfectly clear.  I'm going to close by stating that evil men exist in this world.  It's a dangerous world we live in.  If you don't believe me, just walk down the streets in Watts County or Chicago, IL.  The unalienable right to defense against evil, no matter what brand it is, was not given to us by the 2nd Amendment.  Instead, it was recognized by it.  The Founding Fathers put it there because they had just won a hard fought victory against tyranny and recognized the need for the American people to have this last resort check and balance against it.  Evil isn't just some disturbed person shooting up a place with a gun.  Evil is also the encroachment of a government that has overstepped its enumerated limitations.  When we lose the right to own rifles, such as the AR-15, we lose a very critical aspect of our right to keep and bear arms.  When the laws that supposedly protect us from gun violence does not work, the government will legislate stricter laws to tighten the noose around our necks and further limit our liberties.  They will do this incrementally until guns are completely banned.  When that happens, we will no longer be a free society.

I was asked, is the cost of 11,000 people killed with guns each year worth it?  Let me ask you this.  If the government was somehow capable of rounding up every gun in America, and it really did lead to a safer society, would the cost of tyranny be worth that?  I am willing to accept the fact that murders are committed with firearms because I am unwilling to accept that safety is worth the cost of tyranny.

-James