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General Gun News
In this gear review, I visit new products of brands that have been landmarks in my shooting life. My introduction to Nightforce scopes was a memorable week, the first time I’d hit a target at greater than 1,000 yards. Gaining competence with the first AK I’ve owned has been enhanced by the American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) mount that holds an optic on the rifle. This test did not begin as smoothly as most, but in the end, the joke was on me.
Nightforce reached out with a request to check out a new optic. What are you looking for, the rep asked. I told him a milling reticle, medium to high magnification, appropriate for a .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor long-distance rifle. ADM ponied up its AD Recon flattop rifle mount with built-in 20 MOA elevation. I waited with anticipation for the scope to arrive.
The box showed up at my door. I tore into the package, and thought something must be amiss. Plain black turrets with logo covers and non-numbered rings seemed to stare back up at me. I lifted the scope out of its cardboard braces and held it up to the window. Crosshairs. Plain black crosshairs.
A new series of exchanges between the rep and I ensued. Someone in the process had misunderstood the request. And, the person in charge of shipping samples at Nightforce was ill, so nothing was going to happen soon.
SHV stands for shooter-hunter-varminter, a four-scope subset within the Nightforce collection. This scope is the smallest of the line, with 3-10x magnification with a 42mm tube. Its turrets have 0.25 true MOA click values for windage and elevation adjustments. There’s also a parallax adjustment. It’s 11.6 inches long and weighs 20.8 ounces. The reticle is on the second focal plane. At 3x magnification, the field of view is 34.9 feet at 100 yards. On 10x, 11 feet of real estate is visible.
What it doesn’t have are some little luxuries I’d associated with the brand after spending time behind a tactical model. There’s no illumination on the reticle, and no zero-stop turret capability. I confess I’m quite spoiled by the latter, as the zero-stop feature has eliminated the necessity of remembering where zero is on my own scopes. For those unfamiliar, turrets equipped with zero-stop capability can be set so the shooter’s own zero at a given distance also reads zero on the dials, assuming they’ve not been turned 360 degrees or more. The SHV does compensate for this by providing a vertical scale showing the number of trips around—the lines are a little hard to see through fogged glasses, but useful.
Okay, this mostly non-hunter said, I’ll figure out a test. My training partner, a lifetime hunter and consummate rifle shooter, held the glass up for a look. Looking back at me, he said, “what kind of scope do you think Carlos Hathcock had,” knowing my novice long-range gear snobbery would be bumped down several pegs by the reference to the famed Marine sniper and one of my heroes.
Attitude re-adjusted, the scope found a home on a Springfield M1A. The ADM Recon was first placed on the rail, its two quick-release levers making this initial step fast. The manual for the mount states because there’s more surface contact with this mount, the screws attached to the rail lockdown levers can tolerate being adjusted less tight than most. Turning the screwdriver gingerly, until it felt snug to the rail, the levers were tucked aside and locked into place.
The ADM mount is made from 6061 T6 aluminum — not the hardest on the planet, with anodized finish. It weighs 8.5 ounces. The rings are 4.8 inches apart, outside distance. The rail adds 1.45 inches to that, for a total length of 6.25 inches.
While the hardening finish should prevent any gouging or deforming of screws from tools, we nevertheless were cautious – too cautious, as it were, about over-tightening.
A custom feature on the recon is the levers. Not only are they solid-locking yet quick-release, they’re also reversible if a person cares to aim them in front-to-rear opening mode, and the braces can be adjusted for rails that are out of spec.
Also nice is the ability to use a regular slotted screwdriver to tighten the mount, though this casual approach would bite me later. As for the quick-release levers, my experience with ADM’s single-lever mount on my AK has earned my trust in their dependability.
With the mount on the rail, the scope was installed and leveled in the vertical rings, which have four screws each. According to instructions, the bottom screws were tightened down firmly, to 25-inch pounds, before the top ones were secured, leaving a proper gap at the top juncture of each ring. This part of the setup was the most time consuming, but also the one that stayed solid.
At the range, the sighting-in began, first with FMJ ammunition. It’s hard not to be struck, and subsequently fascinated, by the extreme clarity of the glass on the Nighforce scope. It’s somehow clearer than looking through the naked eye. The modest 1.97-inch objective lens (that includes the rim) pulls in a surprising amount of light. Maybe this hunting scope trial wouldn’t be as arduous as I’d anticipated.
Things did go badly at first, with some ammo wasted as shots seemed to pick random points of impact after careful adjustments to elevation and windage — the hallmark of a loose mount. Revisiting the screws set on the rail, it seems the manual’s statement that tightness needn’t be a sticking point should be ignored. Tightening them down such that the quick release levers became grit teeth-dent fingers-and set release levers.
After that, the scope and mount worked in perfect harmony. We switched to Sig Sauer’s Elite Performance ammunition, a 128-grain match grade load sponsored for the test. Soon we were hitting targets as small as the 2.5-inch steel swinger on my home range with satisfying consistency, using a slightly high hold with a 100-yard zero. Very pleasing. But would it last?
Since the rifle in this test isn’t mine, its owner took it, scope in place, for a few weeks until a longer-range trial was available. Not only would we find out how the scope fares at ranges longer than 200 yards, after a period of being jostled inside an old-fashioned padded, canvas case in a truck, we’d find out if this setup is serious about holding zero.
Long story short, the setup did quite well. The scope had been zeroed for a point of impact that’s 2 inches high at 100 yards. Loaded with the Sig Sauer ammo and with a literally cold bore on a recently above-freezing temperature morning, a centered but loose, 2.5 MOA shot cluster was the first reward of the day. With a warm barrel, a tighter group showed up, a bit more than an inch right of center.
Even more rewarding were the hits on 10- and 18-inch steel plates at 200 to 500 yards. Though the M1A gas gun is no match for modern precision bolt rifles, the package was accurate enough for taking game at distances that test the limits of 10x magnification.
The Nightforce SHV 3-10×42 is one of the less expensive choices in the Nightforce stable, but should serve hunters very well. Though it’s a bit short on features for a modern scope, the glass clarity is remarkable. Retail prices are in the mid- to high $800s, with occasional sales available for vigilant shoppers.
American Defense Manufacturing’s Recon flattop scope mount seems a solid-enough choice for hunting and tactical use. The company is still small enough that users can purchase direct for $179.95.
While this combination of a modern mount and traditional scope is a bit unorthodox, add quality match ammunition and you’ve got a setup for which Hathcock, if he were still around to ask, would likely give a thumbs-up.
Leica Sport Optics accomplished a first for the company, releasing its very first red dot sight in the Tempus ASPH.
The Tempus ASPH is milled from a single piece of aluminum and offers two versions — a 3.5 MOA dot size or 2.0 MOA. Crafted to grant hunters more speed and flexibility, the Tempus ASPH utilizes aspherical optics to deliver a crisp image of the illuminated dot and a high image quality. The outlined illuminated dot provides for precise shooting, regardless of angle, allowing hunters to quickly identify game and drop targets quickly.
“When hunting, what really counts are factors like speed, precision and safety,” Leica said in a press release. “To help with this, the extremely bright illuminated dot can be dimmed in 12 stages according to the lighting situation, making it clearly visible in sunshine, unfavorable weather or when everything is covered under a thick layer of snow.”
The Tempus ASPH by Leica retails for $599.
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Theatre-made “sweetheart grips” crafted from recycled aircraft canopies were popular in WWII– but this particularly sweet longslide is tied to a key figure in firearms history.
Up for bid at Rock Island’s upcoming April Premier Auction is a Colt .45 GI that once belonged to Brig. Gen. Guy H. Drewry. Never heard of Drewry? His “GHD” ordnance mark of approval graces thousands of wartime rifles and pistols made in New England and, as noted by the Army, the bespectacled professional ordnance officer spent several years assisting in the development of the vaunted M1 Garand and later pushed to have other wartime guns such as the M1 Carbine manufactured and rushed to the front.
While the good General, along with his wife, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, his classic C&R-eligible 1911– still with images of the beloved Mrs. Drewry under each grip panel, head to the auction block next month with an estimated price of $5,000-$7,000.
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Gun rights groups allied with a domestic violence survivor are suing an Illinois housing authority over their “no guns allowed” policies.
The woman said she fears her abusive ex-husband who was recently released from prison on a murder conviction. She has a valid Illinois firearms card but is barred by her lease at ESLHA’s Auburn Terrace complex from having a gun in her home even though it was used to save her life previously.
“This situation is made even more outrageous considering what has happened to Ms. Doe while living at Auburn Terrace,” said Alan Gottlieb, head of the Second Amendment Foundation, one of the groups backing the woman. “We’ve explained how she was beaten and raped in January 2017, and her children stopped the attack only by threatening to use a gun. On two other occasions, Ms. Doe had to call police due to shootings in nearby residences. When the housing authority threatened to terminate her lease due to the gun in her residence, they insisted that the building is safe, so she doesn’t need a gun.”
The lawsuit, prepared by attorney David Sigale in conjunction with the Illinois State Rifle Association, names the housing authority’s director, Mildred Moffat, in her official capacity as a defendant. The filing notes that the authority’s lease specifically restricts firearms possessed by the renter or guests “anywhere in the unit or elsewhere on the property” and the units are subject to “special inspections” at any time. This, argues Sigale, amounts to a program that denies people their Second Amendment rights simply because they are at a financial disadvantage and need government housing.
“Wealthier persons who can afford to live in private housing are not deprived of this right,” Sigale says.
The unidentified plaintiff is described as a customer service representative for a medical supply distributor, who was forced due to family health issues to seek governmental assistance. The lawsuit seeks to overturn the authority’s gun restrictions on lawful owners “because the lease provisions violate constitutional rights.”
Other states have moved to overturn gun bans in public housing in recent years following legal challenges. In 2014, a ruling by the Delaware Supreme Court struck down existing policies prohibiting guns in common areas of the Wilmington Housing Authority as unconstitutional.
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Beretta adds even more class and sophistication to its shotgun line, launching the SL3 Premium Over and Under.
Crafted in Gardone Val Trompia, the SL3 takes the classic Beretta design and kicks it up a notch with premium engravings and aesthetics. The shotgun boasts a reliable boxlock system designed to withstand intensive use in the field.
Offering barrels anchored at three points — hinge pins, lower hooks and locking pins — Beretta says the SLC action provides “the perfect action/barrel locking system.” The SL3 adds in new features as well, introducing newly designed ejectors that are more reliable and easier to clean.
Showcasing a rounded design, the SL3 flaunts laser engravings available in three different styles. The Renaissance Style is an ornamental motif Beretta says features rich bass relief. The Game Scene displays images of pheasants, ducks and partridges. The Fine English Scroll rounds out the engravings with its more traditional looks.
The SL3 also comes in a mirror polished variant that delivers a more modern look onto the classic shotgun profile. Beretta hasn’t offered any deets on pricing or availability as of yet.
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“Shotgunners, or officially aerial door gunners, are tough, skilled Soldiers trained to protect the sky-coaches flying over South Vietnam,” says the film’s opening.
The 1966 Army short only runs about four minutes but is a window into training at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii which at the time was home to the 25th “Tropic Lightning” Infantry Division. The military began arming their transport helicopters in Southeast Asia as early as 1962, first just with rifle-armed gunners then with light machine guns such as M1919A4 Brownings and later M60s.
By the time the above film was made, the program had been expanded and fully established, arming UH-1 Hueys with both door gunners– for “slicks”– as well as gunships with externally mounted rocket pods and machine guns. Just after this film was shot, the Army began fielding dedicated AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, but of course, door gunners continue to this day.
Be sure to look out for lots of groovy M60 footage as well as a short burst of M14 on full-Freedom.
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Just after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the measure, the gun rights group hit the state with a federal lawsuit over stripping gun rights of thousands of adults due to their age.
Scott applied his signature to SB 7026, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, on Friday, just three weeks after the high-profile shooting that claimed the lives of 17. The National Rifle Association responded the same day by filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of Florida, arguing the Constitutional rights of those over 18 and not yet 21 were being trampled by a tenet of the bill that raises the age to buy any gun in the state to 21.
“Florida’s ban is an affront to the Second Amendment, as it totally eviscerates the right of law-abiding adults between the ages of 18 and 21 to keep and bear arms,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm. “The ban is particularly offensive with respect to young women, as women between the ages of 18 and 21 are much less likely to engage in violent crime than older members of the general population who are unaffected by the ban.”
The lawsuit, naming Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and state police boss Rick Swearingen in their official capacity, argues that adult males at age 18 are considered part of the militia under federal law and may be conscripted for military service and, that by denying their right to keep and bear arms, the Sunshine State is violating both the Second Amendment as well as the equal protection allowed under the Fourteenth Amendment. As for females, the group argues Florida’s ban impacts them as well and points out that women in the affected age group pose only a slight risk of carrying out a “violent crime of any kind.”
While SB 7026 was Republican-sponsored, the GOP was far from united around it and 19 House Republicans cast their lot against the measure as it raced through Tallahassee. Away from the statehouse, other high-profile Republicans are worried about the legality of the age restriction.
“We wouldn’t say if you’re 18 to 20 you don’t have a 4th Amendment right and police can search your house without a warrant; We wouldn’t say they can seize your property without just compensation and the 5th Amendment doesn’t apply,” U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla, said on Fox’s The Ingraham Angle. “So I think that provision is problematic.”
Rod Sullivan, a Jacksonville area former constitutional law professor, told local media the NRA’s case against the state has some merit and is likely to go on to the U.S. 11th Circuit and eventually the Supreme Court.
“It does come down to the Second Amendment. It’s a fundamental right. It’s not like the right to buy cigarettes or drink alcohol. This is a right that’s in the Constitution,” Sullivan said.
In addition to the age restriction, SB 7026 makes it a felony to possess a bump stock or similar device and mandates a three-day wait on most gun transfers with some exceptions. A “red flag” provision would allow police or the family of a person thought to be at risk to file to have the individual’s guns temporarily seized.
The new law also includes some $400 million in authorizations to increase school security, memorialize Florida’s worst school shooting, establish a commission to investigate the incident and create a $67 million “guardian” program of law-enforcement trained armed volunteer school faculty, the latter a move that many Democrats and gun control groups opposed.
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More than half of polled gun owners report unsafe gun storage practices, according to a survey published by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in late February.
The internet based survey, which polled 1,444 gun owners in 2016 on their storage attitudes and habits, found that 54-percent of respondents indicated storing firearms in an unsafe manner. The study’s parameters for safe storage included keeping all guns locked in a gun safe, cabinet, case or gun rack or, alternatively, storing firearms with a trigger or cable lock.
Assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, said the results of the survey were alarming, pointing to household gun ownership as a factor in some homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings.
“Many bring guns into their homes for self-defense, but unsecured guns can lead to unintentional shootings, suicides, and tragic cases of troubled teens using guns to commit acts of violence,” Crifasi said in a statement. “The survey findings indicate a real public health emergency.”
In addition to attempting to unearth the methods by which gun owners stow firearms in the home, the study also looked to the attitudes driving gun owners’ storage. The survey concluded that firearms enthusiasts who received training in a class setting were twice as likely to engage in safe storage practices, while gun owners citing home defense as factor in their storage decision were 30-percent less likely to safely stow guns.
While the gun industry emphasizes and backs safe gun handling and storage through programs designed to educate firearms consumers, NSSF Senior Director of Communications Bill Brassard said getting gun owners on board can sometimes to be tricky.
“The majority of firearms owners store their guns responsibly,” Brassard told Guns.com via email. “That being said, some gun owners say they don’t use locked storage because they want quick access to a firearm for home protection. Others say locked storage isn’t necessary for them because there isn’t a child in their home. Neither is a reason to skip safe storage.”
Brassard pointed to the growing array of safe manufacturers offering a plethora of options that balance both access with safety. “As NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program points out, options exist for locked storage that allows quick access. And all gun owners should take steps to prevent theft of their firearms whether from home or vehicle.”
The GunBox is one such company, providing techy solutions, such as RFID and biometric options, to alleviate the conundrum of access versus safety. Tom Wright, president of The GunBox, said the biggest hurdle is convincing reluctant gun owners that safe storage doesn’t mean giving up gun rights.
“As a gun owner and concealed carrier myself, you want protection; but a traditional safe isn’t conveniently located,” Wright told Guns.com. “Gun ownership is a deeply revered right worth fighting for. Once gun owners realize we are on the same side and can provide that right without compromise, then it becomes a good idea. No one wants their weapon to end up in the hands of kids, grandkids or visiting friends.”
For many, the decision to lock up firearms is a personal one dependent on a bevy of individual factors. Gun owner Jason New told Guns.com his home features a difficult floor plan that makes owning a traditional safe challenging. New said he plans to balance the issue of access versus storage by eventually purchasing more safes to distribute inconspicuously throughout his home.
“I believe (guns) should be locked up when away from home. If my guns were stolen and they weren’t in a safe, I’d never be able to sleep at night,” New said. “Eventually, I’d like to own a safe in most areas of my home for ease of access in an unexpected emergency. My home layout is fairly complicated so running from area to area isn’t ideal.”
Gun owner of four years Amanda Stoltenberg added that lifestyle also plays a large factor for many gun supporters when making the decision to lock up their arsenal.
“You can never 100-percent be sure that you won’t have unexpected company or kids around or even a burglary. Things happen. Life is unpredictable. I think not locking up your firearms is a calculated risk,” Stoltenberg told Guns.com. “On the other hand an inaccessible gun is useless in any self defense scenario. If I were single without kids I, honestly, likely wouldn’t have them all locked away.”
A study published in the journal of Pediatrics in June 2017 indicating that nearly 1,300 children die and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds in the U.S. each year. Though unintentional firearms deaths and homicides among children are on the decline, the number of suicides by firearms has been trending upward since 2007, according to researchers. These unfortunate events are why the NSSF implores gun owners to safely store their firearms to prevent tragic accidents from occurring.
“A firearms owner’s most important responsibility is to keep their guns out of the wrong hands, including children and at-risk persons,” Brassard said. “Keep in mind that nearly two-thirds of all firearm-related deaths are suicides, not homicides or accidents. If you know someone is going through a difficult period, preventing access to firearms (and other means) can save a life.”
Brassard urged interested gun owners on the hunt for more gun safety tips, including where to pick up a free gun cable lock, to visit the NSSF’s Project Child Safe website at ProjectChildSafe.org for more information.
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President Donald Trump’s promise to regulate bump stocks and similar devices into oblivion moved one step closer to reality this weekend.
The Department of Justice announced Saturday a proposed regulation adding the devices to the definition of “machine gun” under both the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.
“President Trump is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a news release Saturday. “To that end, the Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock type devices.”
The move comes less than a month after Trump publicly leaned on Sessions and the department to draft a regulation banning bump stocks — and soon. The accessory, which mimics automatic gun fire, gained notoriety in October after a lone gunman mowed down 58 people and wounded more than 850 others on the Las Vegas strip with a dozen rifles modified with the devices.
“You put it into the machine gun category, which is what it is. It becomes essentially a machine gun,” Trump said on Feb. 27. “It’s going to be very hard to get them.”
While the move will likely anger gun rights groups, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action released a joint statement hours after the DOJ announcement in favor of the proposed rule.
“We applaud the Department of Justice for taking this important step, and we hope a bump stocks rule gets approved quickly,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown. “However, this action alone is not enough to meet the moment. Across the country, Americans are demanding action on gun safety, states are delivering, and it’s time for Congress to follow suit.”
Bipartisan measures in both the House and the Senate to ban bump stocks sit without action. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed only lawmakers can “close the loophole” in a statement to CNN last month.
“There are serious problems with the President’s approach,” Schumer said. “First, his own ATF agency has warned that it does not have the authority to ban bump stocks. The only way to close this loophole permanently is legislation.””
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, believes the ATF should shoulder the burden of regulating bump stocks, saying in October its “the smartest, quickest fix.”
Although bump stocks existed in relative obscurity prior to the Vegas shooting, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives knows the devices well. In 2010, Texas-based bump stock manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions sought a determination from the agency regarding their product’s classification under federal law.
At the time, ATF deemed bump stocks as nothing more than an unregulated accessory — not a machine gun, or capable of converting a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm, either. Rick Vasquez, the now retired agent who made the call eight years ago, stood by his decision in an Oct. 7 Facebook statement.
“The Slide Fire does not fire automatically with a single pull/function of the trigger,” he said, noting the single pull trigger remains integral to the definition of a machine gun.
He responded briefly to the impending ban in an email to Guns.com last month. “The ATF has been directed to write a regulation that is stronger then the law,” he said. “An agency can write regulations, but only Congress can write laws.”
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The former star of reality show “American Guns” was sentenced Thursday in a Denver federal court for conspiracy to sell guns without a license and tax fraud.
Richard Wyatt, 54, of Evergreen, Colorado, was ordered to serve 78 months in federal prison and had to forfeit 490 firearms. But the amount of restitution to the Internal Revenue Service will be determined at a future hearing.
“Even television reality stars are not exempt from the reality of our nation’s tax laws,” said Steve Osborne, an IRS special agent in charge of Denver’s field office. He added, “Today’s sentencing is a reminder that there are detrimental consequences for this type of criminal behavior.”
After a three-week trial last year, a federal jury convicted Wyatt on two counts of conspiracy, filing a false tax return and multiple counts of failure to file. In all, he failed to pay more than $500,000 in income tax. However, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At trial, prosecutors showed that Wyatt continued to operate the store Gunsmoke even though he lost his federal firearms license in April 2012. The store was the set of a reality show on the Discovery Channel from 2011-2012. The show focused on the store’s day-to-day operations as well as the relationships between Wyatt, his wife, their daughter and occasionally their son.
After surrendering Gunsmoke’s FFL, he changed the address on another license for another store to Gunsmoke’s address and continued to operate the store and offered gunsmithing services. He also falsified ATF paperwork and transaction records, so the other store operated as a “straw licensee.”
During transactions, employees would take payments and then direct customers to another store to complete a background check form and to take possession of a firearm.
“A man has to make a choice, and Wyatt chose wrong,” said U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. “Unless your ambition is to serve a long sentence in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, selling guns illegally and cheating on your taxes are going to be bad choices.”
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Two of the “rarest Winchester 1873s on the planet” have surfaced and are up for grabs at an upcoming multi-day auction next month.
Rock Island Auction Company’s Premier Auction in April has a number of vintage, collectible Winchester lever-action rifles, and carbines listed in their catalog but two very special guns stand above the rest. As explained by the impressively bearded Kevin Hogan, RIA’s president, the event will include the first factory engraved 1873 Winchester– serial number 834, and the earliest known Deluxe model— serial number 530.
You don’t get the opportunity to see these early lever guns in circulation very often, and Hogan says these guns are being offered to the public for the first time, with documentation going back to the 1960s.
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The National Shooting Sports Foundation warned federally-licensed gun dealers considering limiting rifle sales to customers under 21 may face expensive legal action as a result.
The foundation represents 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. In its fact sheet published Thursday, NSSF said many state and local governments adhere to “public accommodation” statutes barring age-based discrimination — which is why new corporate policies at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, for example, have already spawned lawsuits in Oregon.
“NSSF respects the right of individual businesses to make their own decisions about what is appropriate for their business,” the organization said. “However, in making the decision to refuse to sell to consumers based solely on their age, FFLs need to be aware that such a policy may violate state or local laws barring age discrimination and potentially subject them to civil lawsuits or civil enforcement actions.”
Dick’s Sporting Goods led a bandwagon of corporate backlash against “assault-style” rifles last week, announcing its decision to pull the firearms from all of its stores, including more than 30 Field and Stream locations. Remaining rifles would not be sold to anyone under 21, Chief Executive Officer Edward Stack announced last week.
“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again,” Stack said. “They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.”
Walmart, Kroger and L.L. Bean followed suit. The retailers’ voluntary policy change came after congressional leaders and the president, himself, floated the proposal as a reaction to the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida. The accused gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, murdered 17 former classmates and teachers with an AR-15, prompting many in favor of tougher gun laws to question why a teenager could buy a semiautomatic rifle.
Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, oppose the idea as discriminatory, effectively banning gun owners aged 18 to 20 from exercising their constitutional right.
The NSSF warns without comparable state or federal law restricting rifle sales based on age, gun dealers who willfully implement such rules “may be unwittingly opening themselves up to litigation and potential liability.”
Nine states enacted such age-based protections: Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee. Washington D.C. also bans age-discrimination policies, as well as local governments in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City. State government entities, including the Attorney General, in Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia may also take legal action against any retailers engaging in age-based discrimination.
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It’s a familiar pattern for American voters: a mass shooting followed by political grandstanding and congressional hand-wringing to “get something done” about killers with guns. Advocacy groups march through Washington. Elected officials shout down cable news hosts. Polls indicate public support for tougher restrictions reach new heights.
This rarely translates into more gun laws at the federal level, however. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month even spurred a brand new policy proposal — banning rifle sales to anyone under age 21 — in a decades-old debate over the role of regulation in preventing gun-related violence.
But will this — or any of the other policy positions so widely touted as supported by the majority — turn into law? Probably not, according to pollster, political scientist and college professor Harry Wilson.
Wilson, a member of the National Rifle Association, teaches public affairs at Roanoke College in western Virginia and identifies three main reasons why opinion polls — with their sky-high rates of agreement among all demographics and partisan leanings — rarely align with federal gun policy.
“I have examined the issue from different perspectives,” he said in an editorial for The Conversation. “I have found that there are three major reasons that policy does not always follow public opinion: the structure of the U.S. government, the overlooked complexities of public opinion and the influence of voters and interest groups.”
Wilson said the structure of Congress — designed to placate the founders’ fears of mob rule — provides disproportionate representation to less-populous, more conservative states. He notes, for example, New York and California represent 18 percent of the population, but only 4 percent of senators. Meanwhile, states like Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Idaho — identified as pro-gun rights — comprise 2 percent of the population, but 12 percent of the votes in the Senate.
Add in the use of filibusters, the House’s partisan-drawn congressional maps and the inability to amend the Constitution through any direct-voter initiative, such as a ballot referendum, Wilson said the load of stricter gun policy is just too heavy for lawmakers to bear.
“In a closely divided Senate, 60 votes are almost impossible to muster,” he said. “In addition, national sentiment is not mirrored in every state or congressional district.”
The sentiment, he said, may appear unified around more gun control — particularly when comparing poll results indicating greater than 90 percent of Americans favor “universal background checks” or three-quarters support an “assault weapons ban.” Except, he said, it’s rarely that straightforward.
“Simultaneously, most Americans think that additional gun control measures won’t reduce violent crime,” he said. “This is not surprising because most Americans don’t blame guns for these tragedies.”
The RAND Gun Policy Project in America said the country’s gun debate stems from a disagreement over the effects of gun policy — not the objectives of new proposals themselves. A lack of scientific research studying such outcomes means policymakers and the experts who advise them can’t even agree on facts about gun-related violence.
“Both groups prefer policies that they believe will reduce gun violence, but one believes that eliminating gun-free zones, for instance, will accomplish this objective, while the other believes that such a policy would have the opposite effect,” said Andrew Morral, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, while discussing the organization’s survey of gun policy experts on both sides of the debate. “This is a disagreement about facts, not about values or objectives.”
Wilson said “legitimate legal constraints” also stand in the way of public opinion. “Crafting legislation that disqualifies those we all agree should not possess firearms but protects the rights of law-abiding citizens is quite difficult,” he said.
Finally, Wilson said, gun rights voters show up at the polls more often to elect candidates focused on preserving the Second Amendment. This, despite the frequent news coverage surrounding gun control efforts and the “erroneous impression” it leaves with casual viewers who may perceive the movement’s followers as “more passionate.”
“Gun owners are more likely than non-owners to vote based on the issue of gun control, to have contacted an elected official about gun rights, and to have contributed money to an organization that takes a position on gun control,” he said. “Such differing rates of political activity are to be expected because many gun owners fear their rights are or will be restricted, and that drives them to the polls.”
This fact, Wilson says, gives the NRA and its 5 million members what some would argue is too much influence in Washington. Elected officials want votes and the NRA provides them — a simple, albeit accurate reflection of the group’s lobbying power.
“Many factors influence how legislation is drafted, amended, enacted and implemented. Searching for a direct causal connection from public opinion to specific policies, including gun control, may be akin to a search for the holy grail,” he said. “Our elected officials care more about the opinions of those who vote for them than what the nation as a whole thinks. On most issues they represent the interests of the majority of voters in their districts – or they get voted out of office.”
Taran Tactical Innovations just released a high-energy highlight reel of staffer Jade Struck doing a series of runs with a lot of exotic hardware.
From the looks of things, Struck, an instructor, is no slouch when it comes to running the myriad steel at Taran Butler’s Simi Valley installation and she lays down lots of brass and hulls with everything from a series of tricked-out practical/tactical Glocks to a full-fun MP5 with lots of stuff in between.
Besides the weapon cameos, there are also a series of John Wick/Punisher types that pop up in a few clips, so keep your eyes peeled.
Also, for those who argue the minimum age to buy a gun should be boosted to 21, here is where we point out that Struck is 19.
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The public and political forces that influenced businesses and investors to reconsider their relationships with the firearm industry have turned their attention to banks. The shift follows a successful campaign to encourage commercial entities to adopt gun rules lawmakers have failed to turn into policy and also pressured them to break ties to lobbying groups that block gun control legislation.
In the weeks since last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, a handful of investment firms said they would provide greater transparency for clients by identifying financial products funding gun companies and dozens of businesses ended partnerships with the National Rifle Association because of its stance on gun control. But after nibbling around the edges, advocates started biting into key sources of financing for both gun makers and the NRA with the hopes of weakening the industry’s influence over lawmakers and in turn open up opportunities to pass gun control legislation.
Left-leaning news website ThinkProgress initiated efforts to exert pressure on businesses connected to the NRA — crossing out 24 of the 32 companies on their list — and then refocused energies on banks. In all, the website named more than a dozen banks servicing the gun industry. Only a handful of banks so far have responded to calls for action, but the complex relationship between an entity and financier prevent an immediate unraveling of business agreements and policy changes.
Wells Fargo said it plans “to engage our customers that legally manufacture firearms and other stakeholders on what we can do together to promote better gun safety for our communities,” according to a Bloomberg report published Wednesday. Since 2012, Wells Fargo has loaned out $431.1 million to gun companies and the NRA. Yet, the company inherited the NRA’s business — a $28 million loan with 6.08 percent interest, which pays Well Fargo some $1.2 million annually — in 2008 when it bought Wachovia Corp., which inherited the account when it bought First Union National Bank.
Bank of America issued a statement saying it joined “other companies in our industry to examine what we can do to help end the tragedy of mass shootings” and will “engage the limited number of clients we have that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use to understand what they can contribute to this shared responsibility.”
Berkshire Bank, which had operated as part of a pension fund that loaned Sig Sauer $178 million, clarified on Monday that it had ended its relationship with the New Hampshire gun maker 18 months ago. The bank was responding to calls for action following 2016’s Orlando nightclub shooting in which the gunman used a Sig rifle to murder 49 people.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, a business columnist for The New York Times, argued financial institutions would have a better chance at reshaping gun policy than gun control advocates would by directly lobbying lawmakers. He suggested advocates should pressure financial institutions to demand reform instead of calling for them to boycott the gun industry.
Money managers have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, so they have to make a financial case to divest rather than one based on moral grounds, Sorkin said. Using embattled Remington Outdoor Company as an example, he explained the company has struggled to access capital markets or find a buyer since one of its products was the primary weapon used in the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.
Despite record setting gun sales nationwide during the entirety of the Obama Administration, Remington is preparing to file for bankruptcy protections this month. The company racked up nearly $1 billion in debt, so it is unlikely to be able to repay bondholders this year and next.
Remington is an example — albeit, an extreme one — of the gun industry’s current state. Although indicators for gun sales show only a slight difference from President Obama’s record setting final year, gun and ammo makers had prepared for surging sales leading up to 2016’s presidential election (and believing the U.S. would have an anti-gun president). So when pro-gun Republicans took the White House and both chambers of Congress, demand for guns fell. To work down surging inventories, gun companies had to lower and slash prices.
A national force led by students and victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 people dead and 15 others injured, encouraged a number of gun sellers to revise company policy. Dick’s Sporting Goods led the charge by announcing it would only sell guns to buyers older than 21 and ended the sale of “assault-style” weapons. Dick’s explained that it changed company policies because regulations in place would not have prevented the 19-year-old gunman from legally obtaining a firearm.
Still, even with the amounting threats, the gun industry has defended current standards and even challenged Dick’s policies, arguing the changes violate age discrimination laws and is an affront to the Second Amendment. Some have even taken to challenging the company’s new policy in court.
The activism by corporate America makes the response to the Parkland mass shooting different from the public’s response to other massacres. While it’s too early to determine the impact it has had on public policy, it is clear that proposed policy solutions mirror one another.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and of different areas of government have supported measures to improve the background check system and to raise the age limit to buy long guns from 18 to 21. And, state lawmakers in Florida — nicknamed the “gunshine state” for its pro-gun policies — sent a sweeping gun control package to the governor’s desk this week.
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Hi-Lux launches a new first focal plane riflescope designed for tactical and competitive shooters, announcing the PentaLux TAC-VF 4X-20X FFP.
The PentaLux TAC-VF features an illuminated CW1-FFP reticle offering red or green illumination options in addition to three night vision light levels. Hi-Lux says its MIL scale reticle offers consistency despite magnification level with a total adjustment range of 20 MILs for windage and elevation in 0.1 MILs per click increments. The PentaLux delivers a total of 120 clicks per revolution. Turrets are capable of being re-indexed after zeroing.
The scope’s lenses are fully multi-coated with DiamondTuff14 for the best light transmission, according to Hi-Lux. Nitrogen purged, the scope is equipped with rubber gasket seals to provide fogproof performance.
“Whether you are driving thumb tacks at 100 yards or competing in precision sniper matches, the PentaLux TAC-VF 4X-20X FFP scope will get the job done,” Hi-Lux said in a statement. “The PentaLux TAC-VF 4-20X FFP includes parallax adjustment from 10 meters to infinity, an integrated throw lever and magnetic flip lenses caps.”
The PentaLux TAC-VF 4X-20X FFP is available from Hi-Lux with a MSRP of $685.
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Hogue’s line of rifle accessories has grown with the announcement of the company’s latest buttstock — the AR15 OverMolded Buttstock.
The fixed AR-15 stock utilizes a hybrid reinforced polymer paired with an OverMolded rubber design. The OverMolded style, according to Hogue, creates a “beard-safe cheek rest” that adds comfortability to shooting. The polymer frame supplies multiple swivel sleeve and sling mounting options granting shooters a variety of carry positions. Topping off the design is the butt pad which features that OverMolded technology to cushion the shoulder from recoil.
The fixed buttstock works alongside A2 sized buffer tubes, replacing factory stocks quickly and easily.
“We already offer a best-selling collapsible buttstock packed with high-end features so it made perfect sense to reinterpret it for a fixed alternative,” Hogue co-owner and master toolmaker Jim Bruhns said a press release.
The OverMolded Buttstock is available in an array of colors to include black, flat dark earth, OD green, purple, aqua, pink, red lava and Ghillie green. The black version slips into the market at $49 while the colored varieties boast a MSRP of $59.
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With a large cache of vintage M1 Garands recently repatriated back home from overseas allies, the Civilian Marksmanship Program has announced that some seldom-seen variants are now available.
In a statement issued Thursday, the federally chartered non-profit organized to support marksmanship activities nationwide said they had numbers of M1s made by International Harvester Company in stock. Long unavailable except for occasional small batches turned over by the Army, IHC Garands in both Field and Service grades are listed for sale through mail order on the CMP’s website. The rifles are priced at $980 and $1,080, respectively.
Of the more than 5 million Garands produced for the military, just 337,623 were made by IHC and most of those were sent overseas to U.S. allies in the 1950s and 60s, making the number in circulation in the U.S. limited. A myriad of IHC guns with minor differences such as “Postage Stamp,” “Gap Letter,” and “Arrowhead” variants further drives up collectibility on these late-model rifles.
The guns now available likely come from a batch of 13,000 recently returned to the U.S. after use by the Turkish Air Force. The U.S. sent over 300,000 M1s as aid to NATO-allied Turkey between 1953 and 1972.
The Garand Collectors Association, whose volunteers helped catalog the shipment, said as many a quarter of the guns inspected were IHCs. While CMP officials explained that the guns returning from Turkey and a larger batch incoming from the Philippines are not outwardly marked as a rule, some collectors who have recently bought M1s through the organization have discovered paper dope cards written in Turkish affixed to rifles.
For those who want a more common (and less expensive) Springfield or H&R-made Garand, CMP has them in Field grades for $650 with free shipping with Service grades being $750. Sales go to support marksmanship endeavors by the group.
To order a rifle from CMP, you have to be a U.S. citizen, member of one of over 2,000 affiliated organizations or clubs, and show proof of marksmanship — the latter of which can be proved with a concealed carry license, hunter safety card or past law enforcement or military service.
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Garrow Firearms Development unveiled its latest innovation, a gas operated direct impingement upper for the AR-15 chambered in .17 HMR.
Designed to give AR shooters the ability to easily convert their AR-15 into a varmint hunting, target or training rifle, the GFD AR17HMR touts minimal moving parts and easy maintenance. The 18-inch barrel is constructed of stainless steel and boasts an integral ramp Garrow Firearms says ensures dependability. The barrel also features a threaded design for flash-hiders or muzzle breaks.
“The GFD AR17HMR is the World’s First gas-operated direct impingement, semi-automatic rimfire upper receiver for the AR-15 rifle,” Garrow Firearms said in a statement. “It is designed to prevent firing unless locked in place, eliminating the dangers of its blowback action predecessors.”
The complete upper touts a free-float handguard, hardened 4140 tool steel bolt and gas key, dual extractors and fixed ejector. The setup ships alongside two 10-round magazines, buffer system and operator’s manual.
Available in three models — forged, billet and billet with M-LOK/Picatinny Rail — the GFD AR17HMR offers a retail price starting at $599.
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The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday announced they will end a six-year legal battle with lawmakers and provide documents withheld in the Obama-era gun-walking scandal.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the conditional settlement between DOJ and the Republican-controlled House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to turn over additional documents long ago subpoenaed in connection to a failed sting operation that “let guns walk” from licensed dealers across the border to Mexico.
Dubbed Operation Fast and Furious by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the program allowed known gun traffickers and straw buyers in the Southwest to purchase as many as 2,000 guns between 2009 and 2011 with the intention of tracing them the end-users in the criminal underworld. In most cases, however, the guns went on simply arm those involved in Mexico’s ongoing narco wars leaving at least one federal law enforcement officer and as many as 200 Mexican nationals dead with weapons shipped during the operation.
The resulting Congressional investigation into the “gunwalking” operations, once they became known in 2011, ended the program. While the Obama Administration and DOJ’s own Inspector General’s office ultimately complied with parts of the probe, refusal by then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012 to turn over some documents resulted in Congress finding him in criminal contempt– the first time a sitting member of the Cabinet had been so charged.
Sessions was clear there is a different outlook in the current administration. “The Department of Justice under my watch is committed to transparency and the rule of law,” he said. “This settlement agreement is an important step to make sure that the public finally receives all the facts related to Operation Fast and Furious.”
Most of the guns that made it into the Mexican underground were never recovered and continue to appear at crime scenes in the country. In 2016, when elite military units of the Mexican Navy stormed the compound of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, at least one .50-caliber rifle recovered was believed tied to the program.
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