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Gun owners disagree about essential safety precautions in homes with kids

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:40

Americans who own guns and those who do not hold different views about which safety precautions prove essential in a home with both kids and firearms, according to a survey released this week.

The Pew Research Center said 66 percent of gun owners agreed their guns should be locked up compared with 90 percent of non-owners. Roughly 4 in 10 owners said guns should be kept unloaded with children in the house, compared to 7 out of 10 non-owners.

Only 26 percent of owners believed visitors with children should be advised of guns present in the home while 48 percent of non-owners felt the opposite way.

Pew questioned 3,930 adults in April and May about their views on guns. About one-third of those surveyed said they owned at least one gun.

While some issues both groups agreed near-universally on — such as parents should discuss gun safety with their children — others divided the owners from the non-owners sharply.

“The majority of Americans who don’t own guns feel it is also essential for gun owners with children living in the home to keep their guns unloaded and in a separate spot from the ammunition,” Pew said Thursday. “Gun owners disagree. Majorities say these measures are either important but not essential or not important, even in households with children.”

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Categories: Gun News

New Orleans buy back at church nets more than 100 guns

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:43

St. Roch Community Church in New Orleans. (Photo: Sojourn Fellowship)

A gun buy back event held in the St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans netted over 100 guns last weekend.

The Associated Press reported the “no questions asked” buy back was the second such event to take place in New Orleans.

Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey indicated 67 pistols, 19 shotguns and 26 rifles were turned in at St. Roch Community Church, with $100 doled out for handguns and $200 for “assault weapons.”

Only working guns were accepted and a there was a five-gun-per-person limit.

Ramsey said the event was meant to offer the people of New Orleans a way to anonymously dispose of unwanted firearms and would hopefully help to reduce gun violence in the city.

According to Times-Picayune data, there have already been 92 murders in New Orleans in 2017. There were a total of 175 murders in 2016.

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Categories: Gun News

Orlando felon gets 15 years for illegal firearms possession

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:31

An Orlando man was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to a Justice Department news release, 37-year-old Mario Donate Lockhart pleaded guilty to the charge in March 2017 and was sentenced as an armed career criminal due to his multiple prior felony convictions.

On Aug. 29, 2016, Lockhart held up a loaded semiautomatic firearm and threatened to kill someone. He then pointed the gun at someone else as Orlando police officers arrived at the scene.

The officers ordered Lockhart to drop the weapon, but the man instead fled the scene with gun in hand. Shortly after, he was arrested and the gun recovered.

The ATF and Orlando Police Department investigated the case. It was prosecuted as part of the Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, which is meant to reduce gun violence in communities around the country.

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Categories: Gun News

Building a your own short barreled, pistol grip shotgun on a budget (and legally)

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:23

My home assembled, $258 short barreled pistol grip shotgun. If the shooter doesn’t like the pistol grip, he can switch the gun back to a full stock. (Photo: David LaPell)

In the last couple of months, the shotgun world has been taken by surprise with Mossberg’s introduction of the 590 Shockwave and on its heels Remington’s response with the 870 Tac-14. Both have redefined what a personal defense shotgun can be. They are both in 12 gauge, both have 14 inch barrels and both feature the same Shockwave Raptor pistol grip.

Short barreled shotguns themselves are nothing new. Coach guns and cut downs have been around since the horse was the only way to get to town. And these guns managed to hold on into the 1980s and 90s with the rare offerings like the Remington 870  Witness Protection — a weapon that found favor with the US Marshals. The issue has always been legality and, while I won’t go into all the details here, it seems that someone at Mossberg did their research. The result is a weapon that many gun owners could not have bought without a tax and in some states not at all.

While this is all great news, after looking at a 590 Shockwave, I began to wonder if I could not come up with an alternative that would be more cost effective and avoid any potential legal headaches among the states and localities.

For those wanting to save money, Mossberg makes an aftermarket barrel for the Remington 870 that’s cheaper than that produced by Remington. (Photo: David LaPell)

The secret behind both the 590 Shockwave and the Remington 870 Tac-14 is that, even though they both have a 14-inch barrel, the Raptor grip, which is put on at the factory so the gun was never a true modified shotgun and instead a “firearm,” still has an overall length of 26 inches  (26 and a third according to both manufacturers). The problem is, if you don’t like the grip on either gun, too bad, you’re stuck with it. You cannot legally put on another pistol grip or a full length buttstock.

I decided against buying either of these two because of the tight budget that I am on. I didn’t want a gun I might not like shooting, only to end up turning around and reselling it because I couldn’t change it. So I decided to see if I could make a gun as handy and as useful as the 590 Shockwave or the Tac-14.

I began by searching the local gun shops and was not disappointed. I found a barely used Remington 870 Special Purpose in 12 gauge. It had a 23 inch fully rifled slug barrel with a black synthetic stock. The shop owner was having a hard time selling it, in part because of the barrel which limited it to big game hunters. I learned in the past that that those barrels can be resold —  someone always wants one — so I worked out a deal for the gun and got it for $290.

The Hogue Tamer grip soaks up a lot of recoil from stout loads like 00 buckshot. (Photo: David LaPell)

I set out buying parts but I knew I wasn’t going to buy a single thing until I had sold the barrel. After putting it online, it sold for $140. The original buttstock, with its Monte Carlo design, would be too tall for a simple bead, so it went along with the factory forearm, which would be too long for a side saddle. I got $25 for both. I found a new aftermarket barrel that is 18.5 inches long for $103. I also found a Hogue Tamer forearm and pistol grip set for $30. Once all the tallying was done and the parts swapping finished, I had a gun that I put a grand total of $258 into, about $150 less then either a new Tac-14 or 590 Shockwave.

Now you might be saying that standard pistol grip shotguns are uncomfortable, especially compared to the new Raptor grip. While that might be true to others, I find the Hogue Tamer grip is not that bad at all with recoil. I tested it by shooting some Remington 2.75 inch 00 buckshot and I found it was not painful or unpleasant. Now I might eventually get a Raptor grip later on but for now the Tamer grip is just fine. The Remington 870 with the 18.5 inch barrel and Hogue Tamer pistol grip ended up being 28.5 inches long, just a little more than two inches difference between it and the 590 Shockwave and Tac-14.

Shooting from the hip with a pistol grip shotgun is not as accurate as looking down the barrel and using the sight. (Photo: David LaPell)

Now the big issue with pistol grip shotguns is that few people understand how to really shoot them. Yes, they can be shot from the hip but it takes more practice to learn because you’re not actually aiming the gun and past a few yards it’s pretty much worthless. The proper way is to hold the gun out away from your face but still looking down the barrel. I took two shots at seven yards with my 870 after the modifications, one from the hip and the other aimed with some #4 buckshot. The hip shot was high and to the left, barely on target. The aimed shot was center mass and no, I didn’t lose any teeth. This is because the gun was held properly away from my face.

I imagine many people are asking why all the fuss over pistol grip shotguns in the first place. They do have their place: as a truck gun, for camping or home defense, but they do take practice and getting used to. I like them because a few years back I suffered an injury and I have a harder time using a full stock shotgun, so for me it’s a matter of practicality and convenience. If for some reason however I was ever going to put another buttstock on this gun, I could — something that’s not possible with the 590 Shockwave or the Tac-14.

The Remington 870 with a 18.5 inch barrel and Hogue Tamer is only 28.5 inches long, only a couple inches more than a 590 Shockwave or Tac-14. (Photo: David LaPell)

For those who don’t like buying used guns, I would suggest that since this is something you are not likely to shoot all day long at a range like you would a skeet gun, something like a Maverick 88 would suffice. Even after buying the pistol grip, I doubt you would be out more than $250 and again, you could put a buttstock back on if you so desired.

The Mossberg 590 Shockwave and the Remington 870 Tac-14 are both great ideas, but they are not the last word on the subject of short barreled shotguns. You can make your own legally with more options and for less money. No matter what choice you make, get out to the range and practice and learn how to shoot the gun. Find out its strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be surprised to find that these little pistol grip shotguns have more uses than you can shake a boomstick at.

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Categories: Gun News

Rhode Island House advances bill to seize guns from domestic violence offenders

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:02

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would allow authorities to take guns away from domestic violence offenders and people under domestic restraining orders.

The Associated Press reported the measure — H5110, also called the Protect Rhode Island Families Act — passed on a 13-5 vote and will now head to the full House for consideration.

Most Democrats voted for the bill, while most Republicans voted against it. The exception was Democratic Rep. Cale Keable, the committee’s chairman, who voted against the proposal.

The bill would essentially require individuals subject to domestic restraining orders and those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses to surrender their firearms.

Under current state law, guns can be taken away from those convicted of felony assault, but someone would have to be convicted of at least three domestic assaults before being charged with a felony.

The measure has the full support of domestic violence prevention advocates and also has a key ally in Democratic House Speaker Micholas Mattiello, who has characterized the proposal not as a gun control bill but as one aimed to protect domestic violence victims.

“I support the Second Amendment,” Mattiello said Tuesday. “That’s the framework I come from. So these are not intended to be anti-gun bills. These are domestic violence protection bills.”

The National Rifle Association has come out strongly against the legislation, with its Institute for Legislation Action calling it “nothing more than the centerpiece of a national gun control agenda being bankrolled by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.”

Similar legislation has also been introduced in the Rhode Island Senate.

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Categories: Gun News

Colorado teachers receiving active shooter training

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:28

Some Colorado teachers are receiving active shooter training. (Photo: 9 News)

Some Colorado teachers have headed to the gun range instead of summer vacation in order to receive active shooter training in Weld County.

Colorado 9 News reported the group Coloradans for Civil Liberties paid for about 17 school staff members to receive FASTER Training, which stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.

“In a nutshell, it is training for teachers and other school staff who are armed first responders in their schools,” said Laura Carno, founder of the civil liberties group.

The program, first started in Ohio, offered scholarships to teachers and other school staff members in Colorado, many of whom are from rural districts.

“By and large rural school districts, who have made the decision that law enforcement is 30-45 minutes away,” Carno explained. “They are their own first responders.”

Ronnie Wilson, who hopes to start a K-12 charter school, was one of the first to fire some rounds at the training.

“I’m looking for every possible venue and avenue to ensure safety of students,” Wilson said.

Under current Colorado law, school staff members with permits can carry concealed guns in school so long as they have been designated as a security officer.

Carno noted Wilson was the only trainee willing to give his name, as knowing who is armed in a particular school might give an attacker a strategic advantage. She said many involved in the training are already carrying concealed firearms in their schools.

Some opponents of the program, like Tom Mauser of Colorado Ceasefire, argued the staff members won’t be receiving the same level of training as armed security guards.

Mauser, who lost his son in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, said staff members carrying guns may cause more confusion for law enforcement arriving at an active shooter scene.

Those sentiments were echoed by Ken Toltz, the founder and co-chair of Safe Campus Colorado.

“The dangers of adding guns to a school environment are dramatically increased by allowing loaded lethal weapons into a school environment on a daily basis – as the promoters of FASTER envision,” Toltz said in statement provided to 9 News.

Toltz also said the program was started by the Ohio gun lobby and characterized it as an attempt to lay the foundation for another push to loosen gun laws in Colorado.

Carno disagreed, saying they were just trying to provide safety training.

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Categories: Gun News

Iowa man gets 12 years for drug distribution connected to junkies’ 17 armed robberies

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:13

Luke Martin (top) was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison on drug charges connected to 17 robberies committed by four of his co-defendants, Alexander Hamilton, Sarah Coe, Shelly Avery, and Chris Avery. (Photo: Des Moines Police Department)

A 57-year-old man from Des Moines, Iowa, was sentenced to serve 151 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for drug distribution charges that authorities say are related to a string of armed robberies.

Luke Martin, Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute hydromorphone (Dilaudid) in January. Co-defendants Alexander Hamilton, Sarah Coe, Shelly Avery, and Chris Avery – all of whom face various drug and robbery charges – are awaiting their sentences.

According to court documents, Martin distributed Dilaudid to Hamilton, who in turn supplied it to Coe, as well as Shelly Avery and Chris Avery, who are brother and sister. Authorities say the distribution of the drug led to at least 17 robberies in the Des Moines area over an 8-month period, as the defendants committed the crimes in order to obtain cash to purchase additional drugs.

The majority of the robberies were committed at various gas stations as employees were held at gunpoint. Coe and Shelly Avery are accused of being the lookout and getaway driver.

The five defendants were arrested and charged in November 2016. Following the arrests, Heather Shannon, who is the mother of Shelly and Chris Avery, called it “an embarrassment.”

“I raised my children not to be like that, and they never were until they got on the drugs,” Shannon told reporters, noting that both of her children are heroin addicts and she has tried – without success – for years to get them help.

But Shannon said her case is not unique.

“It’s not just my kids,” she said. “It’s all these kids out here that are on this drug.”

Shannon said Christopher was once a star wrestler and Shelly a star softball player in high school, but now both are faced with going to federal prison.

“These are kids that have everything going for them in their life, and then just got hooked on that one drug and it takes their life,” Shannon said.

The Department of Health and Human Services cites opioid abuse as a “serious public health issue,” claiming the lives of over 33,000 people in 2015 alone, roughly the same number who die by gunfire. That same year, an estimated 828,000 people used heroin, 135,000 for the first time.

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Categories: Gun News

Caldwell USA introduces Pic Rail XLA Fixed Bipods

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:20

The Pic Rail XLA Bipods offer two sizes so shooters can dial in their preferred height. (Photo: Caldwell USA)

Caldwell USA launches Pic Rail XLA Fixed Bipods, touting a stable shooting platform that attaches easily to a range of pic rail forends.

The XLA features an integrated 1.5-inch long pic rail clamp fastens directly to a gun’s pic or quad rail. Promoting a collapsible design, the bipods stay affixed to a firearm for easy transport to and from the range or field.

The bipods were created with quick target acquisition in mind, boasting an adjustable cam lever lock for quick deployment as well as adjustable leg height to dial in the perfect position.

The XLA is available in two models — a 6-9-inch version and a 9-13-inch. The lightweight aluminum design on both variants allow for quick transport while soft rubber feet provide enhanced stability while shooting. The legs are spring loaded and feature lock out knobs.

Caldwell’s Pic Rail XLA Fixed Bipods are available online and retail for just under $50.

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Categories: Gun News

Chinese food delivery driver turns the tables on trio of would-be robbers

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:00

The driver first threw the food at the suspects before retrieving his handgun. (Photo: News 4 Jax)

An attempted robbery in Jacksonville on Tuesday evening was foiled by the intended target when he pulled a gun on his assailants.

According to a press release from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, one of the suspects was shot, a second held at gunpoint, while the third suspect remains at large. The victim, however, was uninjured.

Police say the suspects placed an order with Hot Wok Chinese around 5:30 p.m. to be delivered to an address that was later determined to be an abandoned house.

When the driver, who has not been publicly identified, arrived at the house, he pulled into the driveway, walked up to the front door and knocked. The driver was greeted by two men, one of whom was armed with a gun with a laser trained on the victim’s face. The victim described the gun as a “black semi-automatic pistol.”

The suspects motioned the driver to enter the house as they said something to the effect of, “Come inside, it’s over, come inside.” The driver then turned around to leave, but was met by a third man who was also armed with a gun. The victim described the third suspect as having something, like a shirt, wrapped around his face, as to hide his identity.

Unbeknown to the suspects, the delivery driver was also armed. The delivery driver threw the bag of food at the third suspect, backed away from the door, quickly drew his Glock, and fired four to five shots at the suspects. The driver continued to back up until he crossed the street, then yelled out for neighbors to call the police.

When officers arrived, the driver was still holding one of the suspects at gunpoint, but the remaining two had fled from the scene. A short time later, police received a call from a man claiming he had been shot at a different location. Authorities soon determined that man was a suspect in the Chinese food robbery.

The two suspects were arrested and the third remains at large. None of their names have been released, but they are said to be in their early 20s.

Local reports indicate the delivery driver was carrying less than $200 at the time of the attempted robbery.

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Categories: Gun News

Nosler offers run of limited edition Model 48 Independence Day rifles

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 08:40

The Model 48 Independence Rifle is offered in a limited run. (Photo: Nosler)

In celebration of America’s upcoming birthday, Nosler launches a small run of 25 limited edition, Model 48 Independence Day rifles. The M48 Independence Day variant boasts some distinct and patriotic features for gun owners in search of something special for their rifle collection.

Chambered in the company’s all new 22 Nosler cartridge, the rifle touts a Kryptek Highlander dipped synthetic stock as well as a threaded muzzle perfect for mounting a brake or suppressor. With a laser engraved floorplate, the motto “ We the People” rests above an American flag, bringing some American pride to the setup.

The M48 action is constructed to offer a rigid platform for accuracy and durability. The bolt rides on precisely machined action rails while the front of the receiver is squared to true up with the match grade 24-inch stainless steel barrel. The gun serves up a Timney trigger and two-position Rocker Safety. The special run of M48 Independence Day Rifles are priced at $1,995.

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Categories: Gun News

Senator enlists the help of NRA to teach Congress how to shoot

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 08:20

U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., asked the NRA to help train lawmakers and staffers to survive an active shooter and safely use firearms. (Photo: Alabama Today)

U.S. Sen. Luther Strange reached out to the National Rifle Association to obtain firearms training for lawmakers on Capitol Hill in the aftermath of an attack on House Republicans.

Strange penned a letter to NRA Executive Director Chris Cox following last week’s shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, that left GOP House Whip Steve Scalise critically wounded alongside a Capitol Police officer, a staffer and a lobbyist. Lawmakers credited the fast response from armed agents assigned to Scalise as limiting the scope of the shooting.

“As an NRA member and your good friend, I am writing to ask the NRA, as the largest provider of firearms instruction and safety training in the nation, to consider offering a training program to members of Congress, their staff and other personnel that work on Capitol Hill, regardless of political affiliation, so that they have the skills necessary to survive an active-shooter situation and to safely handle a firearm,” said Strange, as reported by the Yellowhammer News. “As was proven this week, proper training can lead to the attacker being neutralized and lives being saved.”

Cox replied that the organization would be willing to provide such training.

The Alabama Republican who recently served that state as Attorney General was recently appointed by now-resigned Gov. Robert Bentley to replace the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions left to become a Trump Administration cabinet member. In his tenure as the top cop in the Heart of Dixie, Strange was repeatedly hailed by the NRA for his actions against gun free zones. Since entering Congress, he is one of only 16 senators supporting the Hearing Protection Act, one of the crown jewels of proposed gun rights legislation.

So far this month at least three bills — HR.2909, HR.2940, and HR.2945 — have been introduced to either make Washington, D.C. an enclave of national concealed carry permit recognition or to make it legal for members of the House and Senate to carry guns.

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Categories: Gun News

Update: NRA changes Carry Guard policy on 1911s, revolvers

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 08:15

Stock image of an NRA Carry Guard instructor instructing NRA Carry Guard students. (Photo: NRA Carry Guard)

The NRA revised guidelines for training courses provided by Carry Guard, its self-defense insurance policy, to include 1911 pistols and revolvers.

“In response to clear feedback surrounding the NRA Carry Guard Level I course announcement, we have modified the required firearm platforms as well as our site language to clearly articulate how firearms will be used in the class,” said Jason Brown, NRA media relations manager, in an email to Guns.com.

“Bottom line: our decision to not include 1911s and revolvers as primary firearms in our initial Level I course was a mistake, and we appreciate the feedback we have received from the firearms community,” he added.

The program will now permit users to bring “all safe, reliable handguns with a capacity of six rounds or more,” Brown said. The course descriptions on the Carry Guard website have also been updated with similar language.

“In response to the clear and overwhelming demand for these firearms to be used throughout the entire course, our instructors have decided to accommodate all safe, reliable handguns with a capacity of 6 rounds or more,” Brown said. “Firearms with less than 6 rounds of capacity will still be allowed as secondary platforms.”

Brown said the Level 1 course — the beginner’s course — will begin in July. Course prices are listed as $850 per student.

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Categories: Gun News

Comp-Tac adds dark tan to color offerings on Flatline holster series

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 08:00

The Flatline holster offers a kydex design now in dark tan. (Photo: Comp-Tac Victory)

Gear maker Comp-Tac Victory announced the arrival of a brand new color to the company’s Flatline holster series, introducing dark tan to the lineup for 2017.

Dark tan joins black, red, blue and forest green as a color option for the low-friction, pancake-style Kydex holster.

The Flatline boasts the ability to be worn either inside or outside the waist band and comes standard with three sets of tough, nylon belt clips built to accommodate belts up to 1.5-inches wide. Additional clips measuring 1.75-inches can be ordered at an added cost.

Inside the waistband concealers slide the clips over the belt and situate the holster inside the pant line. Outside the waistband wearers, thread the belt through the clip loops for a holster that lies against the pant. Offset loops allows users to adjust the holster as much as one-half inch away from the body.

The Flatline offers ride depth adjustability for drawing and wear height fit as well as tilt angle adjustment from near straight up to 15 degrees forward. The rig also benefits from retention adjustment that provides the ability to set the firmness of firearm retention in the holster.

Comp-Tac says that, as with all holsters, an actual pistol is used in manufacturing to ensure proper and perfect fit of gun to holster.

The Flatline is available through the company’s site and is priced at $69.99.

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Categories: Gun News

Paratrooper who lost 4 limbs opens camp for Vets (VIDEO)

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 07:48

Travis Mills, who became a quadriplegic in Afghanistan, now classifies himself as a “recalibrated warrior” and is fighting a battle to help military families.

Mills, a retired staff sergeant from the 82nd Airborne Division, runs the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to benefit and assist wounded and injured veterans and their families. Mills says it is important to connect to combat injured vets on a relatable level to help instill confidence in them.

“For me personally, I don’t see a lot of amputees whatsoever, especially not quadruple amputees,” says Mills, overlayed in the above video from the AP showing him walking, driving, joking and kayaking. “But I am very confident in myself and my abilities. Where, we bring people in here and we give them a network to reach out to. We give them other families that have the same situation that they go through every day and let them know that here are some tricks or adaptive sports or things you can do as a family to make you feel you are still a part of everything. That you can still keep going.”

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Categories: Gun News

Intruder gets beat-down after breaking into Tennessee home (VIDEO)

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 07:48

WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

A 19-year-old and his friends took on an armed intruder who broke into a Chattanooga apartment Sunday night, leaving the suspect looking like he recently engaged in a boxing match.

Shane Feeney, 19, who was shot in the leg by the intruder during the tussle, said the incident only lasted about 30 minutes but it seemed like hours.

Feeney was hanging out with some friends when he thought he heard someone outside.

“It sounded like he was messing with a gun,” said Feeney, “So I came back and I was like ‘I don’t know if he is, but it sounds like he’s messing with a gun. I’m going to call the cops.’”

As Feeney called the police, his friends moved to a back room, but when one of them jumped out of a window to go for help, that friend came face to face with the suspect, who was later identified as Calvin Carter III.

Carter held Feeney’s friend at gunpoint and went back to the front door, so Feeney, who was still on the phone with the police, let him in. But Carter heard Feeney on the phone and demanded he hand it over, which he did.

“Whenever he turned around, that’s when I grabbed him,” Feeney said, “And his forearms were still loose so he grabbed the gun out of his waist band and shot me in the leg.”

The tussle continued and that’s when Feeney’s friends jumped in.

“He kept wrestling with me,” said Tucker Williams, who was there that night with Feeney. ”I was like ‘you have one more chance. Please stop.’ He wouldn’t stop and that’s when I punched him in the eye twice.”

Altogether, five people held Carter down as they waited for police to arrive. Carter now faces numerous charges, including first degree attempted murder and aggravated burglary.

[ WRCB-TV ]

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Categories: Gun News

Former Milwaukee officer found not guilty in shooting death of Sylville Smith

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 07:42

Dominique Heaggan-Brown, right, was acquitted of first degree reckless homicide for the shooting death of Sylville Smith, left. (Photo: Facebook)

A jury on Wednesday found former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide for the killing of Sylville Smith last summer.

Members of Smith’s family urged people not to get violent after the ruling, according to the Associated Press. Milwaukee erupted into two days of rioting last summer following the shooting of Smith.

Last week, jurors saw body camera footage that showed the incident. In a 15-second clip, Heaggan-Brown stops his police car, gets out, draws his weapon and chases Smith, who falls in front of a chain-link fence and tosses a gun. That’s when Heaggan-Brown shot Smith in the arm, and then again in the chest about two seconds later as he was on the ground.

The case hinged on whether Smith was a threat to the officer as he was on his back and away from the gun. Prosecutors argued that Smith was defenseless, and Heaggan-Brown fired “in point-blank range.” But defense attorneys said the officer was just following his training.

“A gunfight doesn’t end until the threat is stopped,” said defense attorney Jonathan Smith.

The weapon Smith tossed was a Glock .40-caliber Model 22. It had an extended magazine with 23 rounds. Heaggan-Brown has said he thought Smith might have had another gun in his waistband.

“Stop reaching,” Heaggan-Brown could be heard yelling at Smith in the body camera video, which had the audio kick on 30 seconds after the shooting. The officer moved his hand away from Smith’s waist, according to court documents.

The jury spent just two days deliberating. Nine women and three men sat on the jury, and four of them were African Americans.

“There is not joy in a case like this,” said Steven Kohn, one of Heaggan-Brown’s attorneys, after the verdict. “I think we must be mindful that a young man lost his life.”

Outside the courthouse Wednesday, Smith’s father, Patrick, said the verdict was “disrespectful.”

“Don’t give them a reason to take your life,” said Smith’s sister Sherelle. “Do something different in the community, try as hard as you can to be peaceful.”

The night after the shooting last August, as the city rioted, Heaggan-Brown was drinking with a man he met at a bar. They watched television coverage of the riots, and Heaggan-Brown told the man he could do anything he wanted without repercussions. He allegedly sexually assaulted the man that night. He’s been in jail since October for charges related to that incident, as well as allegations he hired prostitutes and recorded nudity illegally. The police department fired him on Oct. 31.

Heaggan-Brown was facing 60 years in prison. His acquittal comes just days after Officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty of all charges for the shooting death of Philando Castile in Minnesota.

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Categories: Gun News

Caracal USA to release Enhanced F Limited Edition pistol beginning July 4

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 07:33

The Enhanced F – Limited Edition will be available to a small group of dealers in early July. (Photo: Caracal USA)

Caracal USA partnered with GunsAmerica to release the Enhanced F — Limited Edition pistol to a select group of dealers starting July 4.

The release of the Limited Edition pistol marks the first product release from Caracal USA and the company says the new gun aims to commemorate the gun maker’s commitment to supporting the U.S. market.

“We are very excited to get the Enhanced F into the market and into the hands of responsible shooters and enthusiasts who have been waiting for this release,” said Caracal USA Director of Marketing Jae Gillentine in a press release.

The Enhanced F – Limited Edition boasts a striker-fired, polymer frame design chambered in 9mm. The pistol is comprised of a Caracal International frame paired with a Caracal USA slide and is assembled in the U.S. Equipped with a crisp, short double-action trigger, the Enhanced F ships with an 18-round magazine.

The gun touts either 3 dot sights or the “Quick Sight System” which places the front and rear sights on a single focal plane. This allows shooters to acquire a flash sight picture on a target quickly.

The gun comes with a Caracal branded hard case, two magazines, Otis cleaning kit, cable lock and manual.

Priced at $599, the Enhanced F – Limited Edition pistol is backed by a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner.

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Categories: Gun News

Testing out the ‘Finnish Boombeast’ Lahti anti-tank rifle (VIDEO)

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 07:32

A would-be purchaser of a military surplus Finnish L39 anti-tank gun asked the gun store staff if the big rifle on skis actually worked. They obliged him.

Patrick and Nicole with the Kentucky Gun Company in Louisville dutifully took their Lahti out of the shop and checked it in live fire.

Aimo Lahti, the Thomas Edison of Finnish gun engineers, designed his 109-pound semi-automatic VKT-made rifle around the largest 20mm shell the in existence in 1939. Using the Swiss 20x138mmB Solothurn Long cartridge, the gun was readily capable of piercing 20mm of armor at 100-meters and 16mm out to 500 meters with enough pop to put most of the Soviet tanks of the era on the menu.

Patrick says they get them in for sale from time to time, ranging from $7-$12K depending on condition, and they are listed as destructive devices under the NFA.

Laugh now, but if early WWII Soviet tanks come by your house, you’ll wish you had one.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun Review: Russian M1895 Nagant revolver in 7.62x38R (VIDEO)

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:38

Russian firearms are a lot of things: crude, quirky, utilitarian, behind the times, perhaps even a good buy. The Mosin-Nagant rifle and the later AK-47 won’t win any beauty contests. Neither would the Makarov pistol of Bond film fame, being little more than a crude Walther PPK knock-off. Another curious pistol in Russia’s 20th century arsenal is the m1895 Nagant revolver — a handgun that was innovative, yet obsolete on the same coin. A handgun so interesting I just had to buy it not once, but twice.

A touch of history

Despite its primitive look, the 1895 Nagant has a nearly unrivaled service history. That story started in the early 1890s when autocratic Russia was seeking a new handgun to replace its 44 caliber Smith & Wesson break-top revolvers. Emile and Leon Nagant, who were known to the Czar for their work on the magazine system on their recently adopted M91 Mosin-Nagant rifle, had a solution in mind.

My Nagant was made in 1944 at the Izhevsk arsenal during World War II. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

Nagant revolvers had already been adopted by a number of countries, but this new Russian revolver featured a few upgrades that impressed the Czar. In particular the use of a gas-seal cartridge. Originally, this new revolver, picked up in 1895, was produced in two models: a double action officer’s model and a single action model for the lower ranks.

The Nagant revolver would be Russia’s primary sidearm through World War I and was arguably the gun used to execute the Czar himself when the Russian revolution reached its fever pitch as the Bolsheviks strengthened their grip on the country. In true Communist egalitarianism, the two Russian arsenals, Ishvesk and Tula, produced only the double action model from 1918 onward.

The end of the brass case is longer than the cylinder, allowing it to project into the barrel itself, creating a gas seal when fired. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

Soviet Russia eventually went with a new self-loader, the famous Tokarev pistol in 1933. However, the Nagant handgun was still a prime weapon throughout Russia’s titanic struggle against Nazi Germany during World War II. Production did not end on the Nagant revolver until the war had ended in 1945 and both the Tokarev and Nagant were phased out with the introduction of the Makarov pistol in 1950.

Still the Nagant’s legacy continued. It was exported to various Soviet republics as well as to the Chinese and Vietnamese Communists as war aid. Furthermore, the gun would see service as a Russian police arm and terrorist cache hold over into this century.

Features

With such a long history of use, it is surprising just how primitive the 1895 Nagant really is. All in the same, the Nagant embodies late 19th century attitudes toward service pistols in general.

The Nagant is a solid frame revolver that is not all that dissimilar looking from its contemporaries like the Austrian Rast & Gasser or the French 1892 Ordnance revolver, except cruder.

The camming block that pushes the cylinder forward for firing. This is in part to blame for the heavy trigger pull of the gun in double action mode. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

You are apt to find more milling marks on an average Nagant and perhaps even a sharp corner than on other era revolvers. The few screws used in the gun’s manufacture are sitting proud as well. The sights are typical for military handguns of the time with a rudimentary milled notch on the top strap of the frame and a front blade sight that can be adjusted in its dovetail. The gun isn’t necessarily a boat anchor, weighing in at just under two pounds and sporting a handy, tapered 4.5 inch barrel.

Like other military revolvers of its time, it chambered a relatively new, small-bore cartridge, the 7.62x38R or 7.62 Nagant round. Unlike most ammunition, however the bullet is seated completely in the case.

The Nagant loads and unloads through a loading gate on the side of the pistol. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

The Nagant loads and unloads via a loading gate on the right side of the fluted cylinder and uses an ejector rod housed under the barrel to punch out the empty cases. The gun holds seven shots and has a transfer-bar like safety as well as a rebounding hammer to prevent the gun from discharging if dropped.

Unless you have a rare single-action model, the Nagant can be fired by either pulling the trigger all the way through or cocking the hammer spur then pressing the trigger. The act of pulling the trigger or cocking the hammer manually is tougher than on most revolvers because of its gas seal design.

The sights are typical for the time, but not useless. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

A steel block pushes the cylinder forward when the hammer comes back, forcing the recessed chamber over the forcing cone. This, combined with the cartridge that sits higher than the chamber mouth, eliminates the cylinder gap. We know now that the Nagant is one of the few revolvers that can be shot with a suppressor to deaden the sound. Naturally this was not the thought process of the time as suppressors were in their infancy when the m1895 was developed.

A note on ammunition

The biggest concern with owning a Nagant revolver is finding ammunition. Military surplus ammunition is one, dwindling option. Readily available 32 S&W Long cartridges may be used in the Nagant, but the gun is not intended to use such ammunition. Factory offerings for 7.62mm Nagant are restricted to mostly Fiocchi and Privi Partizan brands. I assembled a bit of everything when I finally got my hands on a 1944 war-time produced 1895 Nagant and headed to the range for a blast from the past.

The test ammunition. All shot well, though power goes handily to the surplus ammunition (right). (Photo: Terril Herbert)

On the range

The Nagant revolver has a Victorian-esque mystique to it, but the gun will still shoot. Loading the pistol is accomplished by opening the loading gate on the right side and dropping in a cartridge. Manually rotate the cylinder and repeat until the cylinder is full. You get seven shots instead of the usual six. Close the gate and get to firing.

The hammer spur, though well checkered and well in the open, takes a little effort to cock considering all of what is going on mechanically in comparison to a usual revolver. The trigger pull with the hammer cocked in single-action is quite crisp with no movement except for the trigger breaking — but it takes a good ten pounds to break that trigger. You will face about the same effort to fire a modern revolver in double action.

The smaller case of the 32 S&W Long means the round is not long enough to use the gas seal feature. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

As you may have guessed, the Nagant’s double action trigger pull is even worse. It exceeded my Lyman scale and felt twice as heavy as the single action pull. It does, however have a definitive click when the firing block pushes the cylinder forward and the trigger gets easier toward the end. The effort it takes to both cock the hammer, rotate the cylinder, push that block forward to advance the cylinder forward against the barrel, then break the trigger is, in one word, horrendous. Some shooters can’t even fire the pistol in double action.

The ammunition I used for my shooting sessions included: Fiocchi 98 grain FMJ 7.62 Nagant, Aguila 32 S&W Long 98 grain LRN, and Russian 7.62 Nagant surplus 108 grain FMJ ammunition.

The Nagant revolver, despite its heavy trigger pull is no slouch. With surplus ammo, I managed a 2.9-inch single action group, fired with one paw. More than good enough for target work or getting a small critter for the pot. The five inch double action group isn’t too bad either. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

All ammunition was 100 percent in reliability with no dud ammunition or hang fires, especially a concern with the military surplus ammunition which was made back in the 1970s.  Recoil was non-existent with the Fiocchi and Aguila loads with a bit more muzzle flip using the surplus rounds, but nothing that could be felt in the hand.

Speaking of “in the hand,” the grip has a bag-type European grip frame with plastic grips and a lanyard loop on the bottom. It fits fully in the hand, but is not overly big. It is more comfortable than it looks, which is the same for pointing and shooting the Nagant in general, despite the hard trigger pull. Even with a bit of shaking trying to pull the trigger in double action, I can empty the gun in a hurry. However I spent most of my range time just cocking and shooting. When that devilish looking needle firing pin goes home, you know that round will be downrange.

I was a bit hesitant to group the pistol as my old Nagant revolver, made in pre-war conditions, was worthlessly inaccurate.  Regardless, I decided to shoot both double and single action at seven yard. I managed to turn in a 2.9-inch group with the military fodder firing single action and just five inches in double action. The Fiocchi and Aguila ammunition did better in double action, but the single action groups widened just so slightly to three and 3.2 inches respectively. At 25 yards, it seems the Fiocchi did best with a single action group of six inches. All shooting was done, one handed.

Unloading — the most dreaded part of a Nagant owner’s life — goes as follows: Unscrew the ejector rod from under the barrel and pull it out then twist the ejector assembly to the right. Open the loading gate and punch out the empty cartridges as you rotate the cylinder. Though it is possible to push the case mouths of the Fiocchi cases and let them fall into hand, it wasn’t reliable doing so with the military ammo, whose cases got quite stuck at times. In fact, sometimes the military cases got so stuck it took a sharp smack against a solid object for the ejector rod to punch out a case.

Split cases are an uncomfortable reality when using 32 caliber revolver cartridges in the Nagant. Eye protection is a must. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

The 32 S&W Long, which has a smaller case than the Nagant round and is not long enough to use the gas seal feature, comes out violently bulged with some cases split open. Know the potential risks of brass fragments before using 32s in your Nagant.

While on the range, I decided to see how fast the Nagant could put lead downrange, partially out of routine and partially out of settling the myth that the 7.62 Nagant is a wimp round. So, I cranked out the Caldwell Chronograph, took a seat and put some bullets into the berm.

Ballistics

Russian 108 grain FMJ                                  1006 fps

Fiocchi 98 grain FMJ                                      628 fps

Aguila 32 S&W Long 98 grain LRN              576 fps

Note: Chronograph is 10 feet from the muzzle. FMJ= full metal jacket. LRN= lead round nose

After a bit of number crunching, the Russian surplus generated about 243 foot pounds of muzzle energy, outshining the 380 ACP and rising to par with standard pressure 38 Special energies. Fairly eye opening, in my view.

Parting shots

If there was ever a misunderstood military pistol, the 1895 Nagant is it.  With inexpensive factory loads and some inexperience behind that heavy trigger, it’s easy to see why these revolvers are known for being powerless and only good for executing dissidents. Taken together with the slow loading and unloading process, one would think it would be suicidal to take a Nagant in combat.

Once I got to learn some about attitudes of the times and plenty of trigger time as well, things became clear.

The M1895 Nagant revolver can be found on the used market in the $400-$600 range. (Photo: Terril Herbert)

There were more powerful cartridges out in 1895 as were there swing-out cylinder handguns. But the Russians in adopting the Nagant just might have had the best revolver of its class. The gas-sealed 7.62×38 boasts more power than the French 8mm Ordinance or the Austrian 8mm Gasser. Additionally, swing out cylinders were not fully accepted at the time because of field reports of fouling getting under the ejector star.

The Russians went with what worked best. The spring-less ejector rod housed under the barrel was typical of the time as was the heavy trigger pull. It was common practice until “combat” revolver training of the 60s for revolvers to only be fired in double action in a close-range emergency.

The pistol in the early 20th century was primarily meant for officers and cavalry. The officer’s main job was to command, not to fight. The cavalryman’s main arm was the sword or the lance and the pistol was secondary. In other words, the features of the 1895 that we scoff at today were considered adequate for the job.

Despite my exaggeration of the loading and unloading process, the Nagant is still a solid performer, giving useful accuracy while boasting recoil that won’t bother a new shooter. The gun is straightforward to operate and reliability is like—well—a Russian revolver. Unless you handload the 7.62x38mm round, ammunition can be somewhat pricy or result in split cases. Any effort, in my opinion, to shoot the Nagant is worth it whether you appreciate history or want to turn that relic into something a little more useful.

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Categories: Gun News

FBI: Congressional baseball shooter acted alone, not terrorism

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:07

Timothy Slater, a FBI special agent-in-charge for the Washington office, briefing the media Wednesday about the investigation into the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo: Associated Press)

The FBI said Wednesday the gunman responsible for the shooting at a Republican baseball practice that injured a Congressman and three others acted alone and suggest the attack was not terror but rather a spontaneous act of violence.

The FBI offered little insight into the gunman’s motive other than to say 66-year-old James Thomas Hodgkinson “was struggling with a lot of aspects of his life,” said Timothy Slater, an FBI special agent-in-charge at the Washington field office, during a press conference.

Slater said Hodgkinson displayed “just a pattern of life that things weren’t going well” such as unemployment, diminishing savings, and a struggling marriage. But, according to Slater’s statement, it does not appear Hodgkinson had been planning his attack.

“I think he — by his posts on social media — he spoke a lot about anti-Republican rhetoric. I can’t speak to exactly what he was thinking at the moment or his motive, but I think as we continue to look at his communications and look at his online footprint, I think we’ll have a better indication of maybe what his thoughts were closer to why he did (opened fire),” Slater said.

The FBI clarified its investigating the shooting as an assault on a member of Congress and an assault of a federal officer. The Bureau also released a statement detailing the timeline from when Hodgkinson left Belleville, Illinois, for Washington, DC, in March, between then and the shooting, and insight into his personal history.

According to the FBI statement, Hodgkinson had been living in his car while in the Washington area and frequented the YMCA in Alexandria, Virginia, which is the same location of the Congressional baseball practice. He had also rented a storage facility beginning in April 16 where he stored a laptop computer, more than 200 rounds of ammo, a receipt from November for an SKS rifle and accessories. Up until the shooting, he visited the storage space 43 times.

Through an analysis of witness testimony and Hodgkinson’s electronic devices, investigators learned Hodgkinson had been visiting tourist sites in Washington like the National Mall and various monuments. At some point, he visited Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office as a tourist. Then, on April 15, he took pictures of the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, which is where the practice was held, but investigators do not think the photographs represent surveillance of intended targets.

On June 12, Hodgkinson sent a message to a family member in Illinois saying he would be returning home. The night before the shooting, Hodgkinson visited locations with free WiFi to search on his computer directions from Alexandria to his home in Belleville and the “2017 Republican Convention.” He also checked a financial account, Facebook and recent headlines.

The morning of the shooting, on June 14, Hodgkinson saw the baseball practice, asked a bystander, “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” to which the bystander said it was a Republican event. Hodgkinson then remained at the baseball field.

Some time later, Hodgkinson exited his car, parked in the YMCA parking lot, with an SKS rifle and a holstered 9mm handgun. He approached the baseball field and opened fire toward an area where members of Congress and staffers were standing. Two Capitol Police special agents engaged him and Alexandria police responded to the scene. Hodgkinson was down by 7:14 am.

The victims included the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisana, who was shot in the hip and went to the hospital in critical condition; a Congressional aide; a Tyson food lobbyist; and a U.S. Capitol Police officer assigned to protect Scalise.

Slater said Hodgkinson fired 60 shots — 50 from his SKS — from the third base side of the field, but the FBI does not know if he had a specific target. Hodgkinson never said anything during the shooting or after, before he died. He added Hodgkinson had a list containing the names of six lawmakers, but investigators have not found any evidence that it was a hit list of any sorts. However, the FBI declined to release those names at this time.

“If you look at his pattern of life and what he was doing on his laptop and social media accounts, there’s no indication that that was a list of targets or there was any threats associated with the names on the list,” Slater said, adding investigators did not find evidence that Hodgkinson searched for details about the practice.

Tracing his online activity, “Hodgkinson made numerous posts on all of his social media accounts espousing anti-Republican views, although all the posts reviewed thus far appear to be First Amendment-protected speech,” the FBI statement says.

According to the statement, Hodgkinson bought his SKS rifle in November, after the election, from an licensed dealer in Illinois. He modified the rifle with a folding stock and to accept detachable magazines. He bought his pistol in 2003.

Before traveling to Washington, local law enforcement in his hometown addressed noise complaints because he had been practicing shooting on his property, but he had not violated any local laws. Also, his criminal record included a charge of domestic battery in 2006.

The FBI said its investigation as well as investigations by local authorities into the shooting are ongoing.

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