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Feds blast Chicago’s consent decree: ‘Criminals, not cops’ make city dangerous

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 05:00

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, center, alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan at a news conference Sept. 13, 2018, announcing they had finalized a consent decree intended to bring sweeping change to the Chicago Police Department. (Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

The Department of Justice blasted Chicago officials Friday in a last-minute brief filed against the city’s pending court order implementing third-party police oversight after decades of alleged racial bias.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday the “constitutional duty” of public safety “rests primarily” with local law enforcement — whom he describes as a collection of “our finest citizens” whose authority shouldn’t be usurped on account of a few bad actors.

“There is one government institution, and one alone, that has the ability to make Chicago safer — that is the Chicago Police Department,” Sessions said. “Our goal should be to empower it to fulfill its duties, not to restrict its proper functioning or excessively demean the entire Department for the errors of a few. Make no mistake: unjustified restrictions on proper policing and disrespect for our officers directly led to this tragic murder surge in Chicago.”

The written comment period on the city’s proposed consent decree expired Friday, with police unions and reform activists filing lengthy briefs arguing the merits of the controversial policies contained within. One of the suggested reforms forces officers to notify dispatchers every time they point a gun at someone and document such instances in city records, while another bans officers from driving people through dangerous neighborhoods. It’s still unclear who will monitor the department’s compliance with the consent decree, according to court documents.

The legal battle first began in 2015 after federal courts ordered the release of dash camera footage showing a Chicago police officer gunning down 17-year-old Laquan McDonald the year before, seemingly unprovoked. The footage sparked protests across the city over perceived racial bias and a dangerous “cover-up culture” within the department. On Oct. 5, a jury convicted the officer in question of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated assault — one for every bullet pumped into the teen’s body.

After the dash cam footage first circulated, however, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel resisted federal intrusion into CPD practices. Some critics argue he only backed a DOJ investigation and later Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s lawsuit — filed in August 2017 — against the city demanding the consent decree after political pressure mounted against him.

In court filings, Madigan cites internal and external reviews — including the federal probe published in January 2017 — documenting a “repeated pattern of excessive force … disproportionately affecting Chicago’s African American and Latino residents.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Chicago, one of the activist groups involved in the ongoing litigation, criticized Sessions’ statements Friday as politically-motivated and tone deaf.

“The Trump Administration and Sessions’ Department of Justice have never attempted to learn about the problems in Chicago or what reform is necessary,” said Karen Sheley, director of ACLU’s Police Practices Project. “Instead of addressing these pressing concerns when he came into office … They walked away from police reform in Chicago.”

The administration, however, blames interim reforms established through a 2015 legal settlement with the ACLU for spiking the city’s murder rate nearly 69 percent in 2016 — including abandoning “stop-and-frisk” procedures deemed by critics unconstitutional and racist.

Arrests declined in the city 24 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to the DOJ. Meanwhile, murder rates ballooned, accounting for nearly one quarter of the nationwide increase in homicides in 2016. The department said more murders occurred in Chicago that year than in New York and Los Angeles combined, despite a population of just one-fifth of the size of both cities.

“At a fundamental level, there is a misperception that police are the problem and that their failures, their lack of training, and their abuses create crime,” Sessions said. “But the truth is the police are the solution to crime, and criminals are the problem.”

He said restraining police from “using lawfully established policies of community engagement” — as he claims the proposed consent degree would do — will only worsen crime rates. “There must never be another consent decree that continues the folly of the ACLU settlement,” he said.

Sessions’ comments fall in line with the DOJ’s tactics for increasing federal firearms prosecutions and reducing violent crimes across the nation’s most dangerous cities. Through partnerships with local and state law enforcement agencies, the DOJ touts double-digit decreases in violent crimes in Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile over the last 18 months.

His latest directive announced Friday implements the same strategy in Chicago. Some five additional violent crimes prosecutors will join U.S. Attorney John Lausch in establishing a Gun Crimes Prosecution Team with operations focused on the Northern District of Illinois.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will likewise assign five “violent crime coordinators” to Lausch’s Project Safe Neighborhoods team who will assist in daily reviews of firearm arrests and seizures.

The two teams join the city’s Crime Gun Strike Force, a permanent coalition of federal, state and local investigators and researchers dedicated to capturing and prosecuting Chicago’s most dangerous offenders. In the 18 months since Sessions implemented the strike force, ATF firearm arrests increased nearly 25 percent and seizures and recoveries spiked 46 percent. CPD boosted its own seizures by more than 11 percent and violent crime in all four police districts working with the strike force declined double digits — including a 49 percent decrease in murders in the Seventh District and a 37 percent decrease in shootings in the Ninth District.

The DOJ said the consent decree would hamstring the Chicago Superintendent of Police, turn over budgetary control of the department to federal courts and the undecided monitor and fails to establish concrete metrics for the department to achieve.

In its statement of interest, the department “asks the court not to enter the Proposed Consent Decree but, rather, to allow state and local officials—and Chicago’s brave front-line police officers—to engage in flexible and localized efforts to advance the goal of safe, effective, and constitutional policing in Chicago.”

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police said last month the consent decree ignores the reality of the city’s struggle with violent crime and supports only the political agenda of “anti-police” groups like Black Lives Matter and the ACLU.

“The City and the Attorney General have set a dangerous precedent by granting groups like these influence in police policy making,” said President Kevin Graham. “Their willingness to do so reveals much about the real nature of this agreement and the magnitude of the threat it imposes.”

A hearing on the consent decree — which will allow for public commentary — is scheduled for later this month, according to court filings.

The post Feds blast Chicago’s consent decree: ‘Criminals, not cops’ make city dangerous appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Addressing the stigma around mental health, gun ownership

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 12:00

An armed Genevieve Jones holding a sign that says “making purpose from trauma helps make peace from trauma.” (Photo: Jones via @beyond.the.unknown)

Mental illness is an often referenced but rarely discussed topic within the greater debate about gun ownership. More often than not, it’s met with silence or negative commentary. But social media personality and shooting instructor Genevieve Jones addresses the subject directly, revealing that she suffers from both anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

In a recent Instagram post, she argued that gun owners with such conditions shouldn’t be treated as “armed and dangerous” nor should they be shunned for talking about their conditions. “Mental health never really gets talked about in this industry or even in this country except when a mass shooting happens. I think that is a little sad,” she said.

“I have been told dozens of times, even by fellow 2A supporters, that I shouldn’t talk about my problems because it will get me ‘locked up.’ ‘People will think you’re going to kill yourself.’ ‘Nobody wants a firearms instructor with PTSD,’” she added. “The last one is what really pushed me to begin this conversation. No one who is trying to move past their pain should be bullied into silence.”

Interestingly, the timing of her most recent announcement was days ahead of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which, as the National Alliance on Mental Illness explains, aims to help the public understand and normalize mental illness. This year’s theme? “Cure Stigma”.

Guns.com reached out to Jones to learn more about her effort, the progress she’s made and the reactions to revealing that part of her life.

Scott Gara: How has the reaction been to the initial post that you did on Oct. 2?

Genevieve Jones: The funny thing with that is that it’s been nothing but positive on my Instagram. I mean I don’t have a ton of followers but everybody that I do has been nothing but completely supportive. Where I’ve been having an issue is actually in gun stores. I work at a firearms store and as an instructor full time. I really believe that in gun stores you do see the worst in people. Not necessarily employees but my friends that would come in there to shoot and stuff. There’s a negative attitude like, “Why would you to talk about that? They’re going to come and take your guns away from you.” I heard that the other day.

The reactions has been mixed but as far as the social media side of the gun industry, they’ve been nothing but supportive and I think they’re sort of two different animals, the commercial side of everything and the media side of everything. It definitely is not easy to have that fear put in you that you’re going to get your rights stripped away from you just because you went through stuff and because you want to talk about it. It almost made me feel like I had to make this decision on whether I was going to pretend to be somebody that I’m not, to stay in this industry or if I was going to be myself and be in this industry and deal with whatever it is that may happen. I mean, that kind of sucks. The support that I’ve gotten has been really incredible, from everybody who’s commented or sent me private messages online so I’m thankful for that at least.

Gara: How do you respond to people who negative attitude toward you when you want to talk about this?

Jones: Right. Well so, a lot of time how I respond to people like that is just sort of very, like passive aggressive answers. Instead of being like, “Show me the proof to this,” because I’m really not into debating, I’m just like, “All right, well, I’ll figure it out if that happens.” I think that something that is very detrimental that I used to do a lot that caused my anxiety to get worse was asking all these what-if-questions. Having all the people ask these what-if-questions I just don’t want to really engage in it. I’m like, “All right, well if that happens I’ll figure it out.” I’ll do whatever it is I have to do to still own firearms, to still do what I have to do because it’s my right and I’m passionate about that also so, I’ll figure it out.

Gara: How has shooting helped you deal with your mental illness – your anxiety and PTSD?

Jones: I’ve been shooting for a very long time and it was always something that really just made me very happy. When I started to get panic attacks a lot I was actually afraid to start shooting again because, when you have a panic attack it’s just everything blacks out, you can’t hear anything. It’s just like it’s sheer dread happening everywhere and it’s awful and I was so afraid that when I picked up a gun, if I were to have a random panic attack it would make me unsafe. My dad was actually the one who pushed me to go back out and try something and it reminded me of how happy I was. It also taught me how to listen to my body more because whenever I would start to feel that sort of loss of control, then I would stop shooting because having a firearm did add responsibility into my brain. You know like, “Oh hey, I am doing something that’s pretty dangerous so I better be aware of what’s happening to me.”

[Shooting] actually really helped me control those attacks and stuff and it helped me in the long run, being able to shoot and teach other people how to shoot. I mean, it gives my life meaning. I saw a really awesome quote and it was, “Making purpose from trauma helps make peace from trauma.” I feel like me getting into this industry, doing all these things, teaching other people, helping other people who have been abused or attacked. It brings peace to me because it gives me a purpose. Yeah, so I don’t have to be upset about these things I can do something with them. That’s empowering.

The post Addressing the stigma around mental health, gun ownership appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Sightmark releases Core Shot A-Spec reflex sight

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 11:30

The Core Shot A-Spec reflex sight will arrive on scene later this year. (Photo: Sightmark)

Sightmark is set to debut a new reflex sight, the Core Shot A-Spec, created to fill the void between full-sized and mini red dot sights.

Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, the Core Shot A-Spec is shockproof, IP55 water-resistant and features a scratch-resistant lens coating. The reflex sight is equipped with a wide lens for easier and more efficient target acquisition.

The reflex sight sports slotted windage and elevation adjustments, digital switch controls and eight reticle brightness levels. The Core Shot A-Spec is also night vision compatible. The FMS sight boasts two separate mounts, AR riser mount and low-profile mount meanwhile the LQD is equipped with a quick detach mount.

The Core Shot A-Spec features a wide lens. (Photo: Sightmark)

“Sightmark’s Core Shot A-Spec is arriving during the fourth quarter of 2018 bringing precision, accuracy and reliability for avid shooters,” Sightmark said in a news release. “The Core Shot A-Spec bridges the gap between a full-sized and mini red dot sight, making them a mid-compact sized red dot perfect for AR pistols and SBRs.”

The Core Shot A-Spec will be available later this year. No pricing information has been released as of yet.

The post Sightmark releases Core Shot A-Spec reflex sight appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Viking Solutions releases new Gong Pistol Target Combo

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 11:00

The Gong Pistol Target Combo features 3-inch and 5-inch AR500 targets. (Photo: Viking Solutions)

Viking Solutions beefs up its target options, introducing the new Gong Pistol Target Combo including a 3/8-inch thick AR500 plates.

Using 3- and 5-inch plates, the Viking Solutions Gong Pistol/Rifle Targets are quick to set-up according to the company constructing in less than a minute. Sporting a wide base, the Gong Pistol Target Combo can be placed on any terrain while its powder coated finish lends durability to the system.

The Gong Pistol Target Combo disassembles and reassembles easily, according to Viking Solutions. (Photo: Viking Solutions)

“We are providing a high-quality target capable of handling pistol or rifle loads,” Viking Solutions President John Woller Jr. said in a news release. “So now you can set up the Gong Pistol/Rifle Target Combo quickly and easily, get your practice in and increase your confidence in shooting with your handgun.”

Measuring 25-inches high, the Gong Pistol Target Combos targets centers are 12-inches apart. The targets are capable of tackling large caliber pistols and most centerfire rifles with 3,000 FPS or less at impact.

The Gong Pistol Target Combo is available from Viking Solutions with a price tag of $54.99.

The post Viking Solutions releases new Gong Pistol Target Combo appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Carving pumpkins on the cheap: Hi-Point jack-o-lantern (VIDEO)

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 10:30

Everybody’s favorite pumpkin carver, Hickok45, is back with his traditional October arts and crafts installment.

In his latest attempt at making a folksy pumpkin– which he has been doing for years– Hickok dispels the myth that you need a big budget gun to pull off the perforation and goes with a Hi-Point in .45 ACP, which of course is reusable year after year.

Need more before the Great Pumpkin rolls in?

The post Carving pumpkins on the cheap: Hi-Point jack-o-lantern (VIDEO) appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Slowing it down for a tiny working pistol (VIDEOS)

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 10:00

Using a keyring-sized break-action single shot firing 2mm pinfire cartridges so small you need tweezers to load it, the Slo-Mo guys set up a series of appropriately tiny tests.

Filmed on a Phantom v2640 camera at 12,500fps, Gav and Dan actually prove that these little pop guns have some performance in line with their size. Caution: there is a dismembering shot on a Lego man for those who are squeamish to such things.

And of course, if you need something more American, here is Sarasota Engraving working on the slide of a 1911.

The post Slowing it down for a tiny working pistol (VIDEOS) appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Versacarry announces new Decree holster series

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 09:30

The Decree Series comes in various models to include a Scroll version, pictured above. (Photo: Versacarry)

Versacarry unveils the Decree Series — a new line of leather, outside-the-waistband holsters made from premium water buffalo hide. The Decree Series features a double-layer design paired with a raised backing to offer protection as well as a comfortable ride.

The holster boasts reinforced triple layering around the belt loops in order to provide a solid foundation when carrying. The Decree is also constructed with an inlay that acts as re-enforcement, preventing the holster from collapsing.

The series sports three models — Standard Carbon Fiber Inlay, Standard Metal Inlay and Scroll. All models are available in either left or right handed configuration with a distressed brown leather and black leather overlay aesthetic. The series offers sizing for most popular handguns.

The Decree Series features a reinforced belt loops. (Photo: Versacarry)

“Versacarry is proud to introduce it finest leather holster line yet, the Decree Series,” Versacarry said in a statement. “Every holster’s hide is hand selected from premium Water Buffalo with care and consideration and meticulously crafted with its signature design lending to its sheer beauty and functionality which is unrivaled by any other holster in the industry.”

The Decree Series is available now through Versacarry and is priced at $89.99.

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Categories: Gun News

Unsafe selfies earn pair lifetime ban from Texas gun range (VIDEO)

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 09:00

Two visitors to a Houston shooting range leaped way over the line when it came to basic gun safety and found themselves escorted out, for good.

Top Gun Range on Beverly Hill Street in Houston posted the shocking video on their social media page this week in hopes it could be a valuable training tool in what not to do when on the line.

“Great job from our Range Safety Officer in stopping and addressing a safety violation on the range,” noted Top Gun before providing the backstory to the short video that shows two patrons clowning around with a handgun while snapping selfies on a mobile device. The unsafe activity finally escalates to one of the men pointing the pistol at the head of his shooting buddy, which brings a quick reaction from the RSO.

“The former customer brought in his own weapon for him and his friend to shoot,” explained Top Gun. “They were given a safety brief and still broke range rules once they went out to shoot. After they were promptly removed from the range, we covered which rules they broke and then banned them for life from the range.

“We take safety very seriously here at Top Gun Range, and we pride ourselves in having the best staff in Texas,” said the range.

The post Unsafe selfies earn pair lifetime ban from Texas gun range (VIDEO) appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Court rejects some new gun restrictions in Delaware state forests, parks

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 08:30

Blackbird State Forest is part of over 40,000 acres of public land administered by the Delaware departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Environmental Control. (Photo: Delaware.gov)

A judge this week handed a win to gun rights advocates in the ongoing legal fight to end a ban on visitors possessing firearms in state parks. Kent County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clark on Wednesday riddled new rules developed by state agriculture and parks agencies developed to modify their long-standing gun free zones.

Crafted to comply with a 2017 ruling by the state supreme court that the almost total ban on firearm possession on the 40,000 acres of public land under the agencies’ control was unconstitutional, the state argued that some 99 percent of the land was now open to those with firearms and the enduring gun free zones were only maintained on “sensitive” areas.

Clark concluded the regs — which include a ban on guns in camping areas, some of the most high-trafficked areas on state land — were still unconstitutional when it came to the right to keep and bear arms. “The effect of including camp sites within sensitive areas forces State Park and Forest visitors to give up their right to self-defense in order to camp overnight in those areas,” he said.

Similarly, Clark said that lodges, maintained at some state forests, cannot be considered sensitive areas.

Another bone of contention for the court was the state’s reliance on routinely and without probable cause checking the identification of visitors who had firearms, saying, “These regulations give unfettered discretion to stop State Park and Forest visitors, question them and require identification without requiring a scintilla of evidence of criminal activity.”

As such, Clark struck all mention of those possessing a firearm from a need to produce their identification as well as sensitive area designations for lodges and camp sites from the rules to be clear to state officials what survived the challenge.

The lawsuit was originally brought by members of the Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club and the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association against Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Department of Agriculture. DNREC, with some 23,000 acres under their control, had banned guns on their land since 1977 while the agriculture department, controlling 18,000 acres in three state forests, had maintained similar policies since 2003 with violations subject to fines ranging between $25 and $500.

It is unclear if state officials will appeal Clark’s ruling.

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Categories: Gun News

Ruger launches Ruger Precision Rifle models chambered in magnum calibers

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 08:00

The Ruger Precision Rifle now comes in magnum calibers. (Photo: Ruger)

Ruger expands its Ruger Precision Rifle series adding new models chambered in .338 Lapua and .300 Winchester Magnum.

The magnum caliber models boast a heavy contour barrel in addition to the Ruger Precision Rifle Magnum Muzzle Brake featuring a tunable compensator. The compensator reduces recoil as well as muzzle jump, according to Ruger.

Ruger’s barrels are free-floated and cold hammer-forged from 4140 chrome-moly steel with 5R rifling. The .338 Lapua offers a 1:9:375-inch twist rate while the .300 Win Mag delivers a 1:9-inch twist. Both models ship with two, 5-round AI-Style magazines.

The rifles feature a free-float M-LOK handguard among other accessories. (Photo: Ruger)

The newer models are also equipped with a hard-coat anodized 18-inch free-float handguard with Magpul M-LOK accessory attachment slots. The Ruger Precision Rifles sport an AR-style left-folding stock with an adjustable comb height as well as adjustable length of pull. The rifle are topped off with a 30 MOA Picatinny rail and Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger with user adjustable pull weight between 2.25 and 5-pounds.

“The value of the Ruger Precision Rifle is unmatched. With top-tier accuracy, adjustable ergonomics and the rugged reliability for which Ruger is renowned, these new chambering options broaden the Ruger Precision Rifle’s utility across a wide range of readily available ammunition,” Ruger said in a news release.

The magnum caliber Ruger Precision Rifle models are available now with a MSRP of $2,099.

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Categories: Gun News

Alabama teen charged for bringing gun to high school football game

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 07:30

Teen charged for bringing gun to high school football game in Anniston, Alabama. (Photo: WBRC News)

A teenager faces federal gun charges in Alabama this week after police caught him with a loaded pistol at a high school football game.

Acting on a tip from an unidentified female, law enforcement discovered the 9mm Taurus Model PT-709 stowed inside 18-year-old Camron Watkins’s waistband while patrolling a game at Anniston High School on Sept. 28, according to court records.

“Anyone who illegally brings a gun to a high school football game is a threat,” said U.S. Attorney Jay Town. “Federal, state and local law enforcement have joined together to protect our schools and our communities from gun violence. Federal prosecution of gun crimes means real prison time.”

Watkins faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for knowingly possessing a firearm in a school zone.

Marcus Watson, special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the arrest stems from recent collaboration between local and state police “to reduce potential violent crime that impacts our school systems.”

“Gun crimes in Anniston will not be tolerated and we are prepared, by any legal means necessary, to pursue, arrest, and prosecute anyone possessing illegal firearms,” said Anniston Police Chief Shane Denham. “The Anniston Police Department is committed to making our community a safe environment for all.”

Authorities across Alabama continue a targeted campaign against gun crimes as the state works to lower rates of illegal activity. Federal officials in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham said this month federal support has helped local and state law enforcement boost firearms prosecutions and lower crime rates.

“Most Alabamians are benefiting from a much safer Alabama as a direct result of the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” said Richard W. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. “Law enforcement officers have been empowered to do what they do best and the violent crime rate in many of our communities is going down.”

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Categories: Gun News

A look back at the history of the Winchester Model 1894

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 07:00

The Winchester Model 1894 was the first commercially produced smokeless powder lever action rifle for Winchester. (Photo: Winchester)

A lever action rifle developed by the illustrious John Moses Browning, the Winchester Model 1894 is one of the most successful smokeless powdered lever action rifles in history — having sold well over 7 million units since its inception in 1894. How did this rifle come to be and what has driven its success for the past century?

How it all began

In 1893, Winchester’s ammunition division began experimenting with a new smokeless powder, loading cartridges with the powder which was less corrosive than the more traditional black powder. The smokeless powder contained more energy that allowed bullets to travel further, offering flatter trajectories and allowing hunters to tackle bigger game and much further ranges. The problem was, Winchester needed a rifle capable of handling the new smokeless powder.

John Moses Browning developed the Model 1894 at the behest of Winchester’s ammunition department. (Photo: Winchester)

Browning, at the height of his career, was tasked with developing a new firearm designed around the new powder. Additionally, Browning was asked to make the firearm both simple to manipulate as well as easier to manufacture. Doing what Browning did best, he developed the Winchester Model 1894, applying for a patent on the device on August 21, 1894. By November of that same year, the Winchester Model 1894 was made available to the public.

A classic rifle

The Winchester Model 1894 was the first commercial American repeating rifle developed for smokeless powder. It was originally chambered to fire two metallic black powder cartridges – the .32-40 Winchester and .38-55 Winchester. In 1895, however, Winchester moved to a different steel material for rifle manufacturing allowing the rifle to be take on higher pressure rounds; thus, the Model 1894 was soon offered in .25-35 Winchester and .30-30 Winchester. The .30-30 Winchester, also known as the .30 W.C.F, quickly became synonymous with the Winchester Model 1894.

The Winchester Model 1894 was an almost instant success for Winchester. Its lightweight, compact design paired with the power packing punch of the .30-30 Win. round quickly made it popular among hunters. Its success was pushed even further during World War I after the U.S. Army signed an order for 1,800 rifles to members of the Signal Corps stationed in the Pacific Northwest. Numbered 835800 to 852500, these rifles were later sold as military surplus after the war. The Winchester Model 1894 went to war again during World War II, this time in the hands of the Canadian Pacific Coast Rangers guarding against Japanese invasion along the West coast of Canada.

Pre-1964 Model 94 rifles are valued higher than post-1964 rifles due to manufacturing changes. (Photo: Rock Island Auction Company)

One of the best-selling lever action rifles in American history, the Winchester Model 1894 hit the one million mark in 1927. The millionth rifle was presented to President Calvin Coolidge. President Harry S. Truman was awarded the millionth-and-a-half rifle in 1948 while President Dwight D. Eisenhower took possession of the two millionth Winchester Model 1894.

Revamps and revisions

The Winchester Model 1894 underwent several revisions as time passed and the wants of consumers changed. Its first minor alteration came in the form of a name change around 1927. After its millionth production, Winchester shortened its name to simply the Model 94 – the same name still in production today.

In 1964, the rifle underwent a revamp with a manufacturing change in order to bring down costs. Changes included replacing forged steel receivers and internal components with sintered steel in addition to swapping out solid steel pins with hollow roll pins. Though the Model 94 still performed, its aesthetics left a lot to be desired and eventually pushed the pre-1964 Model 94s into premium antique pricing.

The Model 94 today has undergone a return to solid bar stock components thanks to CNC machining. (Photo: Winchester)

In 1982, the Model 94 was tweaked again, this time seeing the addition of an angled cartridge ejection. The change centered around shooters ability to mount optics with the redesign allowing hunters to mount their preferred optics over the top of the receiver.

By 1989, the Model 94’s parent company was bankrupt and had recently been purchased by FN Herstal. The Europeans elevated the rifle’s manufacturing performance using CNC, or Computer Numeric Machining, to introduce bar stock back into the manufacturing process in a cost-effective manner. Solid pins made their triumphant return; however, FN Herstal’s manufacturing changes weren’t all positive. With the revision, the company added a manual safety onto the Model 94 – much to the horror of lever-action rifle purists.

Model 94 today

The Model 94 is still alive and well; though currently manufactured in Japan by Miroku and imported stateside by Browning. The Model 94 still continues its tradition of an easy-to-operate, lightweight rifle capable of downing deer or other targets in the field. A true iconic piece of American history, the Model 94 may have seen some questionable revisions in its history but, ultimately, has proved itself with a well-built design and reliable performance.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun Review: The new Canik TP9SA Mod.2 handgun (VIDEO)

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 07:00

Century Arms, exclusive distributor of Canik firearms in the U.S., released an enhanced version of the popular TP9SA – the TP9SA Mod.2 handgun – using customer feedback from military, police and civilian shooters.

There are a few obvious differences between the original and the Mod.2. The first is the slimmer flat-top slide. Canik touts that the flat top helps reduce glare when looking through the sights. While that’s never been a problem for me, the slim profile is nice. The Warren Tactical sights are another nice upgrade. The pistol variant includes a u-notch rear sight that makes picking up the single-dot front sight quick and easy.

The Mod.2 is billed as having an improved trigger as well, but to be honest I didn’t notice any difference in the way it performed. Every Canik pistol I’ve shot has had an outstanding trigger – some of the best of any of the striker fired pistols I’ve found in the market.

The TP9SA Mod 2.0 has modern aesthetics and a number of color options to fit any shooters personal taste. (Photo: Chase Welch/Guns.com)

Like all Caniks the TP9SA Mod 2.0 comes with a very complete package, especially when you consider the price. Dollar for dollar, this is one of the best value for money pistols on the market. (Photo: Chase Welch/Guns.com)

The company also included an “enhanced” de-cocking button. Unlike the original, the de-cocker is only on one side of the Mod.2. However, the de-cocker is sometimes a source of confusion. As the company explains, the feature aids in removing the slide for cleaning – so you don’t have to pull the trigger to take off the slide.

Other than those upgrades, the pistol is the same as the original. The frame has interchangeable backstraps and a more aggressive texturing on the grip. It has a reversible magazine release, large trigger guard, 1913 picatinny rail, a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide and comes with two 18-round magazines made by Mec-Gar.

The trigger is better than the first TP9SA and continues the trend of Caniks having some of the best stock triggers in polymer guns today. (Photo: Chase Welch/Guns.com)

The Mod 2.0 shoots just as well as the original with the added benefit of the upgraded texturing. Truly a nice pistol to shoot. (Photo: Chase Welch/Guns.com)

Performance-wise, the pistol has very manageable recoil and great accuracy thanks to the Warren Tactical sights, cold hammer forged barrel and truly impressive trigger. Rapid strings of fire as well as target transitions are easy making this a really fun pistol to shoot. It has also run through almost a thousand rounds of any 9mm ammunition I fed it without a single hiccup.

Canik’s TP line of pistols is impressive. They perform very well, have great fit and finish and come packed with features and extras normally found on pistol that cost substantially more. MSRP is $399.

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Categories: Gun News

Giving the reintroduced S&W Model 19 K-frame a workout (VIDEO)

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 06:00

Pro-shooter Jerry Miculek, who knows a thing or three about skinning a smoke wagon, checks out the newly revamped Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 Magnum.

The classic wheel gun that modern gunfighter Bill Jordan envisioned in the 1950s as the .357 Combat Magnum was the gold standard for generations of lawmen and was issued to the U.S. Border Patrol and the FBI before those agencies moved to semi-autos.

While the gun was updated over the years, the final non-stainless variant, the 19-8, dropped from Smith’s line in 1999 after an almost half-century run. Today’s new Model 19, true to form, is chambered in .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum.

The Classic model comes complete with a polished blued finish that Jordan would recognize, walnut combat grips with S&W accents, and a 4.25-inch barrel. Sights include a red front ramp and black adjustable rear. And Miculek provides the low-down on both the Carry Comp model and the standard 4 inch.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun shop, online retailer agree to pay settlement over Oregon murder

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 05:30

Jonathan Lowy, director of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project (Photo: Brady Campaign)

A lawsuit backed by gun control group the Brady Campaign produced a settlement in a case filed by the survivors of a woman against the gun dealers who sold her murder weapon.

Named as defendants in the suit is an Oregon pawn shop, World Pawn Exchange, and J&G Sales, a popular online firearms retailer, in relation to the 2013 murder of 57-year-old Kirsten Englund at a highway rest stop. As announced Wednesday by the gun control group who spearheaded the litigation in a series of Oregon courts, the firearm dealers will make “significant business reforms” and pay a settlement “in excess of $750,000.”

In 2013, Jeffrey Boyce, 30, of North Bend, Oregon, shot and killed Kirsten Englund and then drove to California in an attempt to seek political asylum at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. But Boyce was arrested after a car theft and hanged himself in jail. Englund’s family later sued Diane Boyce, the killer’s mother, in Multnomah County Circuit Court, arguing that he bought two handguns from J&G but she picked up the shipped guns for him at World Pawn under her name as her son was barred from firearms ownership. Boyce later settled her case for $400,000 and agreed to testify against the gun dealers for her role in the purchase.

Brady, seeking $9 million in damages, argued that Jeffrey Boyce’s name appeared on the invoice for the firearms from the retailer and his credit card was used to pay for them but his mother was allowed to transfer the firearms into her name at the pawn shop where they were shipped, thus making J&G and World Pawn negligent in the sale and later transfer.

“If it were not so easy for a dangerously mentally troubled killer to obtain a gun on the Internet, Kirsten Englund would be alive today, with her two sons and loving family,” said Jonathan Lowy, Brady’s vice president of litigation.

As part of the settlement agreement, the gun control group outlined that J&G would update its employee manual and invoice system to help identify suspicious purchases or purchasers and change their online ordering system to require buyers to confirm they are purchasing the gun for themselves or as a gift.

World Pawn, for their part, will no longer process transfers for guns purchased from online sellers and make a public recommendation for dealers to implement “the safest business practices to prevent guns from being obtained by criminals, straw purchasers, and other persons who pose a danger to themselves or others.”

Lowry said the settlement “sends a resounding message to gun dealers across the country that there’s more they can and should do to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and if they act irresponsibly, they will be held accountable if innocent people are hurt or killed.”

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Categories: Gun News

Jamie Lee Curtis on guns: Supports both 2A, gun bans

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 05:00

Curtis, who uses several firearms in an attempt to slay fictional psychotic killer Michael Myers in an upcoming film, is also a gun control advocate who stresses that she supports the Second Amendment. (Photo: Screenshot)

The Hollywood scream queen this week sparked debate over the contrast between her public statements on gun policy and her on-screen firearm use.

Curtis, 59, has handled guns off and on in a number of Hollywood films over the past several decades, most notably in her latest appearance in the Halloween slasher film franchise, the trailer for which shows the actress wielding a number of different firearms à la the fictional Sara Conner in 1991’s T2.

When Fox News pointed out the apparent hypocrisy on Tuesday that Curtis, an activist and self-described Democrat who helped campaign for Hillary Clinton in 2016, has also been outspoken at times in favor of more regulation on guns, it sparked a Twitter backlash from fans pointing out that Curtis was playing a fictional role, the details of which outlets such as the HuffPost reveled in.

On the right, Breitbart columnist AWR Hawkins countered that Curtis, despite being a gun control advocate, was portraying an “icon for armed self-defense” in the upcoming horror flick.

In her defense, Curtis told USA Today that she, in fact, is a proponent of the right to keep and bear arms, although with a host of checks and regulations.

“I fully support the Bill of Rights. And fully support the Second Amendment. And have absolutely no problem with people owning firearms if they have been trained, licensed, a background check has been conducted, a pause button has been pushed to give time for that process to take place. And they have to renew their license just like we do with automobiles – which are weapons also.”

She did, however, quantify her guarded endorsement of the Second Amendment with the statement that “I fully support an assault weapon ban, I fully support a bump stock ban.”

To that, Nick Gillespie at Reason.com pointed out that Curtis’s stand on the interpretation of just how infringed the Second Amendment can be and still be supported largely mirrors 1980s Republicans. “I don’t know, but her gun-control suggestions are kind of in line with Ronald Reagan’s (he supported waiting periods and a ban on assault weapons too),” said Gillespie.

In the end, both sides are talking about Halloween, which is still set to hit theaters Oct. 19, and, as the quote often attributed to showman and hoax master P.T. Barnum goes, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”

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Categories: Gun News

Town bans ‘ghost guns’ under threat of $250 fine (VIDEO)

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 11:00

Gun control advocates stood among city officials and police in Bridgeport, Connecticut this week as a measure banning guns homemade firearms was signed.

In a move advocated by Mayor Joseph Ganim as far back as March, lawmakers in the state’s largest city passed ordinance 155-17 last month to regulate “ghost guns,” defined as home-built firearms without serial numbers.

“This is a piece of metal that you can easily buy in the markets,” said Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez in a press conference, holding up an unfinished 80-percent AR lower. “But if you can get this, you can make this,” he said, holding an AR-15 short-barreled rifle. “And this is a real weapon. This weapon will discharge anywhere from 50 to 30 rounds at a time.”

“You can make it fully automatic — and what is unique about this weapon is that there is no markings whatsoever,” Perez said and pointed out it had no serial number. “This gun belongs to no one. This is a ghost gun.”

Perez said his agency has recovered at least seven such guns this year. The ordinance allows Perez to “seize, remove and destroy any and all such weapons” inside his jurisdiction, said Ganim, joined by state Rep. Steve Stafstrom and Connecticut Against Gun Violence members at the legislation’s signing.

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Categories: Gun News

Leaper’s offers new UTG 1-8×28 MRC Scope with BG4 Reticle

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:30

The 1-8×28 MRC Scope features the BG4 Reticle designed for quick target acquisition. (Photo: Leapers)

Leaper’s bolsters its scope offerings, adding the new UTG branded 1-8×28 MRC Scope with BG4 Reticle to its inventory. The 1-8×28 MRC Scope with BG4 Reticle utilizes UTG’s True Strength Platform offering a completely sealed and nitrogen filled 30mm tube. The scope is shock, fog and rain proof with a lockable and resettable target turret system.

The scope features a 30mm tube that is nitrogen filled. (Photo: Leapers)

The scope is equipped with an illuminated 1 MOA center dot courtesy of the systems’s EX-TAP Illumination Enhancing system. The BG4 Reticle uses a reduced clutter reticle with three posts. These posts are designed to draw the eye to the center for faster target acquisition, according to Leapers. The scope offers a range of about 600 yards with a magnification range of 1-8x.

“You truly get a platform that can perform at multiple ranges whether short, intermediate, or long,” the company said in a press release. The 1-8×28 MRC Scope with BG4 Reticle retails for $224.

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Categories: Gun News

Sightmark revamps LoPro laser/light series with Dark Earth finish

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:00

The LoPro offers a laser/light combo that mounts directly to firearms. (Photo: Sightmark)

Sightmark delivers a new finish to LoPro fans, introducing the laser/light series in a Dark Earth finish. Three models are prepped to enter the series — the LoPro Mini Combo Green Laser and Flashlight, LoPro Combo Green Laser and IR-Visible LED Flashlight, and the LoPro Mini Green Laser Sight.

The compact laser and laser-light combo attaches to firearms, providing shooters with a means to tackle low-light shooting situations. “LoPro’s are the perfect attachment for accuracy while training, hunting, self-defense and even in low-light shooting,” the company said in a press release.

The LoPro has been redesigned to offer a Dark Earth look. (Photo: Sightmark)

The LoPro series features an all-new aluminum housing as well as protected windage and elevation adjustments and a thread-on and rotating pressure pad. The device offers tool-less adjustments paired with a low-profile style that securely mounts onto a firearm’s rail.

The LoPro in Dark Earth will be available soon, though no exact date has been given. Pricing has also not yet been released.

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Categories: Gun News

Lott: Mass shootings aren’t a uniquely American problem

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:30

Dr. John Lott, who’s research supporting gun rights policies, called a 2016 study characterizing mass shootings as a uniquely American problem a “hoax.” (Photo: NRA TV)

The United States’s prevalence of mass shootings don’t outweigh those recorded around the world, according to new research from Dr. John Lott.

The economist — an outcast within his field over his studies supporting more relaxed gun laws — said a recent academic paper blaming American gun culture for its high rate of mass shootings “is one of the biggest hoaxes of this century.”

“The claim that the US is unique in terms of mass public shootings motivates much of the gun control debate these days,” he said. “It is a hoax.”

The paper in question — a 2016 study by University of Alabama Criminology Professor Adam Lankford — found from 1966 through 2012, Americans perpetrated 31 percent of all mass shootings, despite only accounting for less than 5 percent of the world’s population.

He correlated this fact to high rates of gun ownership in America. It’s a connection he believes is supported by data from Yemen, the country with the second highest rates of both mass shootings and gun ownership.

“I can’t find any other academic research this century that has gotten as much worldwide attention this century as Lankford’s work,” Lott told Guns.com in an email earlier last month. “It put the US in a negative light and was just what much of the world wanted to publicize”

Lankford said he sourced his list of shooters from the New York Police Department’s 2012 Active Shooter Report, the FBI’s 2014 Active Shooter Report and unidentified international sources.

His research compiled a list of 292 mass shooters in the 46-year period studied. For his purposes, he only included cases where mass shooters struck four or more victims who weren’t specifically targeted. Those committing sponsored acts of genocide or terrorism were not included, according to the paper. He admits the limitations of the FBI and NYPD data means some incidents, particularly those in the earlier decades, may have been missed.

His conclusion, however, focuses on gun ownership as the root of America’s mass shootings, noting “the United States and other nations with high firearm ownership rates may be particularly susceptible to future public mass shootings, even if they are relatively peaceful or mentally healthy according to other national indicators.”

The problem is, Lott said, Lankford refuses to release raw data — making it impossible for other researchers to replicate his findings. He isn’t the only one complaining about Lankford’s methods either.

Carl Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief for Real Clear Politics, said last month Lankford dodged questions about his research, including why he studied “shooters” instead of “shootings” and what sources he used to supplement the NYPD data.

Glenn Kessler, editor and chief writer for the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, said Lankford denied requests for his research and refused to discuss his findings in comparison to Lott’s analysis — which calculated 1,448 attacks and nearly 3,100 shooters outside the United States in just the last 15 years of the decades Lankford studied.

“Lankford has chosen to keep his data set private, which makes it difficult to understand how the two researchers come to such different conclusions,” Kessler said.

Guns.com reached out to Lankford Wednesday for comment, but never received a response. He likewise declined interview requests with Fox News, Circa News and AmmoLand, saying he is “not interested in giving any serious thought to John Lott or his claims.”

Lott hopes continued media coverage will coax Lankford deeper into the debate. “My hope is that some pressure can be put on Lankford to make him address or acknowledge the serious problems in his paper,” he said.

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