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Woman pleads guilty to 7 counts of straw gun purchases

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 10:04

Vikki Towns-Perez is set to serve five to 10 years in the state penitentiary after purchasing several handguns for her now-murdered nephew. (Photo: WPVI)

A Pennsylvania woman will serve up to a decade in prison after pleading guilty this week to buying firearms for her nephew who was barred from gun ownership.

Vikki Towns-Perez, 36, of Chester, was sentenced to five to 10 years by a Delaware County Common Pleas Court judge on Tuesday, as reported by the Delaware County Daily Times. Her negotiated plea included six consolidated third-degree felony counts of selling a firearm to an ineligible transferee and one count of the same charge as a second-degree felony.

According to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan’s office, Towns-Perez bought at least nine handguns between February 2012 and May 2013, to include several Kel-Tec 9mm semi-autos. Although she purchased them under her own name, the guns were for her nephew, who she thought to have been convicted of numerous crimes. In each case, Towns-Perez pocketed $150-200.

Five of the handguns went on to be recovered by authorities after being used in felonies. One was tied to a drug-related homicide.

“We know that the vast majority of the illegal guns on the streets used for violence and crime are a result of straw purchases,” Whelan said. “In the case of Vikki Towns-Perez, she purchased these guns without any regard for the law, knowingly giving them to an individual she believed to be a criminal.”

Towns-Perez, an unemployed mother of four and one-time nurse’s assistant, was sentenced under the state’s Brad Fox Law which mandates a mandatory five-year minimum prison term.

Fox, a Plymouth Township police officer and Marine, was shot in the head by a felon who had illegally purchased a gun through a third party. Following his death, lawmakers in the state passed a new law to provide tougher penalties for those who lie during otherwise legal gun transactions to obtain a firearm for someone who is prohibited from possessing one. The law was first used in 2014.

Towns-Perez’s nephew, 23-year-old Ka’Ron Ingram, was shot and killed in an unsolved homicide in 2015.

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Categories: Gun News

Report: 8 out of 10 guns recovered in Haiti untraceable

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 08:00

ATF Firearms Specialist Richard Vasquez is surrounded by a cache of firearms in the gun vault on March 5, 2010, at the ATF National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Eight out of 10 guns recovered in Haiti last year can’t be sufficiently traced, according to a federal report published this week.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released international tracing data Wednesday for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean gathered through the agency’s National Tracing Center.

According to ATF findings, federal authorities recovered 2,340 firearms from the top five reporting Caribbean nations in 2016: the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

“Firearms tracing provides valuable investigative leads, specific trend data for ATF and its international partners, and information on the movement of a firearm from the manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain in an attempt to identify its first retail purchaser,” the agency said in a press release Wednesday.

For 88 percent of the 206 firearms recovered in Haiti, federal agents couldn’t trace the guns to the original point of sale. Just under half of the traces initiated for guns in Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago ended in similar results. Nearly 84 percent of guns recovered in the Bahamas were traced to retailers in the United States, according to the ATF.

The report offered several explanations for the untraceable guns, including missing or incomplete paperwork provided by a federally licensed firearms dealer, obliterated serial numbers, or recovering guns “too old to trace.”

“The success of a trace result, whether domestic or international, relies upon the accuracy of the supplied firearm identifiers,” the agency said in the report. “The necessary identifiers for a trace include manufacturer, importer (if applicable), model, caliber and serial number.”

Caribbean traces spiked 72 percent over 2015, according to federal data. Pistols represented the vast majority of recoveries in every country except Haiti, where nearly 78 percent of all traces involved shotguns.

The ATF traced more than 364,000 firearms recovered last year in the United States and 129 other countries. Traces have increased nearly 28 percent over the last six years, according to report findings, though remain flat compared to 2015.

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Categories: Gun News

Museum trying to save guns during Australian amnesty program

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 07:30

Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum volunteers with Swedish Ljungman rifle brought in as part of the national firearms amnesty. (Photo: Phoebe Moloney/Lithgow Mercury)

While the first nationwide firearms amnesty since 1996 is bringing in thousands of illegal or unregistered guns to police, a firearms museum trying to save what they can.

The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum opened its doors 20 years ago in the home of the historic Australian firearms works that made Enfield and Steyr rifles for the military. Staffed by volunteers, they are now working during the three-month National Firearms Amnesty to keep some of the more interesting pieces from the scrappers.

“A lot of the firearms being handed in have been passed down through families or just found in a property’s garage,” volunteer Kerry Guerin told the Lithgow Mercury.

Among the historic guns brought to the museum since the turn-in event kicked off last month are a Webley .455 revolver with three notches cut into the grips — reportedly used by a Gurkha unit soldier in World War I, as well as a Slazenger 1B sporting rifle with intricately carved stocks and a 1902 Winchester. Other weapons, saved from likely destruction if turned over to police, include a Swedish AB Ljungman rifle and an antique palm pistol.

However, the museum is not just seeking to expand their collection and is actively trying to work with Australians to legally retain their own firearms. As detailed in a post on their social media page, licensed gun owners can bring their unregistered firearm and have it registered on the spot while those without a license can leave their illegal firearm there while Lithgow helps them obtain a license and register it.

Australians found with an unregistered firearm outside of an amnesty period risk a fine of as much as about $213,000 U.S. and 14 years in jail. While a 2016 report holds there are 2.89 million legally registered firearms in the country in the hands of 816,000 license holders, as many as 600,000 unregistered guns are thought to be in circulation.

Australia held a nationwide gun buyback in 1996 following a mass killing known as the Port Arthur massacre, where a gunman murdered 35 people and injured 24. The measure led to severe restrictions on firearms including an outright ban on most semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns. During the enactment of the law, the government bought nearly 700,000 firearms from gun owners at a cost of $500 million.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced the current amnesty in June and is expected to run until September. Thus far about 6,000 firearms have been turned in without compensation in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state.

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Categories: Gun News

Over 100 NFA weapons up for grabs at upcoming event (PHOTOS)

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 07:00

With a selection that includes a rare Hanel SMG, a Johnson light machine gun, and a British proof-marked BAR, Rock Island has a truckload of fun stuff at their September auction. The event has well over 100 select-fire or otherwise full-auto Class III transferrable machine guns up for grabs. Here are some of the more exciting specimens we saw:

The bell of the ball would be this early WWII M1941 Johnson light machine gun in 30.06. These storied weapons, with their side-loading 30-round mags and folding bipods, were produced in small quantities but served with such elite groups as the Canadian/American 1st Special Services Force, USMC Raiders, and Paramarines. Estimated Price: $40,000 – $60,000 (Photos: RIA)

If belt-fed at 1,200 rpm is more your thing, how about this Gustloff Werke-Suhl MG42 machine gun complete with a 1944-stamped early wooden buttstock, post war Swiss folding tripod mount, side mounted variable power sight and linker/delinker tool. Estimated Price: $20,000 – $35,000

Although never adopted by the German military– who used the more common MP38 and MP40 sub guns– this WWII-era MP41 was manufactured by the C.G. Haenel company and was actually based on Schmeisser patents, so it is deserving of the moniker. This rare 9mm SMG is $30-45K.

Omaha Chief of Police, John J. Pszanowski bought a 10-pack of early Colt-made Thompson Model 1921 submachine guns in 1930 just in case he ran into characters such as the Dillinger gang and apparently was very proud of these .45ACP Tommy guns– because this one is has a wealth of department marks. Think of it as character. RIA has no less than six NFA registered Thompsons up for auction, but this one is among the nicest of the litter. Estimated Price– $27,500 – $42,500.

If you want something less well-marked, there is this beautiful World War II U.S.-inspected Auto-Ordnance M1A1 for about half the price.

Marlin-Rockwell made a number of M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles (BARs) during World War I and this model, a true 1918 vintage example, escaped later modifications into the M1918A2 standard. Interestingly, it has British proof marks.

A product of the mind of firearms design wonk Eugene Reising, this Harrington & Richardson made experimental select-fire rifle (serial X26) is a 7.62x51mm NATO battle rifle is an improved M14 variant likely produced while the company was under contract to the government to produce the standard model. You aren’t likely going to see another one of these anytime soon.

If you want an actual factory original M14 battle rifle, they also have this H&R formerly used by the Department of Energy. Estimated Price: $22,500 – $35,000

For those who like to precision shoot but also like to have a fun-switch for if things get weird, how about this Heckler & Koch G3SG/1, which is an accurized G3 complete with a Schmidt & Bender 1 1/2-6x optic and functional three-position trigger pack. Ja! Estimated Price: $22,500 – $35,000

Though it is marked “United Defense Supply Company” this Model UD M.42 9mm submachine gun was actually manufactured by the Marlin Firearms company for contracts in WWII. Most went overseas and never came back, making these pretty scarce today. Estimated Price: $12,000 – $18,000

And now for something completely odd, how about an SWD Cobray M-11 subgun that has been converted to fire from a 50-round Calico Liberty helical magazine. It’s just $6-9K.

If something more modern is on your wishlist, they also have a half-dozen transferable select-fire M16s as well as a host of UZIs and MP5s. The auction is set to run Sept. 9-10.

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Categories: Gun News

Smith & Wesson’s California compliant M&P15 Sport II now shipping

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 06:30

Smith & Wesson provides California residents with compliant M&P15 Sport II models. (Photo: Smith & Wesson)

Smith & Wesson announced M&P15 Sport II rifles are now available in California-compliant models designed to work alongside state regulations.

Chambered in 5.56mm NATO, the California-compliant variants include the Sport II and Sport II-Optics Ready rifles with 10-round magazines, a fixed stock and ambidextrous safety selector. Both rifles offer a durable Armornite finish on the interior and exterior of the barrel that resists corrosion.

“The M&P15 Sport II is a market leader in modern sporting rifles, and we are now offering the California market two new compliant M&P15 Sport II rifles,” said Jan Mladek, general manager of Smith & Wesson and M&P Brands, in a press release. “Known for a winning combination of price, features and proven performance, the M&P15 Sport II rifle is ideally suited for sport, recreation, target and protection use.”

The standard Sport II rifle comes standard with a Magpul MBUS rear sight and A2 front post and a price tag of $739 while the Sport II OR rifle is made to accept optics and features a Picatinny-rail gas block and top rail system for easier optics mounting. The OR version carries a price tag of $719.

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Report: More than half of guns recovered in Mexico in 2016 untraceable

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 06:00

Thousands of guns lie on the ground before being destroyed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 2012. (Photo: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Just over half of the guns recovered in Mexico in 2016 are untraceable, according to a federal report published this week.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released international tracing data Wednesday for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean gathered through the agency’s National Tracing Center.

While overall traces for guns found in Mexico declined 24 percent over 2015, unsuccessful traces hold steady at 51 percent, according to report findings. Authorities traced more than 13,000 guns from Mexico last year, with just over 46 percent leading back to retailers in the United States. The remaining 2 percent traced back to foreign countries.

“Firearms tracing provides valuable investigative leads, specific trend data for ATF and its international partners, and information on the movement of a firearm from the manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain in an attempt to identify its first retail purchaser,” the agency said in a press release Wednesday.

The report offered several explanations for the untraceable guns, including missing or incomplete paperwork provided by a federally licensed firearms dealer, obliterated serial numbers, or recovering guns “too old to trace.”

“The success of a trace result, whether domestic or international, relies upon the accuracy of the supplied firearm identifiers,” the agency said in the report. “The necessary identifiers for a trace include manufacturer, importer (if applicable), model, caliber and serial number.”

Traces for guns recovered in Mexico have declined 41 percent over the last six years, according to report findings. Pistols represent half of the 13,452 guns recovered last year, followed by 3,585 rifles and more than 2,000 revolvers.

The ATF traced more than 364,000 firearms recovered last year in the United States and 129 other countries. Traces have increased nearly 28 percent over the last six years, according to report findings, though remain flat compared to 2015.

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Probation for former South Carolina lawmaker who pleaded guilty to hitting his wife

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 14:00

Then-South Carolina state Rep. Christopher Corley waves a white flag in July 2015 during debate on a bill that would eventually remove the Confederate flag from Capitol grounds. (Photo: John Bazemore/Associated Press)

A former state lawmaker in South Carolina was sentenced to probation Monday after pleading guilty to first-degree domestic violence.

Chris Corley, 36, punched his wife with a closed fist, bit her on the nose, pointed a gun at her, and threatened to kill her and himself in December in front of their three children, according to court records. He was sentenced to six years in prison, which was suspended to five years probation, according to the Aiken Standard.

Several of Corley’s family members spoke before Second Judicial Circuit Judge Doyet A. Early III on Monday prior to sentencing. Corley’s wife, Heather, said Monday was the couple’s 13th wedding anniversary, and pleaded for leniency for her husband.

“Let me start by saying none of this was my intention,” she said. “I only wanted my husband to get the help he needed. We sought medical help for his mental state for one year. As the year progressed, it became increasingly worse. He has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and the medications he was taking, which were prescribed, were increasing and prolonging manic stages which caused his behavior to become erratic.”

She said Corley pleaded guilty because she felt the family was being coerced by the attorney general’s office. She said a uniformed officer came to subpoena their 8-year-old to testify against her father in the event of a trial.

“We don’t want our little girl to have to go through that awful experience,” she said. “I’m just pleading with you – I’m begging you not to send (Chris) to jail.”

The judge said he couldn’t accept a guilty plea that was forced, and asked Corley why he was pleading guilty.

“Because I am guilty, your honor,” Corley said.

Several of his friends and family members also pleaded for leniency Monday, including his pastor and mother-in-law. Corley himself was the last person to address Judge Early.

“Your Honor, there are so many people I need to apologize to – all the residents in the 84 House District who trusted me. My parents who suffered through this with me. My in-laws who haven’t treated me like anything but one of their own. But most importantly, Your Honor, I let down my wife and my children – and that’s something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life.”

Corley resigned from his seat in the South Carolina State House in January, just a few months after he was re-elected to a second term. He made a name for himself by fighting to keep the Confederate flag flying on Statehouse grounds, something that ended in July 2015 after nine parishioners were killed in a massacre at a Charleston church.

In a Christmas card that year, Corley told Republican colleagues to “ask for forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal.”

“May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right,” read the card, which featured the Confederate flag, and which he called a joke.

During session last year, Corley voted for a bill that strengthened punishments for domestic violence. He had faced up to 15 years in prison.

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Categories: Gun News

Alabama AG asks public for help in locating guns stolen from evidence vault

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 13:30

Michellle Canterbury (left), Richard Allen Canterbury (middle) and Candice Byrum (right). (Photo: Dallas County Jail)

The attorney general in Alabama is asking residents there to look out for stolen guns after more than 200 firearms were taken from the evidence vault at the Selma Police Department earlier this year.

Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a press release Monday that news reports claiming that all the stolen guns have been recovered are untrue, and that more are out there.

The announcement comes as three suspects in the evidence vault thefts face charges. Adrianne Michelle Canterbury worked as an evidence technician at the department. She’s been charged with first-degree theft of property and an ethics law violation. Her husband, Richard Alan Canterbury, is charged with first-degree receiving stolen property. And Candice Byrum is charged with second-degree receiving stolen property.

In June, Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier said Adrianne Canterbury allegedly took more than 200 guns from the vault from Nov. 2016 until Feb. 2017. Then, he said, her husband would repair the stolen weapons and ready them for sale. When officers searched the Canterbury’s home, they found the missing guns, some of which had been confiscated as evidence in criminal cases.

“What we found there was probably the largest stash of guns from a criminal perspective. It was a little overwhelming to see that amount,” Collier said. “There may be others that weren’t [taken from evidence] but we’re trying to work that. The bulk were taken out of the evidence room.”

After the Canterburys allegedly stole and fixed up the weapons, police say Byrum posted them for sale online. One of the stolen weapons, a Taurus 9mm, was linked to a deadly shooting in Dallas County in April. Ratravious Sanders, 19, is accused of shooting his friend in an alleged accident.

Marshall says only the ATF can determine whether a weapon came from the Selma Police Department.

“It is advised that, due to the high number of stolen firearms in commerce, the public should be aware that if they are planning to make any purchases via the internet or through third parties, they could be buying a stolen firearm,” Marshall said.

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4-year-old boy caught in the crossfire of road rage shooting

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 13:00

Carter Hill, 4, was struck in the head when two men fired more than 10 rounds into his mother’s car. (Photo: ABC 5)

A 4-year-old boy remains hospitalized after he was shot in the head late Sunday night in what authorities are describing as a possible road rage incident.

Cleveland Police Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said the suspects, who remain at large, should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

The incident unfolded just before midnight as Cecilia Hill was driving with her 4-year-old son, Carter, and her 7-year-old daughter, local media reported.

Hill came upon a white Pontiac with tinted windows that was partially blocking a residential road. She said she could see two black men standing beside the vehicle, and waited several minutes before finally honking her horn. Hill was able to make her way past the car and continued driving, according to ABC 5.

However, Hill said the men apparently got into the Pontiac and followed her onto the interstate. They caught up to her near an area known as Dead Man’s Curve and opened fire into her vehicle.

Ciaccia said more than 10 rounds were fired, with multiple rounds hitting Hill’s vehicle. Carter, who was sitting in the back seat, was struck in the head.

Hill then pulled off of the interstate and called for help. Carter was rushed to a local children’s hospital where he underwent surgery to have the bullet removed. According to reports, the boy was breathing and conscious when EMS arrived. Initial reports indicate the bullet did not penetrate the boy’s brain.

Hill, who expressed gratitude to first responders and hospital staff caring for her son, was uninjured. Her daughter suffered minor injuries from flying shards of broken glass but is expected to be okay.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating the suspects. According to local media, police received reports of a vehicle matching the Pontiac’s description, but despite a rapid response, officers were unable to locate the vehicle.

Hill said she is not acquainted with the suspects and had never seen them before the incident. She said she’s unsure why they pursued and shot at her, but believes they were likely angered when she honked her horn at them.

Ciaccia said the investigation is ongoing.

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Categories: Gun News

Very controllable full-auto AR-10 machine gun (VIDEO 4K)

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 12:30

Jared LaMarche, of Windsor Arms Co., showcased the company’s AR-10 machine gun at the Green Mountain Boys machine gun shoot in Eden, Vermont, recently.

Windsor Arms Co. is a Class 3 manufacturer that takes good guns, and makes them better. In this case, they took a semi-automatic Palmetto State Armory PA-10 and turned it into a select-fire machine gun capable of firing approximately 800 rounds per minute.

“You don’t want a higher rate of fire out of a box fed magazine because it will out-run the magazine,” said LaMarche.

They gun ran flawlessly at the shoot. If you watch it in slow motion in the video, it’s extremely solid as it throws 150-grain bullets at 2,820 frames per second. A very efficient muzzle break allows the rifle to be extremely controllable.

Windsor Arms added some Magpul furniture and shortened the barrel. It got a lot of attention at the machine gun shoot in July.

“It’s one of our crowd pleasers,” said LaMarche. “This thing is really loud and has a lot of concussion. Everyone stops what they’re doing when we start shooting.”

Windsor Arms Co. is located in nearby Windsor and manufactures, fixes and modifies guns.

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Nearly 16 years after attack, remains of 9/11 victim identified

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 12:00

Rescue workers search through the rubble that remained after the attack at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo: AP)

The remains of a victim from the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center have been positively identified, the New York City medical examiner’s office said Monday.

At the request of the family, the name of the victim will not be released, although sources confirmed with the New York Post that the victim was a male and not a police officer, firefighter, or other first responder.

The remains of the victim were positively identified through retesting of DNA. The last 16 years have brought about a number of advances in DNA technology and, with it, retesting of remains previously recovered.

Following the attacks, very few fully intact bodies were found, although more than 21,900 pieces of human remains were recovered from Ground Zero. The unwavering effects of the heat, bacteria, and chemicals from the explosion and subsequent collapse of the towers have made analyzing the remains difficult.

The man was the latest of 1,641 victims to be positively identified since the attack in 2001 and the first victim to be identified in more than two years. Altogether, 2,753 people were killed in the attacks and about 40 percent of the victims – 1,112 – have yet to be positively identified, according to NBC News.

“Since the immediate days following the World Trade Center disaster in 2001, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner has worked to identify the victims, and we will continue to uphold this commitment using the most advanced scientific methods available,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson.

More recently, the medical examiner’s office has used a process which requires pulverization of remains to extract DNA, which is then analyzed alongside DNA collected from families of the victims. While some remains have been tested – and retested – 10 or more times, the majority of the tests have resulted in DNA being matched to victims who were already previously identified.

Aside from the more than 2,700 people who lost their lives that day at the Twin Towers, over 1,100 more people have since died and an estimated 50,000 sickened as a result of 9/11-related illnesses.

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Categories: Gun News

Chicago cousins charged for illegally selling guns on south side

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 11:30

Two Chicago cousins are facing federal firearms charges for illegally selling guns on the Windy City’s south side.

According to a Justice Department news release, 26-year-old Benjamin Vasquez Jr. was arrested Aug. 4 after illegally selling 16 firearms on Chicago’s south side over a four month period earlier in 2017. The firearms dealt included a sawed-off shotgun and an AK-47 rifle.

Unbeknownst to Vasquez, he was dealing the guns to a buyer cooperating with law enforcement. The buyer was secretly recording the transactions. One of the transactions went down in the New City neighborhood on Feb. 21 and involved the sale of a .22-caliber pistol.

Benjamin’s Vasquez’s cousin, 27-year-old Jorge Vasquez, was arrested last month and has also been involved in illegally selling guns.  On Feb. 13 in the West Englewood neighborhood, Jorge Vasquez sold a rifle to a buyer cooperating with law enforcement, a transaction in which he received $1,000.

Jorge Vasquez has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. His next court hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Benjamin Vasquez has been charged with knowingly possessing a firearm with an altered, removed or obliterated serial number. His preliminary hearing has been set for Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole.

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Gun-control PAC announces fellowship in honor of LGBTQ activist

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 11:04

Billy Manes. (Photo: Rob Bartlett/Orlando Weekly)

A gun-control political committee started after the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando announced Monday the creation of a new fellowship program in honor of Billy Manes, an Orlando writer and activist who passed away in July.

According to the announcement, the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence PAC, an organization that helps elect pro-LGBTQ candidates who support gun-control, is seeking sponsors for the Billy Manes Memorial Fellowship. The educational fellowship will aim to help train those interested in becoming LGBTQ and gun-control advocates.

“Billy was an integral member of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence and was one of the LGBTQ community’s most outspoken advocates. He touched so many lives as a selfless friend, community supporter and a willing mentor,” said Jason Lindsay, founder of Pride Fund. “This educational fellowship will highlight rising stars in advocacy and give them a platform to protect the marginalized and to speak out for what is right. It will prepare emerging leaders for important positions in political advocacy by instilling in them the values that Billy embodied: determination, passion, and courage.”

Manes worked as a columnist for the Orlando Weekly and was most recently the editor for LGBTQ newspaper Watermark. In 2005, he ran for mayor of Orlando as the city’s first openly gay candidate. He also served as a Pride Fund Board of Advisors member, and was a prominent voice after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.

“Pride Fund would not be where it is today if it were not for Billy’s advocacy and tireless efforts immediately following the Pulse tragedy,” Lindsay said. “Billy’s insight and friendship were essential to our founding, and for that, we will be forever thankful. We hope that Billy’s legacy will live on through this educational program and provide a platform for new leaders to inspire change in America, just as Billy has.”

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Gun Review: Noveske Varmageddon in 22 Nosler is here (VIDEO)

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 09:35

What do you get when you partner the hottest new caliber of the year with one of the most respected AR-builders?  The drool-worthy Noveske Varmageddon 22 Nosler. The rifle is built from all premium parts, is made in the USA, and can’t be sold in seven states — so right there, it’s a must meet.

The rifle

Though Nosler’s Varmageddon line of AR-platform rifles and ammunition has been putting prairie dogs, coyotes and other varmints on the lam for several years now, the new 22 Nosler version goes above and beyond in looks, potential performance, and features.  Built by Noveske Rifleworks in Grants Pass, Oregon, folks at both Noveske and Nosler believe this will be the ultimate varmint hunting platform on the market today.  The draw of the new round is a 300 fps increase in muzzle velocity over the .223/5.56 with greater capacity and energy.

The Varmageddon may look sweet amongst the flowers, but it’s all badass business for hunters. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The new flat dark earth (FDE) rifle sports an 18-inch barrel, Super Badass charging handle, and STS ambidextrous safety.  A set of MBUS Pro sights come standard, just in case shooters would like a backup to their chosen optic.  Also included is a KeyMod quick release swivel mount and sling. Ours came with a 10-round ASC mag, though the company advertises a 25-round magazine made for the 6.8 Rem SPC caliber.  Everything comes packed in a black Noveske cardboard box along with a full complement of color-matched rail covers.

Detail of the made in USA Noveske Varmageddon, a nice partnership with Nosler for their new cartridge. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Magpul furniture lends the rifle its long-range competition looks and appeal. The PRS Gen 3 stock, which  provides adjustment for length of pull, cant, and comb-height, is the same one found on serious long-range competition guns.  It also includes picatinny mounting points at its base for use of a monopod. A Magpul MOE grip is intended to fill the hand and includes a bottom storage compartment. The Geissele SD-E Trigger provides a smooth two-stage pull.  The NSR Handguard is touted by the company as “the lightest weight free-floating handguard on the market,” and features a KeyMod system for rail accessory mounting.  The full-length Picatinny rail allows ample space for mounting optics and other toys.

Controls and triggers are top notch, with a fantastic two stage Giessele trigger and Magpul furniture. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The muzzle wears industry-standard ½-28 threads and is protected with an included thread cap.  This is a slick gun, but sit down, because MSRP starts at $2869.95.  Kudos to Nosler for offering a military and first responder discount though, which adds up to $100 off in this case. If that’s just too much, but you still want a taste of the Noveske name coupled with the Nosler round, a complete upper with an 18-inch barrel is available for $1585.

The Super Badass charging handle is a nice touch, and its also practical and easy to operate. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The caveat?  Varmageddon rifles are not permitted to be sold in: California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts. Compliant, non-threaded barrel, 10-round magazine versions are available for Colorado, Illinois, and New Jersey.  You can’t help but like a gun that’s on a “banned-books” list of firearms.

The fully adjustable buttstock is one of the stars of this rifle with both LOP and comb fitment options. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The 22 Nosler chambering

There are three flavors of medicine currently on the market from Nosler in this new caliber: Trophy Grade Varmint 55-grain ballistic tip, Match Grade 77-grain, and Varmageddon 62-grain.  Brass, dies and components are also slated for availability.  Reloaders will find full data from the company here.

22 Nosler round. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Both full rifles and uppers either are, or soon will be, available from these in addition to Noveske: Colt Custom, Stoner, Barrett, X-Caliber, Midway, Olympic Arms, War Sport, North Tec Defense, and Proof Research.  Others may come on board as buzz around the new round builds.

For those wondering about the parent cartridge, there isn’t one.  The 22 Nosler is its own animal that can best be described as a lengthened and necked down 6.8 SPC meeting a shortened and necked down 30-30, both with adjusted shoulders and rims.

Threaded barrel and included thread cover, all branded with the Noveske logo. Pop up irons are included as well. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The game-changing aspect of the 22 Nosler round is that it yields almost 25 percent more capacity, delivers 30 percent energy, and is nearly 300 fps faster than the .223/5.56.  Velocities are surprisingly close to the zippy .22-250 cartridge, immediately putting the 22 Nosler into contention as a serious hunting round for varmints and small/medium game.

The .22-250 has long been a favorite of distance vermin hunters, author included, but we .22-250 shooters were limited to either single-shot or slower bolt action follow-up shots. When a coyote is trucking through your field of view or a pair of varmints appear together, sometimes it’s nice to be able to stay in the scope, stay on target and place that quick second shot.

Fully adjustable Magpul MBUS are standard and the full length rail offers plenty of room for mounting optics, lights, and gear. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Not all shooters love semi-autos though, and Nosler recognizes that fact well.  Known for their range of accurate and high-end bolt guns, word has already leaked that the company plans to chamber their line of M48 bolt action rifles in 22 Nosler by late 2017.  Keep an eye on as we continue to cover “10 Things You Need to Know about the 22 Nosler.”

Rubberized buttpad is great, but not even needed for the light recoiling 22 Nosler. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Field work

Hunting potential and range enjoyment aside, the Noveske Nosler creation makes one fine target competition rifle as well.  We were able to get our hands on two of the initial three ammunition offerings, so we headed out to the range with both Match Grade 77-grain and Varmint 55-grain.  With the threaded muzzle adding a suppressor or other device is easy, though for the cost of the rifle, we’d really like to see at least a basic brake included along with the thread cover.

Varmaggedon works well on a tripod and is suited to either benchrest or prone shooting. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

I can say I’ve shot hundreds of rifles with just as many triggers from horrendous to amazing, but this Geissele two stage may just have taken the top spot.  With a distinctive flat blade, its pull is true two stage, with easy first end takeup followed by an ultra crisp final break under 2 pounds on our Lyman digital pull gauge.

The fully adjustable buttstock is one of the stars of this rifle with both LOP and comb fitment options. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Without a doubt the caliber is the star and we already mentioned the trigger is top notch, but the Varmageddon’s furniture is icing on this tasty cake.  With a Magpul PRS buttstock, fully adjustable to fit pretty much any shooter, the rifle is at once capable, customizable, accurate, and just plain impressive. The only things that will ever hold this thing back are the cost of the gun and availability of the ammo.


Accuracy and ammo

Our first group at 100-yards, which measured well inside minute of angle as shown with a common house key in the photo, was eclipsed after some time on the range.  With a solid rest either on the bench or shooting prone, .75 inch groups were repeatable at 100-yard with light winds.  We sighted in roughly 3-inches high at 100 yards, which allowed us to make use of the BDC reticle on our Leupold optic.

100 yard target. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Though this rifle easily outworked our 3-9 powered scope with a thicker-than-ideal reticle, it performed nonetheless. Our best 300-yard group from the bench stayed well inside our 2-inch round target centers using Nosler’s Match 77-grain bullet, much better accuracy than we expected from an AR-platform rifle.  Not only will this performance translate to longer ranges, but also to excellent use on anything from prairie dogs to coyotes in the field.

300 yard target. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The only true limiting factor on the 22 Nosler at this time is the lack of factory ammunition offerings.  The only loaded rounds are coming from Nosler, though reloaders will rejoice at the availability not only of bullets and dies, but also new brass from the company.  As with most any specialty — and desirably new— chamberings, prices are steep and demand still outweighs availability. Though 22 Nosler is fired from the 6.8 SPC magazine, the casings share little in common other than general circumference, and the 22 Nosler brass cannot be created from 6.8 SPC.

A formidable foe for all varmints. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)


Yes, this is an expensive rifle and the comments section will argue all night that “X” brand AR will do the same thing for “Y” less money.  And in some cases, they may be correct. But they won’t have the cool factor; they won’t have the new caliber; they won’t have the Geissele trigger, the high end barrel or topnotch furniture.

The Varmageddon is a Nosler Signature AR by Noveske, two quality companies pairing on one mean gun with plenty of big-name, high-quality components. Even if this particular rifle is outside the range of your pocket book, the 22 Nosler chambering is a very interesting one that’s well worth exploring both on the reloading bench and even in a more simple, budget AR conversion.  But dang, when you’ve tasted filet mignon, chopped steak is just never the same.

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Categories: Gun News

Gays Against Guns plans second protest of Pennsylvania gun show (VIDEO)

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 09:00

Gays Against Guns will crash a gun show in Pennsylvania this weekend for the second time in less than a month as the gun control advocacy group experiments with new forms of protest in its second year of existence.

The group, founded in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting last year, will hold a demonstration outside the Split Rock Gun Show scheduled for Saturday in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania. Some protesters will wear a white veil and carry photos of local victims of gun violence, while others will hand out informational fliers containing statistics about gun-related deaths.

“We are firmly dedicated to the principle of presenting ourselves as educational — not confrontational,” the group said on its website this week. “We will not engage in arguments with anyone, and if we’re asked to leave, we’ll respectfully ask for a reason, but we will comply and we won’t be antagonistic.”

It’s the second protest of its kind for GAG. Last month, the group demonstrated on the steps of The Armory in Philadelphia as patrons filed in and out of a gun show being held inside.

Kevin Hertzog, co-founder of GAG, reflected on the experience for the group’s website, expressing his initial fear of approaching The Armory and describing himself and other activists as “easy targets for abuse and/or violence.”

“We were on ‘their’ turf and, as such, we’d decided not to engage in any arguments or conflict,” he said. “We were only there to pass out information and potentially start a conversation.”

The group’s more subdued approach to protesting follows a year of dramatic demonstrations held up and down the east coast — including staged “die-in’s” at investment firms across New York City, a video campaign against national reciprocity and a boycott of NRA-friendly companies on Cyber Monday.

“We hope that we were able to educate some folks about this issue,” Hertzog said of the gun show protests. “We hope that we were able to bring more general awareness to the issue. And we hope that we were able to let everyone know that Gays against Guns is committed to fighting the public health crisis that gun violence is creating in this country.”

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Categories: Gun News

An 1887 vintage Colt Frontier six-shooter still kicking (VIDEO)

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 08:15

Hickok45 reaches out for a .44 that has well over a hundred years of use on it but is just getting broken in.

A variation of Colt’s 1873 “Model P” type Single Action Army, the Frontier was chambered in .44-40 Winchester rather than the SAA’s traditional .45. With production cranking up after 1877, these guns were popular in the Old West as they shared the same round as many lever-action carbines such as Winchester’s 73 and 92 and Marlin’s 1894, which was convenient.

From the ancient grips to the long barrel and hard-earned patina, the black powder wheel gun in Hickok’s hands is a great revolver, which he contrasts with a more modern New Frontier built for modern cartridges.

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Categories: Gun News

Old .45 slug found inside head of bear that was no worse for wear

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 07:45

The bullet grazed the skull to the left, and exited between the eyes but didn’t penetrate the brain cavity. When the bear was later harvested, it didn’t even have a scar (Photo: Bear Hunter Magazine)

When a North Central Arkansas bowhunter harvested a pretty good-sized black bear last season, he was in for a surprise when he cleaned the bruin.

As told by Bear Hunting Magazine, Brandon French took the animal with a compound bow on private land last fall. While it brought him a respectable 19 10/16” Pope and Young score, he also found a couple of things curious about said smokey. Besides birdshot peppered in the bear’s fat, French discovered a spent .45-caliber bullet resting under the fur between the bear’s eyes.

“The bear had been shot at a quartering-away angle. The bullet hit the bear (presumably from ground level) a couple inches behind the eye and passed behind it, exiting between the eyes – but the bear lived. The bullet didn’t penetrate the brain cavity,” said the magazine. “Who knows who shot the bear or what the circumstances were, but somebody has a good story – and we’ll probably never know it.”

In the below image, you can see the bulge of the .45 slug between the animal’s eyes.

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Categories: Gun News

Illinois man pulls gun on postal worker over minor traffic violation

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 07:45

Stephen Casica

A 43-year-old man from Illinois is facing multiple charges following an incident with a mail carrier in a Chicago suburb in which he shoved a mail cart into the mail carrier then pulled a gun on him.

Stephen Casica was walking his dog Thursday morning when he witnessed the mail carrier roll through a stop sign in his neighborhood. Casica and his dog then followed the 32-year-old mail carrier until he stopped the vehicle nearby.

Once the postal worker was outside of his vehicle, Casica confronted him and an argument ensued. However, the altercation turned physical when Casica shoved a mail cart into the worker, then pulled out a 9 mm handgun and aimed it at the mail carrier, who, in turn, raised his hands and slowly stepped away from Casica.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto, Casica threatened to shoot the postal worker before finally walking away with his dog.

Before Casica returned to his home, he was confronted by authorities. According to an arrest report obtained by DNA Info, upon seeing the officers, Casica put his hands up and said, “I was the one who did it.”

Casica was arrested on charges of battery, unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and violating the conceal-carried act. Although he possessed a valid FOID card, Casica did not have a concealed carry license.

[ DNA Info ]

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Categories: Gun News

Arizona court decides gun is legally ‘loaded’ even with an empty chamber

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 07:30

A unanimous three-judge panel upheld the conviction on an appeal of an Arizona man who argued state law is vague on what constitutes an unloaded weapon.

The Arizona Court of Appeals decided last week to uphold a weapon charge brought against Bo Lucas Johnson, who was arrested for making what was interpreted to be a threatening statement while handling a gun inside his vehicle in a school parking lot.

Johnson’s appeal argued the state’s law on misconduct with a weapon that is not loaded and carried inside a vehicle is unclear, and thus unenforceable since he had a magazine in the pistol, but nothing chambered.

“The superior court concluded that the word ‘loaded’ means ‘containing ammunition,’ and we agree,” said Appeals Court Judge Philip Espinosa for the majority, falling back on a 2016 Pima County court ruling in Johnson’s case.

Johnson’s conviction involved a September 2014 altercation after a two-day running argument with another individual on the road. Encountering each other at an area school parking lot on the second day, the person Johnson was arguing with approached his truck and heard Johnson, who was in his vehicle handling a gun, say something to the effect of “driving like that will get you shot.”

The other person called the police that lead to an initial three-count charge on Johnson and ultimate conviction on two of them in a Green Valley Justice Court.

Johnson appealed, saying Arizona’s law was unconstitutionally vague when compared to Utah and California, which specifies if a gun is loaded or not to include chambered rounds.

To this, Espinosa held the language of Arizona’s law “provides people of ordinary intelligence with sufficient notice and a definite warning that deadly weapons, which [the statute] expressly defines to include firearms, are not permitted on school property.”

While acknowledging other states have chosen to give their own definition of what constitutes a “loaded” firearm, the panel noted the Arizona Legislature did not and thus the “common sense ‘containing ammunition’ is the term’s most logical interpretation,” therefore concluding Arizona’s law is not unconstitutionally vague.

Johnson may continue his appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun stolen from car recovered after more than 7 years

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 07:15

A traffic stop in Jacksonville on Monday led to the recovery of a gun that was reported stolen more than seven years ago.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the gun was stolen in June 2010 from an unlocked car. Some seven years later, the gun still remained on the streets of Jacksonville. The department noted that in the last two years, over 1,000 guns have been reported stolen from unlocked vehicles.

“These are guns being used in crimes in your community,” the sheriff’s office wrote in Facebook post. “This is UNACCEPTABLE. We can do better.”

The sheriff’s office also seized the opportunity to remind residents to secure valuables in some place other than an unattended car.

[ Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office ]

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Categories: Gun News