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General Gun News
Estimated gun sales dipped marginally in September, according to federal data.
Dealers processed more than 1.8 million applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month. NICS checks serve as an industry proxy for firearm sales. Guns.com removes permit applications and rechecks from the monthly total to more accurately pinpoint sales, though the measurement isn’t exact.
Estimated sales fell just short of 940,000 last month — a 13 percent decrease over 2016, the biggest on record for gun sales. Month over month, however, sales appear relatively flat, with September trailing August by just over 10,000 transfers.
Dealers processed checks for more 478,000 handguns and 417,000 long guns, according to federal data.
Its been a “difficult” summer for gun makers and retailers still standing in the shadow of 2016. Since the November election, stocks for Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger and Co. fell 50 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Both companies blame weak demand, with Smith & Wesson’s CEO predicting as much as a 17 percent decline in annual profits through 2018. Ruger’s second quarter net sales dropped 22 percent and its quarterly earnings fell by almost half compared to 2016.
Top industry executives say firearms promotions make it difficult to determine what the “new normal” for sales will look under a gun-friendly presidential administration, though several predict a return to historical norms: a slow summer followed by a gradual uptick in fall as hunting seasons begin across the country. Sales typically peak in the winter months, beginning during the holiday shopping season and lasting through February.
“While these conditions may be challenging in the short-term they are not new to us,” said James Debney, CEO of American Outdoor Brands, the holding company for Smith & Wesson. “It’s a very dynamic environment right now. You do not know what a competitor is about to do next in terms of their promotional activity. You walk into an independent retailer or some of the bigger box stores right now and sometimes it’s tough to see the top-of-the-glass counter because of the so many promotion cards out there.”
While studies believed as many as 600,000 unregistered firearms are floating around the continent, the three-month amnesty which ended last week saw far fewer turned in.
Under threat of a fine of up to A$280,000 ($219,000), 14 years in jail, and a criminal record for being otherwise caught with an unregistered or illegal gun, Australia’s National Firearms Amnesty concluded on Oct. 1. Australian media is reporting that 51,461 firearms of all type were turned over to police in the three month period, up from the 26,000 tallied by early September.
Announced in June by Australia’s Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan of the Liberal Party, the program sought to get unwanted firearms out of homes in the nation of 24 million that had turned over 661,000 firearms in 1996 after the National Firearm Act banned several types and required strict licensing and registration.
“This is as much about giving a family a chance to get rid of an old heirloom as it is about getting rid of guns off our streets,” said Keenan.
According to a 2016 report by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, there were 2.89 million legally registered firearms in the country in the hands of 816,000 license holders. Meanwhile, the illicit market is believed to contain somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 unregistered guns.
Many of the items turned in were antiques or historical pieces including a rare gun camera of the type used to train World War I-era aircraft crews.
About half of the guns forked over during the event, as noted by officials last month, came from New South Wales which contains about a quarter of the country’s residents and Sydney, Australia’s most populous city.
In Tasmania, police last week reported about 2,000 firearms surrendered during the amnesty including a Norinco NZ75 9mm pistol reported stolen in 1995, a pair of SKS rifles, and a “150-year-old antique Belgian Lefaucheux 9mm pinfire revolver in good condition.” Officials advise they hope to donate it to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
Among other guns saved from the scrappers, the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum has been busy helping Australians register guns so they can legally keep them rather than turn them in, and have been accepting otherwise unwanted firearms to add to their holdings.
This week Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop offered that country’s experience with guns as a model for the U.S. to follow in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead.
Meanwhile, a study performed by Gun Control Australia has found “no Australian state or territory has at any stage fully complied with the 1996 or 2002 firearm resolutions, which collectively formed the national firearms agreement,” in a report expected this week.
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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wants officials at West Point to revoke the commission of an officer who tweeted photos of himself with pro-communist messages while in uniform.
Rubio wrote to acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy this week, calling the images an “extreme embarrassment” for the U.S. military, according to the Military Times.
“It is extremely concerning that someone who so often expressed such hostile views towards the United States’ system of government was able to obtain a commission,” he wrote. “(His) revolutionary ideas were harbored long before he was commissioned as an Army second lieutenant. Were West Point administrators or faculty aware of his views and behavior?”
In one photo, 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone is seen wearing a Che Guevara shirt under his uniform. In another photo, he reveals that the words “communism will win” are written under his hat. The photos were taken at his graduation in May 2016.
Rapone is currently serving in the field with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. The division has opened an investigation in to his political activities.
“As figures of public trust, members of the military must exhibit exemplary conduct and are prohibited from engaging in certain expressions of political speech in uniform,” said Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Tonya Stokes.
In 2011, Rapone was deployed to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, but was later “removed for standards” from the regiment. That’s when he headed off to West Point.
He’s been awarded with the Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Achievement Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a single campaign star, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
He posted the photos to Twitter a couple weekends ago in support of NFL sideline protests of the national anthem. “In case there was any lingering doubt, hasta la victoria siempre,” Rapone wrote in one post.
“Hasta la victoria siempre” is a phrase linked to guerrilla leader Che Guevara, which means “until victory, always.”
“Second Lieutenant Rapone‘s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army,” a statement said after the photos were published.
Rubio this week wrote that “posts on social media by Rapone broadcast his devotion to the communist cause and his plans to infiltrate and sabotage the military.”
“His conduct, writings, and sympathies for American adversaries predates his commission in the Army,” Rubio said. “Therefore, I respectfully request the United States Army immediately nullify Rapone’s commission and pursue all available disciplinary options under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Rapone should be required to pay back in full the cost of his education, and the United States Military Academy should consider revoking his degree.”
Rubio also wants West Point to provide relevant information on West Point’s efforts to “ensure cadets who actively support the destruction of our government do not waste more taxpayer funds or prevent a more worthy candidate from attending.”
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A British antiques dealer is on trial for allegedly selling guns and ammo to gang members who used the weapons in over 100 shootings.
Metro News reported 66-year-old Paul Edmunds has been accused of manufacturing tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition in his garage. The ammo was then allegedly sold to criminals and used in fatal shootings across Great Britain.
The elderly antiques dealer was also charged with illegally importing £250,000 worth of guns and loads of ammunition from the U.S. and then dealing the weapons to a violent Birmingham gang. According to court documents, Edmunds made up to £375,000 from dealings with the gang.
Bullets that Edmunds allegedly dealt were found at more than 100 crime scenes around England, including the shooting of a police helicopter in the 2011 London riots.
Edmunds, who has denied the charges, was investigated after officials with the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) started to notice more and more pre-war handguns at crime scenes. The investigators also noticed consistent tool markings on the ammunition found at the crime scenes.
Prosecutors at the Birmingham Crown Court alleged Edmunds manufactured the bullets at three armories in his own home. The bullets and guns were then dealt to the gangs by middleman Mohinder Surdhar.
The trial is still ongoing and is expected to last six weeks.
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The National Rifle Association’s leadership appeared on Fox News talk shows on Thursday night to reiterate points made in their statement calling for federal regulators to review gun accessories that allow semi-auto firearms to perform like full-auto firearms.
Both NRA lobbying director Chris Cox and executive director Wayne LaPierre stressed that they did not advise for legislation banning such devices, called bump stocks, but rather requested the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine whether or not they comply with federal law.
“What we’ve said is ATF needs to do their job. ATF needs to look and if there’s technology that’s come to the market that allow for a semi-automatic rifle to function as a fully-automatic rifle, they need to be regulated differently,” Cox told host Tucker Carlson. “We didn’t talk about banning anything. We talked about ATF going back and reviewing whether or not these are in compliance with federal law.”
LaPierre also explained to conservative host Sean Hannity that the NRA never said “ban” nor did it say “confiscate,” language often used to describe desired results of gun control measures.
“The Obama Administration a couple years ago approves this device called a ‘bump stock’ — if you take a look at it, I mean, any look at it, it takes a semi-automatic firearm and makes it perform like a fully-automatic firearm. It makes it function like one. And what the NRA has said is we aught to take a look at that, see if it’s in compliance with federal law and if it’s worthy of additional regulation,” LaPierre said.
On social media, the public — presumably NRA members — responded with results just as polarizing as the gun debate itself, with some thanking the organization for a measured, political response while others characterized it as the gun lobby caving to pressure. Yet, another layer to the conversation is some see the only purpose of a bump fire stock is to circumvent federal laws that regulate machine guns.
ATF determined at least twice since 2010 the bump fire design did not violate the National Firearms Act because the user still needs to depress the trigger every time he or she wants to fire a shot. In other words, the device does not change the mechanics of a gun to allow a shooter to fire multiple shots by holding down the trigger.
Pro-gun groups also had mixed views, but most said they would oppose any proposal to ban bump fire stocks. Gun Owners of America tweeted to Hannity that “GOA has a different perspective on bump stocks than other groups,” and released a statement opposing any such measure. The California-based Firearm Policy Coalition said gun accessories are protected by the Second Amendment much like an iPhone is covered by the First Amendment. However, the Second Amendment Foundation said it would “support a productive dialogue concerning “bump stocks.”
Political opponents also criticized the NRA’s response, suggesting the organization should support a measure to ban bump fire stocks. “The gun lobby has for years boosted devices that effectively convert rifles into machine guns and boasted that you can get away with guns that mimic fully-automatic fire, so it’s hardly a surprise that they’re calling for a review of bump stocks by a friendly regulatory agency rather than legislation from Congress,” said John Feinblatt, Everytown president.
The NRA released the statement after Republican leaders in both the House and Senate offered to join Democrats to support legislation to ban bump stocks or an openness to hear such measures. However, it’s unclear what exactly the legislation would say.
U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat who has proposed major gun control bills in recent history, proposed a measure to ban bump stocks this week. She said it would update federal law to close loopholes. “Legislation would make crystal clear that Congress is banning all devices that allow a weapon to achieve an automatic rate of fire, regardless of how a weapon is altered,” she said in a statement.
Bump stocks were thrust into public forum after a gunman equipped the item to a dozen or so guns and opened fire into a crowd, killing 58 and injuring almost 500 in Las Vegas on Sunday.
An Iraqi fighter known as “the sheikh of snipers” was killed last weekend in a battle with the Islamic State.
Abu Tahsin al-Salhi had been fighting for more than four decades in the region, beginning with the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. He was killed in northwestern Iraq while trying to reclaim the town of Hawija from ISIS fighters, according to the Daily Mail.
Tahsin had a grey beard, wore fingerless gloves, rode an off-road motorbike, and used an Austrian-manufactured Steyr rifle. He fought in as many as five armed conflicts, including Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran in the 1980’s, and again during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. When US troops came to topple Saddam’s regime in 2003, Tahsin fought against America. As ISIS rose, he quickly turned his sights on them, even going to Syria to fight ISIS there before heading back to Iraq to defend his homeland in 2014.
“This pushes him back a meter before putting him down,” he said, talking about his sniper rifle in a video produced last year. “I’m relaxed, my mind is relaxed. When I get my rotation, I just want to get back here. Last time they gave me a month off and after 12 days I came back.”
In the video, Tahsin and his spotter looked out over a valley and spotted another sniper and his spotter. Peering through his scope, he lined up his shot and pulled the trigger.
“Sweet. Sweet. Sweet. Prayers to Mohammed and his family,” he said, after confirming a kill.
“Today, I gunned down two of them (IS fighters). That’s ridiculous — the minimum for me is four,’ he said.
All told, Tahsin bragged about killing at least 320 ISIS jihadists, with some estimates as high as 350. He had been a member of the Popular Mobilization Forces, which have “a semi-official relationship with Iraqi military and security institutions.”
A funeral was held for Tahsin on Saturday. He was 63 years old.
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A 33-year-old man was shot Saturday morning while attacking an armored car guard in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood during an attempted robbery, according to reports.
As of Tuesday, the suspect, identified as Jerry Adams, remained hospitalized, although his current condition is not known. Police charged Adams with attempted robbery, and committing and threatening physical violence to a person and property.
Police say Adams slipped on a yellow and orange safety vest and then picked up a sledgehammer as a Garda World armored truck arrived at a currency exchange around 8:25 a.m. According to the Chicago Tribune, the driver reported seeing Adams through the window of the vehicle, but did not believe he was suspicious.
But when the driver exited the armored truck and started to make his way to Azteca, where he was scheduled to deliver some $240,000 in cash, Adams approached him, then struck the driver in the back and neck with the sledgehammer.
The driver then turned to see Adams picking up the sledgehammer from off of the sidewalk, presumably to take another swing. At that point, the driver drew his service weapon and fired at least four rounds, striking Adams. Several witnesses reported seeing Adams run away while still wearing the safety vest and carrying the hammer.
Police responded to calls about the incident, arrived on the scene within about five minutes, and found Adams standing outside of a Chevy Astro van parked nearby but running. Adams was still wearing the vest and visibly injured. He eventually told police he had been shot, and was transported to the hospital. The sledgehammer used in the attack and attempted robbery was found inside the van, as was blood from Adams’ injuries.
The driver of the armored car was also taken to the hospital, and although his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, they are considered life-changing.
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The National Rifle Association’s leadership appeared on Fox News on Thursday night to reiterate points they made in a statement earlier that day about bump fire stocks. The organizations expressed an openness to banning a bump fire stock, which can modify an AR rifle to mimic full-auto firing, by asking federal regulators to review the device to see if it complies with federal law.
In a joint statement, NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre and chief lobbyist Chris Cox said:
“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
Stag Arms expands its 3-gun MSR platform series, announcing the addition of the new Stag 15 3Gun Elite rifle.
Chambered in 5.56 NATO/.223, the Stag 15 3-Gun Elite is available in both left-handed and right-handed models. Featuring the first AR-15 free floated handguard designed by Stag Arms, the Stag 15 16.5-inch M-LOK Slimline, the rifle’s handguard offers an ultra-slim profile that increases ergonomics while offering a full-length picatinny rail on top with rail sections at the 3, 6 and 9 positions.
The new rifle tips scales at just over 7 pounds with an 18-inch stainless steel, fluted barrel. Equipped with a Geissele Super 3-Gun Trigger, the rifle is also outfitted with a Magpul Enhanced Trigger Guard, ACS Stock and MOE Pistol Grip.
The Stag 15 3Gun Elite will enter the market with a suggested retail price of $1,399.99 for the right-handed version, while the left handed model will fetch $1,4399.99. Stag Arms is currently offering introductory pricing starting at $1,049.
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday the expansion of programs aimed to crackdown on violent crime and drug trafficking and also vowed to expedite the process for tracing guns used in shootings.
Sessions plans to reinvigorate and expand the Project Safe Neighborhoods program to fight drug trafficking and violent crime in neighborhoods across the country, the Justice Department said. The Attorney General issued a memo to United States Attorneys directing prosecutors to implement the enhanced crime reduction program.
“According to the FBI, the violent crime rate has risen by nearly seven percent over the past two years, and the homicide rate has risen by more than 20 percent,” Sessions said in a statement. “We cannot be complacent or hope that this is just an anomaly: we have a duty to take action.
“Fortunately, we have a President who understands that and has directed his administration to reduce crime. The Department of Justice today announces the foundation of our plan to reduce crime: prioritizing Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that has been proven to work.”
Sessions went on to note that the program is meant to be the main piece in the department’s crime reduction strategy and has been enhanced and modified since its inception in 2001.
“Taking what we have learned since the program began in 2001, we have updated it and enhanced it, emphasizing the role of our U.S. Attorneys, the promise of new technologies, and above all, partnership with local communities,” he said. “With these changes, I believe that this program will be more effective than ever and help us fulfill our mission to make America safer.”
America’s top prosecutor also noted the DOJ will work to fast-track the process for tracing firearms used in shootings throughout the country. By the end of the year, the department intends to expand the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). Any firearm submitted for tracing that is linked to a shooting incident in the NIBIN system will be designated as “urgent” and the requestor given information within 24 hours instead of the normal five to six business days.
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The District of Columbia has decided not to push its luck and declined to send a case overturning the city’s strict “may-issue” policy for issuing concealed carry permits to the Supreme Court.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced Thursday that, rather than lose a challenge in the nation’s highest court that could put comparable laws such as in California, New Jersey, and New York in jeopardy, the city would instead remove the controversial “good reason” requirement, which has seen more permit applications rejected than approved.
“In consultation with Mayor Bowser, Chairman Mendelson, Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Allen and multiple stakeholders, and after careful consideration, we reached consensus that abiding by the D.C. Circuit’s ruling was the wisest course of action to protect public safety in the District and nationwide,” Racine said. “Therefore, I have decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court.”
The ruling came in the combined cases of Wrenn v. DC, backed by the Second Amendment Foundation, and Grace v. DC, backed by the Pink Pistols organization. Both sought to bar the city from applying the vague “good reason” test as part of its gun licensing program, which required applicants to submit documented threats and protective orders to convince the police chief they needed to carry a handgun.
In a 2-1 ruling in July, a panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals issued a permanent injunction prohibiting city authorities from enforcing the test, which effectively barred most people from exercising Second Amendment rights outside their home.
Though Racine, fortified with briefs filed by other may-issue jurisdictions and gun control groups, kept the policy while he sought a retrial, not a single judge in the circuit voted to overturn the ruling, leaving Racine to either send the case to the Supreme Court or move to stop enforcing the policy.
Backers of the challenge felt D.C. sacrificed their gun law so other states with similar practices could hang on to theirs.
“We believe the city was under intense pressure to take the hit and not appeal the ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb in an email to Guns.com. “If the District had lost the case before the high court, it would have dealt a fatal blow to similar requirements in California, New Jersey, Maryland and New York, for example, and that prospect had anti-gun politicians in those states quaking in their shoes.”
However, Gottlieb pointed out that, when contrasted by other circuit rulings — for instance in the Peruta/Richards case in California before the U.S. 9th Circuit — the courts are now split, which means at some point the Supreme Court would have to weigh in and rule on the conflicting opinions.
“Common sense says that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause will not allow that conflict to continue,” Gottlieb said.
With D.C.’s “good reason” test on the way out, Racine cautions that applicants for a city-issued carry permit still need to comply with other facets of the city’s permitting program including training and background checks. Prior applicants who were denied a permit over the good reason clause can submit an updated application without a fee, while those who have applications already pending but have not received a determination do not need to resubmit.
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The ACLU of Illinois filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Chicago Police Department, alleging the city has failed to properly train officers to interact with people who have mental illnesses or disabilities.
In a 53-page complaint, the ACLU, and a handful of other organizations named as plaintiffs, cited a damning Justice Department report released earlier this year in the waning days of the Obama administration as evidence for their claim.
“The DOJ’s 2017 report found that the CPD does not have the training or vision to ensure safe encounters with people with disabilities,” said Karen Sheley, director of police practices at the ACLU of Illinois.
The DOJ’s 13 month investigation found that CPD engages in a “pattern or practice of using excessive force, including deadly force.” In its suit, the ACLU says the “brutality is…magnified for people with disabilities, who disproportionately interact with and are more likely to experience violence by the CPD.”
An estimated one-third to one-half of people killed by police in America have a disability, according to the suit, and approximately a quarter of people killed have a mental illness.
“The City of Chicago deploys CPD officers armed with guns and Tasers but not deployed with critical de-escalation skills, and in doing so subjects residents, police officers, and bystanders to harm,” the suit says. “When people with disabilities are subjected to CPD’s use of force, the role that their disability played is often either ignored or cited to blame the victim.”
The department has implemented de-escalation and crisis intervention training in the last year, skills that would help address the allegations in the ACLU’s suit. Still, Sheley said reform efforts need wider input from those directly affected.
“Our goal is to have community members who are most impacted by these issues at the table ensuring that the reforms are meaningful and real, and that they are taking hold over time,” Sheley said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The city doesn’t track data on use of force incidents against people with disabilities, according to the lawsuit. But some governments do track that information.
“In 2012, the Albuquerque, New Mexico Public Defender Department reported that approximately 75% of recent police-involved shootings had a ‘mental health context.’ In Portland, Oregon, 75% of the people shot and killed by police over a three-year period were affected by mental illness,” the complaint says.
In Chicago, officials signed on to an agreement in January that outlined how the department would enter into a consent decree that would guide police department reforms. But a week after officials signed that document, President Trump was sworn in and he appointed Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general. By March, Sessions announced he’d be pulling back on the consent decree process, a strategy often deployed by the previous administration to address Constitutional abuses on the part of police.
In the months since, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shifted his approach and started working on an out-of-court agreement for police reforms. Then in August, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit to force Emanuel’s hand on a consent decree. The plaintiffs in the ACLU suit have watched these political theatrics, and they’re concerned.
“Almost nine months after the DOJ issued its findings, neither an independent monitor nor a plan for reform has been ordered or agreed upon, and disability is not even acknowledged in the lawsuit the City has publicly promised to settle,” ACLU lawyers wrote in the complaint.
“The City cannot continue to evade judicial review of its unconstitutional policies and practices by spending tens of millions of dollars annually to privately settle victims’ claims,” the suit says. “The DOJ found that the necessary policing reforms ‘will likely not happen or be sustained without the reform tools of an independent monitoring team and a court order.’ Officials across the political spectrum agree.”
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Brownells expands its selection of pistol accessory options, announcing new drop-in slides for Glock model handguns.
Designed to fit Gen 3 frames in both the Glock 17/22 and Glock 19/23 sizes, Brownells Glock slides are crafted for easy racking and “press check” in addition to allowing users the ability to add an electronic sight.
The new slides boast compatibility with both stock Glock pistols as well as custom builds. The slides feature special serrations and cuts and provide shooters with the choice of a slot for a Trijicon RMR or similar sight. In addition, some slides offer a window cut in the top to aid in cooling, enhance the overall look and lighten the pistol.
Crafted from stainless steel, the slides are finished in a tough Nitride coating that resists heat, wear and abrasion. Users should note that the Brownells slides are stripped and do require additional parts to fully complete.
Brownells provides a total of eight options for Gen 3 Glock owners with prices starting at $199.99.
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Jeff Quinn of Gunblast has helped thousands of people choose which gun to buy next. His reviews are thorough and complete. In fact, it was one of his reviews many years ago that got me hooked on guns.
My interest in firearms began at an early age. Like most kids of my generation, I grew up watching TV Westerns such as ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘Wagon Train’, along with the Western movies of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. In those films, guns were used by good men to fight against bad men. There was a lot of truth in the messages of those shows.
The gun is inherently neither good nor evil, but is a tool by which good men can prevail against evil. A gun in the hands of someone who possesses the skills and the will to use it makes the playing field more even unlike in past centuries or in places today where guns are not owned by the citizenry. In those places, the weak are subject to the strong, the old are subject to the young, and the individual is subject to the gang. A firearm at the very least instills in us the knowledge that, even if we lose, we had a fighting chance.
In the US, our Constitution guarantees that our God-given right to own and carry guns will prevail, and our founders put that guarantee in place so that the people of this nation would never again be subject to a repressive government. The government, any government, by nature prefers subjects to citizens, and our rights are assured only as long as the citizens are not willing to sell our rights for a bit of promised security.
Read more perspectives on America’s gun culture in Ben Philippi’s book “We The People.”
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Share prices for most gun makers ended on a high note Thursday as the ongoing investigation into the Las Vegas shooting triggers swings in the market.
Sturm, Ruger and Co. and Vista Outdoor made small gains after the National Rifle Association said the federal government should reexamine bump stocks — a legal modification to rifles mimicking automatic fire. American Outdoor Brands slipped less than one percent Thursday after posting a 4 percent increase 24 hours after the shooting.
“We didn’t talk about banning anything,” Chris Cox, NRA-ILA’s executive director, told Tucker Carlson during an interview Thursday on Fox News. “We talked about the ATF going back and looking at if these (bump stocks) comply with federal law.”
Bump stocks made headlines this week after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed 12 of the modification devices were found in 64-year-old Stephen Paddock’s two-room suite on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay and Casino. Paddock perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in American history Sunday when he fired into a crowded country music festival from the windows of his hotel room, killing 58 and wounding 489 others.
Stocks for ShotSpotter — described as a “global leader in gunfire detection and location technology” on its website — jumped nearly 12 percent Thursday after the NRA’s public statement. Congressional Republicans likewise expressed public support for considering a bump stock ban, or at the very least, a review of the devices.
“Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time, apparently this allows you to take a semi-automatic and turn it into a fully automatic, so clearly that’s something we need to look into,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.
Authorities still don’t know why Paddock, a retired accountant and frequent gambler, attacked the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Local and federal investigators found no ties to international terrorism while the gunman’s brother, Eric Paddock, insists he wasn’t particularly religious or partisan.
“What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Wednesday. “He meticulously planned on the worst domestic attack in United States history.”
New details in the case have emerged over the last four days indicating Paddock may have planned to target the Life Is Beautiful music festival a week earlier after evidence connected him to an Airbnb rental at a condominium within the festival’s 18-block boundary. Lombardo wouldn’t speculate why exactly the gunman rented the rooms.
He would confirm, however, Paddock checked into his room at Mandalay Bay on Sept. 28 where spent the next three days stocking his room with an arsenal of nearly two dozen firearms, including 12 modified with bump stocks. Authorities also found chemicals used to make explosives and 1,600 rounds of ammunition in his car.
“Our resolve is strong,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said during a press conference Wednesday. “We will get to the bottom of this, no matter how long it takes.”
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An investigation is underway after a man accused of robbing a McDonald’s in College Park, Georgia, last week was found shot to death outside of the business just moments after the crime occurred.
Witnesses say two suspects, one of whom was wearing a mask and at least one carrying a gun, entered the restaurant just after 9 p.m. and robbed the business and patrons of cash and valuables. The duo took off with the loot and headed toward the back of the property. But moments after they walked out, witnesses reported hearing numerous gunshots.
One of the suspects, whose name was not released, was found dead behind the dumpster. He had been shot to death and some of the items stolen during the robbery were found close to him. A mask was also found nearby, but no weapon was recovered.
Authorities are hoping surveillance video will aid in the investigation and help determine how – or why – the suspect was killed and whether his accomplice was the one who pulled the trigger.
[ Fox 5 ]
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Democrats on Capitol Hill announced a proposal on Thursday with the help of gun control groups that would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
The measure, to be introduced in the Senate by Connecticut lawmakers Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and in the House by California Rep. Adam Schiff and Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty, would strip away the decade-old safeguard passed by Congress that insulates the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits.
“Making the gun industry immune from lawsuits effectively handed them a license to kill,” said Murphy in a statement. “Toy manufacturers are held legally responsible if their neglect or irresponsibility hurts people, so why on earth aren’t gun manufacturers?”
In October 2005, President George W. Bush signed PLCAA after it had passed through Congress by better than a 2-to-1 margin. The act prohibits both lawful firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes have been committed with their products. Democrats have repeatedly attempted to roll back the protection for several years with little result. An identical measure filed last year by the same set of lawmakers failed to move out of committee.
Gun control groups contend PLCAA is a sweetheart deal that costs lives. “More than 300,000 Americans have been killed with guns since Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” said Elizabeth Avore, legal and policy director at Everytown, in a statement issued through Esty’s office. “The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act would right that wrong and make the gun industry play by the same rules as every other American business.”
Gun industry trade groups argue the protections are needed to protect against junk lawsuits designed to run licensed gun makers and dealers out of business while it still allows for legitimate liability claims such as in cases of defective products.
“The PLCAA exists because the Brady Center, greedy trial lawyers, and big city mayors got together in the late 1990’s to circumvent Congress and impose gun control regulation through litigation through settlements or bankrupt the industry with massive judgment,” Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Guns.com previously.
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Two people are in police custody in relation to a Snapchat video that shows the couple driving in a car while shooting at random houses in Houston.
“Those people are fools,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo at a press conference Tuesday. “People think they’re funny. They think they’re cute. They don’t realize that the only fame they’re going to get is when they get convicted of two felony counts and end up in state prison.”
Michael Cuellar, who is also known as local rap artist Money Mike, turned himself Tuesday after Sierra Tarbutton was arrested one day prior. According to authorities, Cuellar is a known drug dealer, and Tarbutton is said to have ties to the cartel and once threatened a police officer’s young daughters, noting they would make “cute little tombstones.”
Cuellar is being held on a $200,000 bond, while Tarbutton’s bond was denied.
“We want to let people in this community know that we take dangerous conduct, reckless conduct seriously, and when you’re foolish enough to put it on social media,” Acevedo said, “I assure you that the Houston Police Department and all of our public safety partners are on social media looking for these fools.”
[ ABC 13 ]
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A former Texas police officer received nine months of probation for killing an unarmed man after a police chase in 2012.
Patrick Wayne Tuter, 37, pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor count of discharging a firearm, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The incident began when Tuter spotted a white pickup truck just after midnight on Aug. 31, 2012. The truck had been involved in a police chase just two days earlier. When the driver, 25-year-old Michael Vincent Allen, made an evasive turn at a red light, the chase began. They reached speeds of 100 miles an hour before stopping in a cul-de-sac.
Fellow officers testified at the officer’s trial last year that they were more frightened of Tuter than of the man he shot and killed. Authorities say he fired 41 shots at Allen, reloading his gun at least twice. Three of the rounds hit Allen, killing him.
Prosecutors called Tuter a rogue cop who “acted recklessly” when he opened fire in a neighborhood. He was the only officer to open fire during the ordeal. One officer on the scene later testified that he thought there was an active gun battle happening, when, in fact, Tuter was the only person shooting.
Officer William Norris testified that it was the closest he’d come to being shot. He said he was close to the action, and the suspect had his hands on the steering wheel. He said he didn’t fear for his life until Tuter opened fire.
Defense attorneys argued that Tuter feared for his life because he saw Allen reach down for something in the vehicle. Detectives later found meth and a pipe in Allen’s truck.
“He sees anger. He sees a man that is determined. He sees the look of death and anger. He sees the look of a man on meth,” said defense attorney Robert Rogers during the trial.
In the end, the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict, and it ended in a mistrial. A retrial was set for this week. Tuter was fired from the Garland Police Department in 2013.
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Thousands came together Monday at a church in Las Vegas for a candlelight vigil for the victims of a mass shooting Sunday night during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
Canyon Ridge Christian Church broadcasted the service on their Facebook page, including a short video of the more than 3,500 people in attendance singing “Amazing Grace” in unison, which has since been viewed over 425,000 times.
The church noted that in addition to the 3,500 physically present for the service, many more people from all across the world joined them online to pray for the victims.
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