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The Virginia Citizens Defense League has their lawyers looking into Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s ban declared last week on firearms at a controversial monument to Robert E. Lee.
The Lee Monument in Richmond is owned by the state and McAuliffe last week announced emergency regulations banning guns and other weapons, limiting crowd sizes, requiring permits for rallies, and other restrictions in the aftermath of a deadly incident at a similar monument in Charlottesville earlier this year.
“We believe these regulations can be a model for localities across Virginia as they consider how to approach these types of events in the future,” said McAuliffe in announcing the regulations, which will be in effect for 18 months while state officials work on a final regulation.
The VCDL, in a statement posted Monday, argues there was no violence at the last rally at the statue to the Confederate general in Richmond, although guns were allowed, and says McAuliffe is overstepping his powers on the issue.
“The Governor has issued another ’emergency’ regulation prohibiting guns during rallies by tying the condition of ‘no guns or weapons’ to issuance of a permit,” said the group. “VCDL takes no position on the monument itself, but we do take umbrage at the Governor thinking he can prohibit guns there considering that he has no legal authority to do so from the General Assembly.” As such they have their legal team reviewing the matter.
The statue to Lee, erected in 1890, is a focal point for Richmond and is the largest monument in the Monument Avenue Historic District. McAuliffe temporarily banned events at the location earlier this summer until the emergency regulations were formulated.
“Until a full review process has been concluded, it is a threat to public safety to allow permit-requiring activity to occur in the absence of such sensible regulations that should be implemented to govern all expressive activity at the Lee Monument, no matter its content,” said McAuliffe in his executive order issued earlier this year.
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CZ-USA shocked Scorpion fans Monday when the company dropped details on a new reflex suppressed Scorpion model.
Announced with little fanfare from CZ, a mock-up of the suppressed Scorpion debuted on Instagram followed by an actual picture of the gun at work in the hands of a shooter.
The fully welded S2 Ti Reflex can sits underneath a HB Industries handguard, extended past the Scorpion’s muzzle by roughly 6-inches. Tipping scales at just over 9-pounds, the S2 Ti Reflex features a 2-inch reflex blast chamber which the company says gives the suppressor similar volume to that of larger cans but without the added bulk.
CZ says the upgraded Scorpion is capable of tossing out 147 grain defensive loads at well under 130 dB. The S2 Ti Reflex equipped Scorpion came as a result of the increased use of the Scorpion among law enforcement. The company said the said they sensed the need for suppressed units and began working on a silencer model conducive for the Scorpion.
“The can in question was something that we couldn’t source in the marketplace, requiring us to make it ourselves. Teaming up with the airflow specialists at Aerocharger, we were able to achieve the suppression of larger, bulkier cans but in a much lighter, shorter package,” CZ said in a statement.
Available in either a stainless steel or titanium design, the new Scorpions have a launch date of 2018; though no specific time frame has been given as of yet. The stainless steel variant touts a price tag of $599 while the titanium version slips in at $929.
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Slide Fire began accepting new orders for its signature product, the bump stock, and other firearm accessories Monday.
The company announced its return to market after a month-long hiatus — the second it took since the shooting in Las Vegas Oct. 1 — in an email promotion last week advertising Cyber Monday sales.
As of Tuesday evening, the website still had “limited inventory” available for sale, promising to remove the option for purchase after each item sells out.
Bump stocks, a legal gun modification known to increase the rate of fire, gained notoriety last month after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed 12 of the devices were found in the Las Vegas shooter’s two-room suite at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Some 58 people died and more than 500 were wounded when the 64-year-old gunman fired into a country music festival from that suite, 32 stories above the Vegas strip. The discovery of the bump stocks prompted public backlash and a wave of proposed bans on Capitol Hill.
Major retailers, including Walmart and Cabela’s, pulled the devices from store shelves in the days after the shooting. Slide Fire, likewise, suspended new orders on its website for most of the month before briefly resuming sales during the first week of November.
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Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard has mailed letters to area medical marijuana patients with registered firearms, saying they needed to give up their guns and ammo or turn them in to police — and the clock is ticking.
About 30 individuals with cannabis cards have been sent the letters so far, citing state firearm law as the reason to get rid of their guns, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
“Your medical marijuana use disqualifies you from ownership of firearms and ammunition,” the letter says, advising the gun owner has 30 days to surrender their firearms, gun permit and any ammunition to the agency or “otherwise transfer ownership.” Those wanting to register for a permit in the future, required in the state for gun possession, would need “clearance” from a doctor.
While some areas have pushed mandatory gun registration going as far back as the Sullivan Law in New York in 1911, and just six states currently require registration of some types of firearms, Hawaii is the only one to require the registration of all firearms through the county police chief — thus providing the Honolulu PD with a ready list of those with legal firearms in their jurisdiction.
Leafly News, a media outlet that covers marijuana legalization topics, confirmed the letters had been sent out and advises the news from Hawaii “may represent the first time a law enforcement agency has proactively sought out state-registered medical marijuana patients and ordered them to surrender their guns.”
That’s not to say the federal government and other states have been friendly to the concept of legal marijuana and guns.
Since 2000, Nevada has granted marijuana registration cards exempting those who hold them from state prosecution for marijuana-related crimes and one cardholder — refused a gun sale in 2011 solely because she had a card — filed suit in federal court against the government on First, Second and Fifth Amendment grounds. Last September the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld lower court rulings in her case, saying that refusing gun sales to otherwise law-abiding cannabis patients does not violate their Second Amendment rights.
Last November, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released a revised version of Form 4473, explicitly warning gun buyers “the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
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From the gun that won the west to the bargain basement, Winchester Repeating Arms has now done it all with rifles. With little fanfare, Winchester entered an already-flooded budget rifle market, but did so with superior features and accuracy. The synthetic-stocked, bolt-action Winchester XPR is available in all popular deer calibers, plus some hot, new chamberings as well.
Make no mistake – the XPR is no Winchester Model 70, but then again, it’s not meant to be. Initially introduced in a non-assuming black synthetic, the XPR sets itself apart in fit and function. The trigger is the same fully adjustable unit found in the venerable Model 70, exceptional on a rifle of this class. A single-stack, dropbox magazine and target crown on the 20-26-inch barrels are also sweet.
Made in Winchester’s Portugal factory, the fit and finish may not match that of higher grade, Belgian or American made long guns, but the XPR was never intended to win beauty pageants. Price, regardless of caliber, is $549 black and $599 camo, with store prices even lower, making the rifles affordable, capable, and accurate.On the range
The test XPR came in 6.5 Creedmoor, the year’s hottest caliber. After mounting a quality, but also affordable Leupold VX-II 4-12×40, the XPR proved quick to sight-in. An assortment of ammo challenged the gun’s range as both a deer slayer and target shooter.
Ammo brands tested include: Hornady American Whitetail 129 grn Interlock; Hornady American Gunner 140 grn BTH; Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grn; Winchester Deer Season 125 grn; Winchester Expedition Big Game 142 grn; Federal Fusion 140 grn; American Eagle 140 grn Match; and Nosler Trophy Grade 129 grn Accubond.
In addition to firing MOA with every brand of factory ammo, the XPR punched sub-MOA three shot groups with Hornady Precision and Winchester Expedition Big Game.
The Precision Hunter produced a best three-shot 100-yard group of 0.71 inches while the Expedition did 0.82 inches. All of the hunting ammo performed well out to 200 yards with the largest three-shot groups from the lighter bullets, yet still inside two-inches even with a 12-15mph crosswind.
Of the lighter bullets, the Nosler 129 grn held the tightest groups out to 300 yards, and would be my choice in that class. It was at the extended ranges, where 6.5 Creedmoors usually dig in, that the XPR showed its favor for the heavier bullets in offerings like Precision Hunter, Federal Fusion, and Expedition Big Game.
At 300 yards, we were able to hold three-shot groups inside of two inches against the cross wind with all three of the aforementioned. Though we didn’t expect the 22-inch pencil barrel to perform quite so well, it remained in the game at the four-inch gong at 400 yards we clanged with regularity. With the capability of the XPR, the only thing we were wishing for was a BDC reticle in the Leupold scope. While the 6.5 Creedmoor chambering really excels with a longer, heavier barrel, the Winchester XPR is a great entry point for shooters and hunters wishing to add the caliber to their repertoire.
It goes without saying that the XPR handled all the ammo with 100 percent reliability as we expect any rifle, especially a bolt action. Though the 6.5 is far from a kicking magnum, Winchester’s Inflex recoil pad did its job of directing recoil away from the shooter’s face and keeping things comfortable on the range.Features set the XPR apart
The XPR does its job, and does it well, due in large part to a quality barrel and superior trigger. Winchester’s adjustable MOA trigger has made its way from the Model 70 to the XPR. Our test rifle’s puller broke just over 3.6 pounds on a Lyman digital gauge, with neither creep nor overtravel. If triggers make rifles – and they can – this one’s a star.
But success takes more than a trigger alone. Prices may be low, but quality does not suffer. The chrome moly button rifled barrels are all free-floated and have a well-recessed target crown. A barrel nut joins that to the steel receiver. The blued steel is matte finished, almost to the point of appearing parkerized. The three-round detachable box magazine is one of the best in its class, with locking points both front and rear. Textured panels on the fore-end and pistol grip are aggressive enough for hunters in inclement weather, yet add to the sleek looks of the rifle. Even with the scope and mounts, the gun weighed in at a reasonable eight pounds.
The bonuses don’t stop there. No sirree. The XPR may be a budget buy, but the features are worth much more. The two-position right-sided tang safety is easy to manipulate even with gloves and also silent, but the real winner is the bolt release button. Located in front of the safety, the release button allows the bolt to be cycled while the safety is still engaged, a feature ideal for newer shooters but also safer for even experienced shooters clearing the chamber. A cocking indicator on the bolt shroud is also a quick and easy visual indicator for added safety.
Three other big pluses on the XPR bolt not found on most other budget rifles: durable and often more expensive nickel Teflon coating, short 60-degree bolt throw for ample scope clearance, and a design that allows the bolt itself to be stripped sans tools for complete cleaning.
We were pleased to pick up a Mossy Oak Break Up stock in addition to the standard black synthetic, and coming from someone who generally despises plain black furniture, that was a welcome and practical change, especially on the Wyoming flats. With sub-MOA accuracy and great range, our 6.5 Creedmoor XPR is ready for both pronghorn and deer this fall.The misses are small
Our only knocks on the XPR are more superficial than anything. Whereas both the Savage Axis II and Mossberg Patriot are both available in wood-stocked versions, the XPR is synthetic only – for now, at least. Luckily, the XPR can be had in multiple iterations of both Mossy Oak and Kuiu patterns. The inclusion of compact models for smaller-framed shooters is a plus, as well as threaded, suppressor-ready versions.
The other hiccup in an otherwise flawless bargain system involves optics mounting. While I do not begrudge the rifle for its lack of iron sights – many higher priced guns forego them as well – the cost of the XPR-specific one-piece bases and rings must be mentioned. The Talley mounts are fantastic quality and available for either one-inch or 30mm optics of any height, but the $69.99 retail price is undeniably high for a budget gun. I’d gladly put those mounts on my $1,000 rifles. However, somebody buying a sub $600 rifle likely wants more affordable mounts. On the plus side, by the time most hunters get around to buying and scoping their XPR, there will likely be other, more cost-effective scope mounting solutions.
With a trigger so sweet it sings to the target, and sub-MOA accuracy from an entry level rifle, there isn’t much not to like at this price point. Throw in all the additional features from a nickel Teflon short throw bolt that takes down without tools, to a best-in-its-class dropbox magazine and quality controls, and the XPR is hard to beat in its class. Even if the XPR is a poor-man’s Model 70, it is proof you needn’t break the bank for a quality hunting rifle.
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Kahr Firearms Group collaborated with John “Tig” Tiegen, member of the Benghazi Annex Security team, to craft a special edition Desert Eagle designed to support military veterans.
For the project, Kahr donated 13 special .50AE Desert Eagle’s to foundations that aid military veterans and their families. The Deagles boast a Kryptek Typhon pattern with special engravings. Engravings include Tiegen’s logo and signature in addition to a Beyond the Battlefield logo — the organization Tiegen and his wife recently founded.
Tiegen, co-author of 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, said he is excited to be working alongside Kahr to help veterans.
“It’s awesome to be working with Kahr Firearms Group to provide these special edition Desert Eagles to 13 different organizations,” Tiegen said in a press release. “For me, it’s an honor to be in a position where I can help other veteran foundations raise awareness and money for the many different causes they represent.”
Each Deagle pistol is numbered 1 to 13 and Kahr says that four guns have been already auctioned off, raising roughly $40,000 for veteran foundations. Each organization chosen to receive the special edition gun was personally selected by Tiegen.
The list includes:
- Halo for Freedom
- Valor Clinic
- The Journey Home Project
- The Glen “Bub” Doherty Foundation
- Vacations for Warriors
- Wishes For Warriors
- Tyrone “S” Woods Wrestling Foundation
- Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
- American Military Family
- Hunts for Healing
- The Reveille Project
- American Valor Foundation
- Beyond the Battlefield
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Designed to turn heads at the range, the Mojo Magwell Grip by FAB Defense offers a more custom look without breaking the bank.
Constructed from reinforced polymer, the Mojo serves as both a flared and extended magazine well. FAB Defense says the flared design not only offers a unique look but also improves reload speed and firearm handling. The company says the magwell grip reduces magazine change times by 48-percent while allowing shooters to keep eyes on target.
Touting an interchangeable design, the setup comes with a base and standard rugged grip along with one mask. With five mask styles in total — Punisher, eagle, Spartan, skull and crusader — FAB Defense says the masks also act as a foregrip.
The magwell grip boasts easy installation in under one minute, according to the company, and does not require any permanent modification to the firearm.
Available in black, OD green and coyote tan the Mojo pairs with most AR-15 setups and features a budget friendly price just under $50.
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On the premise that you can always use a small gas station-style ATM for cover and concealment in an active shooter situation, Edwin Sarkissian grabs a surplus one for some destructive testing.
These light Hyosung-style mini-banks use a sheet metal cabinet with a reinforced interior around the cash machine portion to help deter the average crook with a pry bar from getting some ill-gotten greenbacks. These are typically UL 291-standard “business hour” listed safes. While not generally designed to stand up to firepower, Sarkissian and crew find that handgun rounds up to and including .44 Mags from a Deagle fail to penetrate both sides of the ATM, proving the cover hypothesis to a degree.
The same cannot be said for rifle rounds — especially when you graduate to .50 BMG.
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A north Harris County, Texas homeowner and former Marine was confronted by four males while standing in his driveway with his garage door open Friday night, and soon found a gun to his head.
Homeowner Alexander Borrego told Click2 Houston that his wife and children were inside the home when four teens grabbed him around 10:30 p.m. and pulled a gun on him. However, they were in for a surprise as Borrego, concerned about his family, had a handgun of his own concealed in his hoodie.
“As soon as I got my hand on my pistol I turned towards the guy that had the gun at the back of my head. I immediately removed the pistol away from my head as I began firing at those guys,” Borrego said.
The four ran from his home and one, shot in the chest and leg by Borrego, later showed up at a local hospital. The teen, brought to the hospital by his mother, is recovering.
“Sad, but I had my pistol on me and thank God for that,” Borrego said.
In an interview with Fox 26, the Marine, who left the service in 2009, stressed that he took action to protect his family.
“Before pulling the trigger, my last thought was ‘we’re all going to die right here because none of them are going to get in the house,” he said.
While police are investigating the matter and seeking suspects, the homeowner is not expected to be charged.
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revisited Operation Lost Wolf this week, an investigation that unraveled a South American gun smuggling ring.
In an 8-minute short released this week by the agency on the 2004 case, agent Ali Berisha relates how he was called to the scene of a flooded warehouse in Miami after two boxes of Bushmaster AR-15 lower receivers fell from a ceiling and cracked a toilet.
“Upon inspecting the receivers, we saw that they were drilled — the serial numbers were drilled on both sides,” said Berisha, going on to say that when tested they were found to be illegally converted to select-fire. Subsequent investigation at the site turned up Norinco AK-pattern rifles in garbage bags and Wolf-brand ammo boxed and sealed inside freezers.
The multi-agency investigation eventually focused on two Miami-Dade residents from Venezuela, Raul Demolina and Rafael Samper; Joseph Ruiz, a gun shop owner; and Rodney Sharp of Homestead. In all, at least seven individuals were charged at the end of the operation during which the feds believed the guns and ammo were intended for the two rival groups locked in a struggle in South America– the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.
In all, some 700,000 rounds of ammunition were seized as well as over 200 firearms. Ultimately a number of the defendants plead guilty to their role in the operation although one, Sharp, fled to China. The group was estimated to have made $4 million in profit while in operation, fueled by extreme markups on munitions resold to overseas buyers.
It should be noted that Lost Wolf took place two years before the first of ATF’s Project Gunrunner “gun-walking” investigations– which grew into the infamous operations Fast and Furious, and Wide Receiver– aimed to track guns and ammunition headed across the border with Mexico, were established.
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CMC Triggers introduces a new line of Match Precision Barrels designed to allow Glock users to upgrade their pistols without extensive gunsmithing.
Offering three models, CMC Glock barrels are designed to work alongside Glock 17, 19 and 34 pistols in the Gen 3 and Gen 4 series. The drop-in barrels are precision machined from 416R premium grade stainless steel which the company says is both durable and corrosion resistant.
The barrels are six groove, cut rifled with 1:10 twist. Straight fluted for aesthetics, CMC says the Glock barrels are designed to offer improvements to the Glock set-up without breaking the bank.
“These are an affordable, ultra accurate, durable upgrade to your existing Glock 17,19 or 34 factory barrel,” CMC said in a statement.
The bead-blasted barrels serve up a satin finish and are available in three finish options — Stainless, Bronze TiCN and Black DLC — and are available with or without suppressor threads in 1/2×28 thread pitch.
The threaded barrels offer a price tag of $210 while the non-threaded versions slide in just under $200. CMC says barrels are expected to start shipping in December 2017.
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A family-owned sporting goods store in central Pennsylvania told Fox News over the weekend Facebook pulled its advertisements over guns.
Jessica Keffer, marketing manager for the Sportsman’s Shop in East Earl, Pennsylvania, said the social media site applies its policy of prohibiting ads promoting weapons sales inconsistently — at the expense of small businesses.
“There seems to be a very strong political and cultural bias on the part of Facebook toward our industry,” she said during an interview with Fox and Friends Sunday. “We are not treated the same as your box stores. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Caleba’s, Bass Pro Shops — they all have the ability to advertise. We asked about that and their answer was ‘well they sell other things.’ We do too.”
The Sportsman’s Shop — the oldest gun store in Lancaster County — opened three miles down the road from its current location in 1954. The Class III dealer offers a selection of more than 2,000 firearms, suppressors and accessories — as well as outdoor gear and equipment for fishing, archery and hunting. It’s new location in East Earl also features an indoor gun range.
Keffer said she used Facebook’s marketing features without issue until one day last month when she noticed an ad for the store’s “Honor the Flag” sale had disappeared. When she questioned Facebook over the matter, staff referred her to the website’s policy against promotions for weapons sales.
Although the flagged advertisement didn’t promote gun sales itself, the Sportman’s Shop, in general, does. Therefore, Keffer explained, Facebook felt justified in revoking its advertising privileges.
“Social media has a marketplace that you really can’t touch any other way and in order for us to reach that marketplace, we need to be able to advertise,” she said. “Not being able to really just does our business and our industry a huge disservice.”
Sportsman’s Shop isn’t the only locally-owned gun dealer and range frustrated with Facebook’s policies.
Shoot Smart — a Texas-based gun range that bypassed local cable networks’ firearm bans by using images of puppies in their television ads — said social media advertising policies prove far more unpredictable.
“In the past, we have spent thousands on Facebook and Google AdWords, but then out of nowhere, our ads started getting denied,” said Jared Sloane, the range’s operation director, in an email to Guns.com last month. “When we ask Facebook or Google why we no longer can advertise, it’s always the same response.”
The message, Sloane said, cites a “zero tolerance policy” toward ads explicitly promoting weapons sales, “which includes, but isn’t limited to promotion through gun ranges.”
“So, in turn, we deleted the link on our page that went to the store (a small part of our business),” he said. “We then created new ads and started fresh, but we were still declined.”
“The problem isn’t the rules and why they prohibit the advertising, the problem is the inconsistency,” Sloane said. “Sometimes our Facebook ads are approved and sometimes they aren’t (majority of time), but then we will see an ad that another company is running that is flat out promoting gun or accessories sales. It makes no sense! We just would like a little consistency.”
Keffer said Sunday “it’s time the industry spoke up” about the issue, saying “I think we deserve the same right and the same treatment as any other small business.”
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With a cyclic rate of fire that runs as spicy as 1,200 rounds-per-minute, the slide of the G18C can sometimes jog so fast that they outrun the magazine.
Larry Vickers from Vickers Tactical in the above gives a short overview of the compensated Model 18 Glock select-fire 9mm handgun before sending brass downrange in beautiful HD and Slo-mo. A true machine pistol and not a conversion with a fun switch modification on a more commonly encountered Glock, the 18 features a slide-mounted selector switch and is pretty rarely encountered due to the Hughes Amendment, which tragically relegates it to largely an LE and military-only item.
Still, maybe one day…
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As Cyber Monday deals peppered the gun world Monday, Alien Gear used the online shopping day to debut its latest ShapeShift holster — the ShapeShift Backpack.
The latest in the company’s almost continuous stream of holsters under the ShapeShift umbrella, the ShapeShift Backpack falls in with the series’ modularity. Designed to allow gun owners to tote their pistols hunting, hiking or during outdoor activities, the backpack acts as two-part system.
The first is the company’s Shift Shell which encapsulates the pistol and fully encloses the trigger guard and muzzle. The second part of the equation is the mount, or in this case the backpack. The Shift Shell attaches to the backpack’s strap holster mount to support the gun and rig on the pack. The strap attachment is crafted from three polymer pieces with a heavy duty nylon tubular webbing. Alien Gear said the benefits of the webbing is that it “generally requires thousands of pounds of pressure” to break.
The three polymer strips fold over the backpack strap with a backplate and frontplate. These are then fastened together with a lever and two pull tabs. Once fastened, the company says the tabs cannot be unlatched unless pressure is applied on the lever first.
The Shift Shell can be secured to nearly any strap, according to Alien Gear, but works best alongside straps measuring 2-inches to 3.25-inches wide. Once mounted, the shell provides a full 360-degree rotational cant for users to custom fit the holster position to suit individual needs.
Alien Gear says though the backpack holster isn’t ideal in every situation, the company feels it covers gun owners who have specific carry needs.
“Well, it’s not a typical everyday carry set up, that’s for sure, but the ShapeShift Backpack Holster provides something all gun owners seek: freedom to carry when and how they want,” Alien Gear said in a statement.
The Backpack Holster features a MSRP just south of $50 while the ShapeShift Backpack Carry Expansion Pack can be purchased for users who already own the Shift Shell for $19.88.
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In their orders posted Monday, the nation’s high court upheld Florida’s prohibition on the open carry of firearms and Maryland’s assault weapon ban.
The challenges, which have been pending with the court all summer, were among more than 100 petitions denied by the justices with each lacking the required four jurists to agree to accept the case for further review.
In Norman v. Florida, which came to Washington after it was denied by the Sunshine State’s Supreme Court, Florida’s law preventing the open carry of firearms with slim exceptions for use while hunting or fishing was upheld. The vehicle for the challenge came in an appeal of a 2012 second-degree misdemeanor conviction of Dale Lee Norman who was found guilty by a succession of lower courts for Open Carrying of a Weapon outside of his home when his shirt did not cover the handgun for which he had a concealed carry permit.
Backed by Florida Carry, the group argued the state’s ban is unconstitutional as concealed carry in the state is a licensed privilege, and does meet the right to keep and bear arms protected under the Second Amendment. The state is one of only five that ban almost all open carry.
At stake in Kolbe v. Hogan was the 2013 Maryland law signed by staunch anti-gun Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley that banned guns deemed “assault weapons” due to cosmetic characteristics and limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds.
Challeneged by gun rights advocates, in 2014 U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake ruled that AR-15 style rifles and others “fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual arms.”
Blake’s ruling was rejected on appeal by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit in 2016 who disagreed with her logic. This led to a retrial by a rare en banc panel of the entire court which stood behind the ban in a 10-4 ruling earlier this year.
The backers of the lawsuit, to include 21 state attorneys general and several gun rights groups, argued the firearms subject to the Maryland ban are protected under existing case law related to arms lawfully carried in common use. In fact, the states argue they have preempted cities and towns from instituting bans like Maryland’s, thus giving them a very real interest in the case.
In recent years the nation’s high court has shown a disinterest in taking Second Amendment arguments, swatting away cases challenging strict concealed carry permitting practices in California and New Jersey, allowing mandatory gun lock laws to stand, and upholding both local and state restrictions on guns characterized as “assault weapons.”
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The record-breaking number of background checks processed on Black Friday translated into boosted share prices this week for major gun makers.
Stocks for American Outdoor Brands and Sturm, Ruger and Co. climbed more than 3 percent Monday amid reports of gun dealers submitting more than 200,000 applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System during the annual shopping frenzy last week.
Black Friday — a traditional boon for the gun industry as of late — tops the FBI’s list of 10 busiest days for the third year in a row. According to the agency’s data, six of its highest ranking days fall on the shopping holiday and all but one occur within the the month-long period between Thanksgiving and Christmas
The sales surge comes as welcome news to the industry’s most prolific manufacturers and retailers after a year of double digit losses.
Gun dealers submitted just over 20 million applications to NICS through Oct. 31 — about 9.5 percent behind 2016. Estimated gun sales — the sum total of applications submitted to the federal system for its handgun, long gun, multiple and other categories — surpassed 10.1 million last month. Compared to last year, sales declined 12.5 percent.
The numbers reflect an industry still re-calibrating under “a new normal.” President Trump’s victory stunned gun makers and retailers alike, many of whom amassed inventory in preparation for a Democratic electoral sweep and the heightened demand it would bring.
Instead, prices tanked as dealers tried to unload product throughout the year. Background checks ebbed and flow more in line with historical trends — a steady sales uptick in winter that bottoms out over the summer, resuscitated in the fall as hunting seasons kick-off.
The industry’s most profitable weeks — aside from short bursts of demand following mass shootings, terror attacks or congressional action — set in Black Friday and will extend throughout the holiday shopping season.
Dealers processed 5.3 million applications in November and December 2016, alone — representing about one-fifth of the 27.5 million NICS checks completed last year, the biggest in the system’s two-decade history.
Similar numbers would place 2017 about 2 million checks behind last year, making it the second busiest on record for NICS.
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The House Judiciary Committee announced this week it will mark up a pair of bills that would expand carry rights nationwide while addressing background checks and controversial firearms accessories.
The committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is set to move on both the revamped carry bill and a pending measure designed to fix shortfalls in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System while directing research into the use of bump stocks in crime.
“For me and the vast majority of Americans who support concealed carry reciprocity, this is welcome progress,” said the sponsor of the reciprocity bill, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC. “I want to thank Chairman Bob Goodlatte for his strong leadership to protect our Second Amendment rights.”
Hudson’s measure, H.R.38, has 213 co-sponsors including a smattering of Democrats and the support of attorneys general from five conservative states. In its amended version, it would force states to recognize the right of law-abiding citizens with a valid concealed carry license or permit to carry a concealed handgun. Residents of constitutional or permitless carry states would also be recognized. Also, the language in Hudson’s proposal would open public land currently off limits to concealed carry such as that controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The bill is opposed by a national mayors group, attorneys general in 15 mostly blue states, and a host of gun control organizations. “After two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, Americans expect Congress to work in a bipartisan way to strengthen – not weaken – our gun laws,” said John Feinblatt, Everytown’s president. “The gun lobby’s number one priority of ‘concealed carry reciprocity’ is a ploy to weaken state gun laws and allow untrained people and people with dangerous histories to carry hidden, loaded handguns across the country.”
NICS and bump stocks
The second measure on the committee’s plate, a new “Fix NICS” act, would add several accountability measures designed to ensure that federal agencies submit the records of criminals, domestic abusers and others prohibited from possessing guns to the FBI-maintained system while giving states incentives to up their own reporting. Though NICS has over 17 million active indexes in their files as of the end of October, the database is incomplete and recent high-profile shootings involving those who should have been denied firearms have drawn attention to the shortfall.
In an attempt to address the controversy over bump stocks, which have been the subject of numerous bills to either ban or highly regulate the devices since their use in the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas in October, the measure directs the Bureau of Justice Statistics to review their use in crime and submit their findings to Congress within 180 days. Unlike other proposals which have a vague definition of bump stocks, the bill set for mark up this week is rigidly defined, noting such a device must use “continuous forward pressure applied to the rifle’s fore end in conjunction with a linear forward and backward sliding motion of the mechanism utilizing the recoil energy when the rifle is discharged.”
The bills still need a floor vote in the House and approval in the Senate before heading to President Trump’s desk.
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Black Friday served up more than just deals, with Raven Concealment Systems debuting its all-new, outside-the-waistband Perun holster to holiday shoppers.
Earning its moniker from a Slavic war god, the Perun is currently available for Glock 17, 19 and 43 users. The holster melds elements of Raven Concealment’s Eidolon and Phantom holsters together to create a compact size rig with a body-hugging design.
Its curved construction, which molds against the wearer’s body, is achieved through modular belt loops with each Perun holster shipping with three pairs of 1.5-inch loops — left hand 10-degree cant, right hand 10-degree cant and ambidextrous 0-degree cant. The loops put the power square in the hands of consumers, allowing for configuration on either side.
The Perun offers a retention slider that makes adjusting retention “as simple as turning up the volume on your stereo.” In addition, Raven Concealment says that the new rig is designed to hold its retention even after repeated draws and re-holstering.
Compatible with most slide-mounted red-dot optics, the holster also accommodates suppressor-height front sights up to .350-inches tall. The muzzle-end of the rig boasts an opening the company says is sufficient for most common after-market extended and threaded barrels with thread protectors. Raven Concealment tops the holster system off with both inboard and outboard full-height body shields which offer a level of protection for the firearm against sweat.
The Perun is available from Raven Concealment Systems with a MSRP of $39.
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The first national firearms surrender in England and Wales in years has produced a treasure trove of antique weapons to include a famous WWII-era “gun to get a gun.”
The two-week amnesty, coordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, allowed gun owners to turn in firearms, ammunition and gun-like items to police without fear of penalties or punishment. One of the more interesting items coughed up was an FP-45 Liberator pistol handed in at the Folkestone police station last week as reported by Kent Police.
The Liberator, a $3 gun massed-produced by the Inland Guide Lamp Manufacturing Division of General Motors, was a simple .45ACP-caliber single-shot pistol designed to be dropped across occupied Europe by the Allies to help resistance groups by providing them a throw-away handgun that could be used to either assassinate local Nazis or take shots at German soldiers– whose weapons would then be pressed into service.
However, most Liberators never made it to their intended users and were instead scrapped, making them rare and collectible today. As reported by Kent Online, the recently turned-in FP-45 will likely be saved from the blowtorch.
“This firearm is a part of history and I am sure it will be a welcome addition to the collection at the Royal Armouries Museum,” said Rob Fordham with the Kent Police. “Weapons such as these are often forgotten heirlooms which have been taken from past conflicts and passed down over the generations.”
According to information from NABIS, the last national surrender took place in 2014 and saw more than 6,000 items handed in, yet stats issued by the Office for National Statistics showed a 27 percent rise in firearms offences in England and Wales for the one-year period up to the end of June 2017 when compared to the previous year.
The latest surrender campaign focused on “flat guns” which may have been war trophies or other firearms left behind by past generations that are unwanted. A spot by NABIS made available for publication to media has a grandmother figure take what is portrayed as an old military handgun implied owned by her departed Army veteran husband, to police– just in the nick of time.
Other agencies posted their intake from the events, which concluded Sunday, shows additional war trophies to include a rare .455-caliber Colt 1911, two Argentine Ballester Molinas brought back from the Falklands Islands War in 1982, deactivated machine guns– including a Bren gun force-fed a belt of ammo through the magazine slot– starter pistols, flare guns, vintage air guns, replicas and the like. Of the more than 140 items collected by London’s Metropolitan Police in the first week of the amnesty, the total included 48 air weapons and 23 imitation guns.
So far 20 items have been handed over to officers including shotguns, air weapons and ammunition as part of the @NABIS_UK national #GunSurrender https://t.co/3EgK90Hrxl #GiveUpTheGun pic.twitter.com/QddE3AdT4N
— North Wales Police (@NWPolice) November 20, 2017
— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) November 17, 2017
#GunSurrender 13-26 November 2017 in #Barnstaple and results from across Devon and Cornwall from week 1 of #firearms and #ammunition surrender. If you don't want it, HAND IT IN. More here: https://t.co/eWO8NZg7eV pic.twitter.com/DCezVMMzEk
— DevonCornwall Police (@DC_Police) November 17, 2017
#GunSurrender Some of the items handed in to #Torquay #police enquiry office on day 3 of the #firearms and #ammunition surrender which runs until 26 November. All you need to know here: https://t.co/9fC1adxrJd pic.twitter.com/w8Ct8eZWvm
— DevonCornwall Police (@DC_Police) November 15, 2017
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) November 14, 2017
#GunSurrender 13-26 November 2017. At the end of first day (13 Nov), guns and ammunition handed in at #Torquay and incendiaries in #Camborne. Don't want it? Not sure if it's legal? HAND IT IN, GET IT OUT OF CIRCULATION, MAKE COMMUNITIES SAFER. Here's how: https://t.co/hROH4HEXGk pic.twitter.com/TPOuXEvbLb
— DevonCornwall Police (@DC_Police) November 14, 2017
48 air weapons, 31 shotguns, 23 imitation guns, 11 pistols, 10 handguns, 9 revolvers, 6 rifles, 5 automatic guns (including two deactivated 2nd World War machine guns) and over 3,500 rounds of ammo have been taken off the streets of #London so far. #GiveUpYourGun today pic.twitter.com/8LyMpBd9LK
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) November 21, 2017
— Insp Sarah Davies (@gpInspSDavies) November 16, 2017
— Enfield MPS (@MPSEnfield) November 14, 2017
If you have an unlicensed firearm in your possession, or know where one is being kept, now is the chance to hand it in.
The Kent Police firearms surrender ends Sunday 26 November. Fore more info please visit: https://t.co/DqoLGaZIRO pic.twitter.com/JaKKrKTw8t
— Kent Police (UK) (@kent_police) November 20, 2017
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Two of the largest gun companies in the U.S. have had their corporate credit ratings downgraded amid decreasing sales and soft market conditions throughout the year after the surprising political victory by President Trump.
S&P analysts say Remington is at “a heightened risk of a restructuring of some form over the next six to 12 months” because they don’t believe the company will rake in enough cash to cover fixed costs and repay $575 million in loans due in 2019.
So far this year, Remington’s sales have trailed last year’s by $177 million, putting the company in the red by $60.5 million, financial filings show. The company’s decrease has largely been a result of fewer people buying AR-style rifles. Poor sales aside, the corporate downgrade was due to the amounting debt.
Remington executives largely declined to respond to direct questions about debt during last week’s conference call with investors. “We are mindful of our debt maturities coming due in the second quarter of 2019. We continue to have discussions with our lenders and will provide an update at an appropriate time,” said James Geisler, chairman of Remington’s board, in a prepared statement.
Moody’s Investor Services also downgraded Remington in July to “stable,” raising concerns about weak market conditions and high debt levels, but also said Remington still has strong brand recognition and an expanded consumer base.
Remington’s third quarter financial report lists total outstanding indebtedness as $964.5 million — including the $575 due in 2019 and at least another $250 million due in 2020. Last year, the company reported $865.1 million in sales and $18.9 million in profit.
Remington’s profits have suffered over the past three or so years because the company re-invested monies by consolidating manufacturing operations for more than a dozen brands to Huntsville, Alabama. The company’s aim was to lower operating costs.
S&P analysts lowered the corporate rating for Vista — which is comprised of roughly 50 brands, many of which produce ammunition — to “outlook is stable.” As of Oct.1, they estimate Vista has $1.2 billion in outstanding debt, but the downgrade reflects their “expectation that operating performance will remain weak during the remainder of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.”
Vista reported a 16 percent dip in sales halfway through the fiscal year and lowered its financial outlook for the remainder of the year, saying annual revenue will not exceed $2.26 billion. Yet, S&P analysts say the stable outlook reflects their belief that Vista’s ammo sales could improve and excess inventory could sell off.
Moody’s also downgraded Vista’s rating this year, forecasting by March 2018 that Vista’s debt will outweigh performance and leverage should decrease by December 2018
The gun industry as a whole has largely been in a slump since Trump took the White House last year and Republicans won a majority in both chambers of Congress. Even though the rate of gun sales only trail 2016 — the biggest year on record — by about 12 percent, gun manufacturers overproduced in anticipation of Democrat and pro-gun control candidate Hillary Clinton taking office. Increased products have caused inventory channels to largely overflow and clog. Yet, industry executives say discounting and rebates have driven sales but at the expense of profit.
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