Monday, June 30, 2008

Update to The Shooter's Bar

This morning I added Lawrence D. Burroughs II to The Shooters' Bar(SM).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chicago Gun Case

The SAF has launched a new website covering the suit filed against Chicago, seeking to overturn the city's handgun ban, in light of yesterday's SCOTUS decision in Heller.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

First Post-Heller Suit Already Filed

The Illinois State Rifle Association has already filed suit, seeking to overturn Chicago's decades-old handgun ban, based on the Supreme Court's ruling in Heller v. D.C.

Way to go, ISRA!

Thoughts on the Heller Decision

Now that I've done a quick read-through of the Heller decision, I offer some observations:

1. The Court held that the 2A protects an individual right, one not dependent upon membership in an organized militia. The right exists for otherwise lawful purposes, specifically noting that self defense is one of the bases for the right. The Court recognized the pre-existing nature of the right, as well.

2. Some restrictions of the RKBA are permissible. E.g., licensing is not forbidden by the 2A, but only when imposed in a manner that is not arbitrary or capricious. That would seem to disallow much of the discretion typically exercised by issuing officials in places like New York.

3. Outright bans of classes of arms in common use by the people are forbidden. This is a key point because it disposes of the frivolous argument that even if the 2A protects an individual right, it only protects the right to keep and bear arms of a type common in use during the 18th Century. In particular, the Court notes that handguns are in common use and overwhelmingly chosen by Americans for self defense. In dicta, the Court noted that machineguns could possibly be banned. However, it left open the argument that the reason machineguns are not in common use is because they have been so heavily regulated since 1934.

4. The Court declined to specify a standard for review in 2A-based challenges to gun control laws. For example, it will leave the matter of whether gun control laws must pass rational basis or strict scrutiny to later challenges. This wasn't unexpected.

5. The Court did not explicitly incorporate the Second Amendment against the states. However, it did cite several state cases in its decision supporting the idea that the 2A protects an individual right. This leads me to believe that the Court would be open to incorporation in a future case where a state law is challenged, e.g., Chicago's handgun ban. Again, this isn't totally unexpected, since the D.C. law which was struck down was a Federal matter, not a state law. The Court tries to craft most decisions narrowly.

More comments later as I think of them.


We won in Heller. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed the lower court's decision that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.

The decision, by Justice Scalia, is available HERE. (PDF format).

More later after I've read the opinion.

Update to The Shooter's Bar

This morning I added David Goldman of Florida to The Shooter's Bar(SM). Among other things, Mr. Goldman practices in the area of NFA trusts.

I have a bit more discussion of NFA trusts over on the Keystone State Lawyer Blog.

Friday, June 20, 2008

GOA and National CCW

Over at Snowflakes in Hell, Sebastian has a good post on GOA getting behind national CCW. It's worth a look.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bush to Congress: Expand Offshore Drilling

It's about damn time.

Unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress said, "No." Just like they've said no to building new refineries, building nuclear plants, or allowing us to tap into the vast reserves of clean coal in Utah (thanks, Bubba).

I guess they're OK with $4+ per gallon gasoline.

Let's get ready to party like it's 1899.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Updates to The Shooter's Bar

This morning I made several updates to The Shooter's Bar(SM), including my own listing. We now have representation from Utah and Tennessee.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Playing with iMovie and iDVD

Last Friday I got the chance to use iMovie and iDVD 08 for the first time. Friday morning we had Alexandra's pre-school graduation,* which I taped using our Sony Handycam. Judith also took some stills using my Sony DSC-P50 digital camera. (Both cameras are vintage 2001 but still work fine.)

After getting home I used iMovie to get the video off the Handycam onto Rohan via FireWire, then arranged the clips into a movie. I didn't do any editing, my skills aren't there yet. I did add several of the best still shots to the end of the movie. They fade in and out using a "Ken Burns" effect. Also, I added a couple of Allman Brothers songs to the movie: Blue Sky at the beginning and Little Martha at the end. It's amazing what a difference a soundtrack can make.

Once the movie was done I had to export/render it so I could burn it to disc using iDVD. The latter also enabled me to add a menu screen to the beginning, offering a choice of several different themes.

All in all the result came out great for my first home movie. I'm not going to post it to YouTube, but it made the wife happy. And when Momma's happy, everyone's happy. ;)

* {Grumpy Old Fart: When I was a kid we didn't have graduation for pre-school. Grumble. Grumble.}

More Thoughts on the Election

I've been thinking more about the upcoming presidential election (and who hasn't?) of late. It pains me a great deal to say this, but I think I'll vote for John McCain. I may then go directly to the head and puke.

One of two men will be sworn in next January: John McCain or Barak Obama. Sure, Bob Barr is running on the Libertarian ticket, there will be someone from the Constitution Party on the ballot, and there may be a Green candidate. But it will be either McCain or Obama with his hand on the Bible.

Knowing this, I feel it's my duty to cast my vote for the man -- of the two with a realistic shot -- who'll be the best for the country. Or, more precisely in this case, the man who will do the least damage to the country. I have no faith that either McCain or Obama will actually be good for the US.

Right now the two greatest external threats to the USA are Islamic fundamentalism and illegal immigration. McCain has been a strong proponent of the war against the Islamics. Since its creation in the 7th Century, Islam ("submission") has been at war with the non-Muslim world, AKA the Dar al-Harb ("House of War"). Unless we're content to submit to Islam as a convert or live in a state of dhimmitude, we have no choice but to fight. Negotiation is not an option when your opponent isn't willing to compromise. There is no middle ground, it's us or them.

McCain realizes this. Obama exhibits Carter-like simplicity and thinks we can negotiate with people who seek absolute dominion over us and who believe with every fiber of their being that it's perfectly acceptble to blow up women and children as a way to achieve their goals.

Sadly, McCain has also been a proponent of "immigration reform," which is D.C.-speak for amnesty. Historically, no nation has survived long if it failed to maintain the integrity of its borders. The current state of allowing in tens of millions of illegal immigrants to do scut work mirrors the latter years of the Roman Empire, which allowed large numbers of barbarians in to perform work deemed too menial to be done by Roman citizens. No society is static but this is changing the very nature of our nation, and I'd argue in a bad way.

In a more short term, mercenary view, flooding the market with cheap unskilled labor depresses wages for everyone in the lower economic classes, increases competition for jobs, thereby hurting those American citizens least able to adapt to a changing economy. American blacks are particularly hard hit.

The influx of illegals also presents a great strain on our infrastructure. For example, illegals tend to rely on hospital emergency rooms for medical care. Since people are required to be treated even in the absence of medical insurance or the ability to pay out-of-pocket, the rest of us foot the bill. In some areas (e.g., California) the load has been so great that many hospitals have closed.

With neither McCain, Obama, nor Congress willing to tackle the illegal immigrant problem I expect the problem to get worse.

Aside from immigration, I expect McCain's domestic policies to be somewhat better than what Obama has promised. Obama will seek to raise taxes and implement gun control. McCain is a supporter of Bush's tax cuts and though his records on guns is far from 100%, it's a damn sight better than that of a man who wants to ban assault weapons and concealed carry.

If we look at their respective levels of experience, there's no contest. Obama has no record of achievment. None. Zero. His vacuous promises of "change" and "hope" ring hollow. If you're going to promise change, you damn well better have a record of accomplishing things before claiming that you're going to step into the Oval Office and break down walls. He hasn't even served a full term in the Senate, and spent what, one term in the Illinois state Senate? What a remarkable record. In contrast, while McCain doesn't have executive experience, he's at least been a leading member of the Senate for over twenty years.

Obama's domestic policies include:

  • Nationalized health care (let's have our health system run by the same people who brought you the IRS, Amtrak, and our current schools).
  • Raising taxes.
  • Against border security.
  • Giving corporate shareholders a direct say in corporate governance (Corporations are baaaad, we should cripple them. Oh, I can't get my Nikes? Doh!)
  • Has a 100% perfect record of towing the Brady Bunch's line on gun control legislation.

We also need to examine their character. McCain served his country and was a POW. He could have received preferential treatment from his Vietnamese captors due to his being the son of a US Navy admiral. He turned that down. Unfortunately, he was a member of the Keating Five in the 80s. I'm hoping he's learned his lesson and moved beyond that. His biggest failure since then was his sponsorship of the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Campaign Finance Reform Act. This is a serious transgression against the Constitution.

In contrast, Obama worked in academia and is a product of the Chicago political machine, one of the most notoriously corrupt in the country. To whom is he beholden? Mayor Daley? {shudder}

Obama's long-term membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ is at least as disturbing. Yes, he's recently thrown his "mentor" under the bus but if you can't tell this is purely from political expediency, I have a bridge you may be interested in buying. Obama listened to Jeremiah Wright's sermons filled with hatred for whites and Jooooos for decades, and looked up to the man. The church's newsletter printed propaganda screeds from Hamas. You know, that group of whackos who wants to wipe Israel off the map? The church regards Louis Farrakhan as a friend and a great man. And now that some light has been shined on these cockroaches, we're supposed to believe that Obama doesn't approve of their message? BULLSHIT.

You don't sit through hate-filled rants for a couple decades without at a minimum tacitly approving of them. It's a lot more likely that Obama agree with Wright's anti-American, anti-white, and antisemitic remarks. There's precisely zero difference between Obama standing by Wright, etc. for decades and an Austrian saying to you, "Oh, meet my Uncle Adolf. He wants to exterminate the Jews and enslave the Russians, but really he's a great guy. He's so nice. He loves dogs and children."

If you vote for Obama, you're voting for a racist. Period.

Aside from the president, we also get a First Lady, who does wield some influence. Something to consider. (Thankfully, the prospect of Bill Clinton as First Dude is now off the table.) On the one hand we have Cindy McCain, a successful businesswoman who's maintained a relatively low profile. On the other hand, we have Michelle Obama, another member of the TUCC and a spoiled product of a privileged upbringing, with an Ivy League education, who for some reason only now feels proud of her country. A first class BEOTCH, right there.

The longest lasting impact the president will have will be in the judges he appoints to the Federal bench. While Founding Father Alexander Hamilton thought of the Federal judiciary as the "least dangerous" branch, history has proven him wrong. Once sworn in, a Federal judge has a lifetime appointment. Unless he's caught accepting bribes or committing some other heinous offense, it's damn near impossible to get rid of a bad Federal judge until he decides to retire or dies in office. Only six Federal judges have ever been impeached and removed in American history. (And then for some reason we allow them to be elected to Congress. look up Alcee Hastings.)

So, with that in mind, we need to consider what kind of judges each candidate is likely to appoint. Typically, presidents nominate judicial candidates who share at least some of their own views. Therefore, it's likely that McCain will appoint moderates, maybe conservatives, while Obama will appoint leftists. We could get luck with McCain, and get an Alito or Roberts. On the other hand, with Obama, we're more like to get Jack Weinsteins or Ruth Bader Gunsburgs. Gag.

In closing, as I noted above, I think neither McCain nor Obama will be good for the country. But I know which man will be worse. I am sick of voting for the lesser of two evils. I don't want to put McCain in office. I want to keep Obama OUT. If we can't make any positive strides I'll settle for slowing down the rocket ship to Hell for a little while. Let's keep it on impulse power instead of warp drive. I'd like some more time to prepare for when the house of cards finally comes apart.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Dech Flintlock Range Report

In my last post I descibed the GL Dech-restocked flintlock Dixie Tennessee Mountain Rifle which I purchased a couple of weeks ago. I got to shoot it yesterday up at Wicen's Range.

Since this was the first time out with a new rifle, I initially setup my target at 25 yards, to see where it was shooting. My starting load was a Hornady swaged .490" round ball, pillow ticking patch lubricated with Ox Yoke Wonder Lube, and 70 grains of FFg Goex black powder.

Point of impact with this load at 25 yards was just to the right of my point of aim. Elevation was right on. Since I hope to go deer hunting with this rifle I increased the powder charge to 80 grains, which didn't seem to affect of the POI. At this point my group was one ragged hole.

Having established that the rifle was on paper, I moved my target back to 50 yards. POI didn't change much. I'd expect to see more drop starting around 75 yards. I tapped the rear sight over in its dovetail but still need to do a little more tuning. I'm thinking about choosing 75 yards for the final zero but I'll have to see what difference is between 50 and 75.

The rifle is reliable. I intentionally did not clean the flash hole between shots (I did run a pipe cleaner through it before I loaded it the first time). I had no ignition problems until about the 15th shot, when I got a flash in the pan. After running a pick through the hole and repriming, the rifle fired as expected.

Overall, I am very pleased with my acquisition. I need to fine tune the zero. I also want to see if it will shoot .485" balls well, because they will be easier to load without cleaning between shots.