SKILLS: How To Zero In a 1911 Pistol

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One of the world’s greatest-ever pistol shooters details the process he follows to get a 1911 on target. Pay attention! KEEP READING

rob leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Rob Leatham

I just got my grubby little hands on a few of the new Springfield Armory® 1911 Range Officer® (RO®) Elite pistols. (Four to be exact.) And the one that grabbed my attention first was the Target Model. Probably not a big shock to those of you who know me as a competition shooter — this pistol was designed for someone just like me.

After looking it over and admiring how well put together it is, I can’t wait to see what it can do. Which means it’s time to hit the range! #LetsGoShoot

TESTING DAY
Any time I get a new gun, the first item on my to-do list is “zeroing.” Zeroing is the process where I test for point of impact on a target and, if needed, make changes to the sights to cause that position to coincide with where I actually see (or think I see) the sights on the target.

A properly zeroed pistol means there is no variation between where I aim the gun and where the bullets hit. Now, to be honest, the term “zero” means there is zero variation from sight to bullet impact. The reality, though, is there is seldom a time when I use a gun that is 100 percent “zeroed.” So for me, zeroed means “sighted in.”

Since this is kind of confusing, I’m going to document my zeroing-in process for your information and enjoyment. The RO® Elite Target is fitted with my preferred fiber-optic front sight and a fully adjustable target rear sight — a perfect setup for quick and easy zeroing.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYES
Several factors come into play that affect zeroing a pistol:

Eyesight
Ammunition
Distance to Target
Shooter Preference and Skill

I’m pretty efficient at zeroing my guns, as I’ve been doing it for many decades. The more you do it, the better you’ll get too. Just follow these easy steps:

ZEROING PROCESS
Gun and Ammo Initial Check: I first test how well the gun shoots out of the box and which ammo is the best or most suitable. This can be done in many ways, but I usually shoot standing, slow-fire with a two-handed grip at 25 yards.

I try a variety of bullet weights, brands and loads and make my final choice of which to move forward with based on several factors, including accuracy and felt recoil.

I check to see if the grouping size is adequate for my intended need. Once I establish which load I will move forward with, I then work on point of impact (POI).

POI Versus Point-of-Aim Check: With the selected load, I use a very specific aiming point in the center of the target. A square piece of 3/4″ black tape works well, but sometimes I just use a full-size USPSA target and shoot at the “A” imprinted in the middle of the body zone or the center of the smaller “head” of the target. I shoot five-shot groups to see where the gun/ammo combination actually hits. When I establish whether it is dead on, high, low, left or right, I start making basic adjustments to the rear sight.

How precisely I zero the pistol is based on the intended use of the gun. For many applications, it is at this point “close enough” and nothing further needs to be done. My competition guns however are a different story. I want them perfect.

Windage Check: I prefer a given gun/load combo to have as little lateral variation (windage) as possible. I never want the gun to impact left or right, so if it’s off I make corrections until my hold is the variation, not the sights.

Elevation Check: As a general rule, I also do not like a gun to shoot low at the distance I am zeroing. Dead on to a little high is what I want to accomplish. Once I’ve done this, I have a basic zero. Now it gets a little more complicated.

Specific Zeros: I next determine my “practical distance and accuracy” requirements. I need a gun’s elevation to be set for a specific POI at a specific distance, based on the usage/shooting discipline.

Concealed carry guns: Dead on at 10 yards

Bullseye guns: One to two inches high at 50 yards

Bianchi pistols: Dead on at 50 yards

USPSA production & single-stack guns: One inch high at 25 yards

I shoot slow-fire groups (standing) at the required distance and make fine adjustments to both windage and elevation until I’m satisfied. Based on your skill level and ability to hold the gun stable, you may need to use a rested position. Since I notice variations in my POI between a rested and standing shooting position, I prefer to do my sighting in from the position I most likely will use, which is standing. The only time I shoot from a stabilized position (i.e., sand bags on a table, seated, etc.) is when I’m testing for accuracy, which is a completely different task.

So now that you know what I require to zero the gun, how is it that you specifically accomplish the task? Well, it’s not always a simple process, because the type of gun and kind of sights determine the difficulty of the challenge.

TYPES OF SIGHTS
A “fixed sight” gun usually allows for some windage adjustment by moving the rear sight, but elevation changes may require modification or replacement of the front or rear sight.

An “adjustable sight” gun typically has a rear sight that allows you to move the “blade” in small increments (with a small screwdriver), usually with a “click” you can hear or feel. Depending on the sight, this allows you to simply and easily make adjustments.

VARIATIONS OF SKILL
The shooter’s skill level plays a very large part in the zeroing process. You must be able to shoot well enough to determine if the gun is zeroed. If you can’t shoot a good enough group at the needed distance you may need to work on your shooting skills before you worry about adjusting the sights.

The good news is, most shooters will never see enough POI deviation at the closer distances they shoot for it to matter.

DISCIPLINE AND DISTANCE
It should be relatively simple for experienced shooters to zero their concealed carry pistols, since the guns are typically expected to be employed at very close ranges. I can’t imagine any out-of-the-box pistol deviating significantly in terms of POI from one to five yards, unless operator error interferes.

The four different XD-S® pistols I use for carry can hit a USPSA target in the center A-zone at 25 yards straight from the factory, which highly exceeds my requirement for a concealment pistol.

My IPSC Classic Division competition 1911, on the other hand, needs to be much more precise at much greater distances, as many as 60 yards. I shoot non-standard ammunition loaded to a very specific velocity to keep recoil to a minimum. I prefer a 147-grain bullet with a special powder, because I like the feel of the combination and it’s super accurate.

The Springfield factory standard ammo for 9mm is 115 grain FMJ standard velocity ball, which shoots a much different POI than my special “cheater” loads. Because of this, I almost always need to adjust the sights when I get a new gun from the shop.

I make bold adjustments at first and then fine tune it with a click here and a click there until I’m convinced that I can’t get it any better. That’s when it’s nice to have a finely tuned and easily adjustable target sight on your pistol.

CONFIDENCE AND IMPROVEMENT
Each time you get a new gun or lot/type of ammunition, be sure to follow a zeroing procedure. But do so based on your “practical distance and accuracy” requirements. I bet you will end up not only more confident in your equipment, knowing exactly where your gun impacts, but hopefully also more confident in your skill level, as you should hopefully start to become a better shot.

Find Rob on Twitter!

REVIEW: Auto Ordnance Deluxe Titanium Gold Thompson Tommy Gun

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Is this the ultimate Chicago Typewriter? The venerable Tommy Gun gets a brand new look. READ MORE HERE

gold tommy gun

by Major Pandemic

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
Auto-Ordnance was the original manufacturer of the “Tommy Gun.” The current reformed company is now owned by the same company as Magnum Research and Kahr Arms — all of which are delivering high quality firearms. The current Auto-Ordnance Thompson Tommy Guns are actually higher quality and higher toleranced versions of the 1927A-1 originals, but fire from a closed bolt and in semi-auto only. If you want a full auto Tommy Machine Gun even as a LEO or Military you have to look into the extremely expensive old pre-ban options. Auto Ordnance does offer NFA registrable factory made short barreled rifle models and also non-functioning display models as well.

gold finish
With the Gold Nickel Boron finish this is a finish that will take plenty of punishment and still look good.

The Tommy Gun represents a timeless style which harkens back to the Roaring 20s, mobsters, and WWII. The Thompson design ran a long hard used course through history as one of the most heavily purchased and issued submachine guns in history by civilians, law enforcement, and military. It was a gun that helped empower the big New York and Chicago mobs, provided law enforcement and military with reliable firepower for fighting crime and in the trenches, and was also a favorite ranch/truck gun as well. It was pretty accurate, fired the effective .45 ACP round, and the weight and design delivers almost insignificant recoil even with the heaviest .45 ACP loads.

tommy gun muzzle
Although the 45ACP has negligible recoil in a 13-lb rifle the brake take all recoil out of the rifle.

This titanium gold nitride plated version is the same 1927A-1 Auto-Ordnance sells in a variety of configurations. The difference among the many versions is finish quality and slight variations through the years of production.

The 1927A-1 version is the most popular in the line, so Auto Ordnance decided to offer a special Deluxe edition. This Deluxe model features a mirror polished finish which is then coated with Titanium Gold Nitride. Auto-Ordnance offers this limited edition Deluxe model in this Ti-Gold finish and polished chrome. The Ti-Nitride-Gold finish is the same coating used on top end drill bits so it can take a beating and still look beautiful. Magnum Research uses the same finish on some of the limited edition Desert Eagle pistols and it has proven itself durable over the years. Once your friends find out you own one, it is hard to keep the Gold Tommy in the safe.

tommy gun case
Who would not want one of these? And get the case… Both you and the gun deserve it!

The T150TG includes both a 20-round stick and 50-round drum magazine, each titanium gold plated. Now, if you are going to drop $3000+ on this limited edition gun, then you really should go all the way and order the custom “Violin Case” available in either cello or guitar profiles. The case delivers a luxurious foam interior which can accommodate your Chicago Typewriter, a stick mag and round drum magazine.

WHEN MEN WERE MEN
As I hoisted the 13-pound (not a typo), muzzle heavy 1927A-1 Tommy Gun to my shoulder I was reminded that in the old days men were not wimps. If you fill and attach the 50-round drum, the Tommy Gun can easily top the 20-pound mark when it’s ready to rumble. It’s a beast of a gun!

tommy gun patents
The twelve patents are listed on the gun — on this gun the added numbers are part of history.

With its smallish charging knob and wicked-strong recoil spring, charging the Thompson is difficult.

FUNCTIONAL FUN WITH GOOD ACCURACY
Though this Thompson 1927A-1 is equipped with a ladder-style rear sight, which is in theory calibrated to 600-yards, it’s not a tack driving gun. The Tommy delivers practical accuracy of around 1.5-inch groups at 25-yards which equated to 5-7-inch groups at the 100-yard range. At 200-yards I was still able to ring a standard steel silhouette and usually ring it eight out of ten times at 300 yards. Defensive accuracy? Absolutely, and a whole bucket of fun in the process. During the hundred of rounds I had zero issues with feeding and functioning.

tommy gun magazines
This model comes with both polished twenty and fifty round magazines.

$400 IN AMMO GONE IN NO TIME
Well, the T150TDG Thompson 1927A-1 “Deluxe Semi-Auto” Titanium Gold Plated Tommy Gun may not shoot rounds quite as fast as an AR15, however the case of .45 ACP rounds seemed to evaporate stunningly fast. This is a blast to shoot, it delivers zero recoil to the shooter, and is way more accurate than it should be for a 1927 design.

tommy gun rear sight
If you want to mortar rounds at distance the Auto Ordnance is equipped with flip up leaf sight.

FINAL THOUGHTS
With all this discussion about outlawing deadly AR15s, I have not heard anyone say peep about Tommy Guns…at least that was my justification to my wife. This was the defensive carbine of the 1920s, 1940s, and all the way to the 1970s when the AR15 started to get into civilian hands.

These are limited editions and will not be around forever. If you want something special, something unique and something that brings a wow factor to any range session you had better get one on order. This is not only a unique collector piece which Tommy gun fans will value highly down the line, but it delivers a huge fun factor. I cannot recommend this wonderful gun enough. Suck it up and whip out the Amex, it is worth it.

CHECK IT OUT HERE

Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

RELOADERS CORNER: Bullet Ballistic Coefficient

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Ballistic coefficient is a term that’s often used but sometimes not fully understood. Keep reading to find out exactly what it is, and what it isn’t…. HERE

nosler rdf
BC is essentially a race between a real bullet and a mathematical bullet. Real bullet never wins… The closer the real bullet gets to the “standard” bullet, though, the higher its BC and the better it’s going to fly. I’d love to get a Kroger-sack full of G1s… Until then, one of these Nosler RDFs will do nicely.

Glen Zediker

A “ballistic coefficient,” or “BC,” is a number that suggests a bullet’s aerodynamic performance.

BC is a component in bullet design that matters much, and it matters more the farther it travels. Bullets that flat out fly, fly flat far out, are of great interest to any longer-range shooter. A bullet with a high(er)-BC is also an advantage at shorter distances, especially when there are variations in the shooting distance. A flatter-shooting (one of the traits supported by a higher BC) bullet means a more flexible zero, a smaller difference in the elevation hold from, say, 100 to 300 yards. BC is influenced by sectional density, bullet weight, and, mostly, its shape or profile.

BCs are derived by comparison. Here’s how that works: There are “standard” bullets that are mathematical models. Bullet designers and ballisticians know which model to apply to different bullet styles. Pistol bullets, for instance, are calculated from (compared to) different models. For the majority of rifle bullets we’ll encounter, one common model is a “G1” (there are others, like G7, which is becoming the popular standard for boat-tail bullets; G1 is based on a flat-base). The flight of this G1 bullet has been calculated at varying velocities and distances. It’s “all math” because a G1 doesn’t exist in a tangible sense.

vld blueprint
Here’s a bullet blueprint. It’s the Bill Davis original 105gr 6mm “VLD” (very low drag). Design factors that influence BC are pretty much every design factor: length, ogive, boat-tail, meplat, weight. All these factors, in this instance, calculate a BC of 0.560. By the way, there’s about a 5 point BC increase for each added 1 grain of bullet weight.

The standard bullet has a BC of 1.000. An actual bullet that’s compared to, for example, the G1 at points, distances downrange, will either be flying faster or slower than the G1 model. If it’s faster, its BC will be greater than 1.000; if it’s slower, it will be less than 1.000. So it’s a percentage of the standard or model bullet’s performance.

Comparing bullets with different BCs, the one with the higher number loses less speed over distance. Losing less speed means its flight time will be shorter and it won’t drift and drop as much as will a bullet with a lower BC. So, a 0.600 flies better than a 0.550.

Depending on the bullet-maker, assigned or published BCs are either calculated or measured. More mathematics than I can wrap my mind around can get these calculations done based on a blueprint. Measured BCs involve chronographing at the muzzle and then at other points on downrange, same bullet, same flight.

Which method — math or measure — provides the best information? Some, and this only “makes sense,” believe that a measured, tested BC is more realistic and, therefore, more valuable. But, if the point is to compare bullets, calculated BCs might be more reliably accurate. I know a number of very serious NRA High Power shooters who have gone to great lengths to “field test” different bullets. It’s not easy to chronograph at long range. Given that information, measured BCs are quite often lower, but not nearly always. Reasons follow.

All the drift and drop tables (whether printed or digital) you’ll see are based on a bullet’s assigned BC. The accuracy of those tables clearly revolves around what the actual, at that moment, BC performance is from the bullet you’re shooting. Also, some bullets have a different stated BC based on muzzle velocity to start.

A whopping lot of things affect the actual, demonstrated BC: anything that can influence bullet flight influences the actual BC performance.

Bullet stability is a factor. For a stated BC to be shown on a shot, the bullet has to be “asleep.” If it’s not stable, it’s encountering disruptions that will slow it down. The rotational speed of a bullet in a test can influence BC. We’ve seen differences comparing different twist-rate barrels, and the faster twists often show a little lower BC outcome.

Atmospherics, which add up as a list of factors, influence BC mightily. Air density is probably the most powerful influence. Any conditions that allow for easier passage of a bullet through the air don’t detract as much from its BC as do any conditions that serve to hinder its flight. BCs are based on sea-level so can easily show as a higher number at a higher elevation.

uniformed meplat
BC uniformity is important to a long-range shooter’s score (less elevation dispersion results). There will be variations in any box of hollowpoint match-style bullets, and a source for variation is the meplat (tip). These variations are the result of the pointing-up process in manufacture. I’ve measured as much as 0.020 inches sorting through a box of 100. A “meplat uniformer” tool eliminates this variance. Uniforming reduces BC 3-4 points, but it’s a trade many serious long-range shooters say is worth the effort. Uniformed on right.

meplat uniformer

Range-realized reality is that the demonstrated BC changes from morning to afternoon and day to day and place to place. The calculated BC is not changing, of course, but the mistake is assuming that a BC is a finite measure of bullet performance. If you’re interested, there’s some valuable information from David Tubb (visit DavidTubb.com). He’s done a volume of work on calculating influences from atmospherics as it applies to his DTR project, which, in one way of seeing it, gets down to understanding why it’s really rare to dial in what a ballistics table says for a particular bullet and speed and distance, and hit the target.

One last (for now) bit of information I’ve always found valuable: a BC is a finite thing in one regard, and that is that any BC derived from a G1 model, for instance, fits all bullets with that same BC. This was helpful before ballistics apps were as common and easy as they are now. For instance, if there was a new .224-caliber bullet with an advertised BC, but no tables, just find another bullet, of any caliber, with that same BC, plug in the velocity, and the drift and drop figures will be accurate.

The information in this article is from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available HERE at Midsouth. Also check HERE for more information about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

SKILLS: 9mm VS. .45ACP: The Ultimate Caliber Conundrum

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This debate has raged for decades, but it’s  important  to settle for yourself when choosing a defensive caliber., Read what some of the best have to say HERE

pistol calibers compared

 

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory 

And here we go again … you already know that you can’t go wrong with either of these classic calibers. But it’s a debate that continues to create controversy among shooting enthusiasts everywhere. Each round has its pros and cons when compared, yet each remains a staple among firearm fans.

Read on for not just some of the same old argument (there’s some of that), but considerations from our Team Springfield™ SMEs on which caliber may be the best for you.

45 compared to 9mm
There is more to answering this question than just the 0.095 difference in bullet diameters…

9MM
RECOIL
The greatest attribute of the 9mm cartridge is that it has the easiest-to-manage recoil. Pair this with the weight of a full- or mid-sized pistol, and handling will prove to be comfortable and pleasant. And this combination is also a perfect gun for brand-new shooters to start with.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY
If you don’t want to go broke buying range ammo, then 9mm has your back. Due to its prominence among our military and law enforcement communities, and popularity with civilians, the 9×19 is the most commonly-encountered pistol round world-wide.

This and the relatively small amount of material used in the manufacturing process also makes 9mm the most economical center-fire pistol round currently available.

PERSONAL DEFENCE
When it comes to personal defense, the 9mm is more than ready to do the trick, especially with hotter +P (increased velocity) hollow-point loads. Its lighter recoil makes follow-up shots quicker, and the smaller size gives 9mm pistols additional round capacity.

OUTDATED DATA?
Team Springfield™ SME Ivan Gelo, is a huge fan of the .45, but knows that much of the comparison bullet “data” stems from bullet performance technology that is over 25 years old. Like most tools, equipment and devices, bullet technology has grown by leaps and bounds over that same period, especially in the area of the 9mm pistol round. Ivan says that, “Old 9mm technology was related to the .45 and the concept of the heavier bullet; hence the widespread use of the 147 grain 9mm bullets. With advances in technology though, the more common 9mm 124/125 grain +P loads have substantial stopping power. So with greater mag capacity and the lighter ‘carry’ weight, the 9mm benefits are easy to argue.”

PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS
If you have any physical limitations, i.e. carpel tunnel, tendinitis, loss of hand-strength, etc., Team Springfield™ shooter Kippi Leatham recommends the 9mm over .45 without question: “I shot larger calibers through many of my competitive years. My first competition gun was a 1911 .45 — and I loved it! Eventually though, over several decades, I developed tendinitis in both elbows. With continued proper strength training and a decision to shoot exclusively 9mm pistols, my elbow injuries are no longer an issue.”

So if you have physical limitations or pain, don’t continue to damage your body or create discomfort in exchange for greater stopping power. In Kippi’s opinion, a well-trained, competent and confident 9mm pistol owner is easily able to defend him or herself should the need arise.

.45ACP
STOPPING POWER
The terms “stopping power” or “knockdown power” are concepts popular with the self-defense crowd. The .45 regularly is considered to have more stopping power than a 9. It’s a big reason why it was adopted alongside the 1911 for U.S. military service back in the day. While its velocity is slower than 9mm, what you lack in speed, you more than make up for in a larger and heavier projectile.

To its fan base, the .45 is the best round for law enforcement and personal and while the .45 does obviously have more recoil than 9mm, that is the cost of increased power.

Curiously, decades later the US Military also adopted the 9mm and widely replaced the .45 with it, but for more reasons than power alone. Many Spec Ops groups did not change, and retained the .45 for its greater power.

Team Springfield™ Captain Rob Leatham says, “My position on this subject is well documented: I like the .45. While currently, I do shoot more 9mm in competition than anything else, it’s because of the rules and subsequent advantages the lower-powered, lighter-kicking 9 has. For defensive use, especially in a mid- or full-sized, easily controlled pistol, I would choose the .45 every time.”

FROM THE PREPPER’S MINDSET
Steve Horsman — Team Springfield™ Expert Prepper — has multiple guns in an assortment of calibers. But he does have a preference when carrying for self defense. He likens the .45ACP v 9mm debate to hunting. Steve states that choosing a 9mm for self defense, with the higher-capacity, lighter kick, and lighter-weight, is like him choosing to hunt elk with an AR 15 with a 30 round magazine. “No one in their right mind would ever use a .223 for elk hunting; they would more likely choose a .308 [minimum]-caliber rifle. Given the choice, I will pick the bigger bullet with more power every single time.” Magazine capacity alone cannot and will not substitute for power and accuracy.

AMERICAN AS…
Apple pie, baseball, bald eagles, and .45ACP! This cartridge has a proven track record in America that dates back over a century. It was trusted by the United States through two world wars, and, while its use among the military and LE agencies has lessened more recently, it still serves a large role in many specialized units, as well as remaining a favorite of many civilians.

Supply of this cartridge should also be high. The .45 auto has been around for double-digit decades and while pricier than 9mm, the large quantities in which it’s produced makes it easy to find.

PICK ONE AND PRACTICE
To summarize, both the 9mm and the .45ACP are great self-defense rounds. Though a 9mm pistol will hold more rounds, the .45 ACP definitely packs more punch.

So as with most things firearms related — pick your preference: heavier and more powerful cartridges with more recoil OR a caliber that allows for greater capacity, less recoil and a lower cost to shoot.

And as you read above, even our Team Springfield™ SMEs don’t agree on caliber… but they do agree on this:

Whichever caliber you choose, put some rounds down-range, shoot a lot of them actually, and make sure you train on a regular basis. Become proficient with your caliber of choice, because that is the best way to maximize the effect of any firearm that you carry for self defense.

Great video featuring Rob Leatham, Team Springfield Captain HERE

President Trump Reassures Gun Owners: THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED!

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In the wake of outrageous statements by anti-gun radicals like former Justice John Paul Steven, here’s President Trump on the issue. READ MORE

trump 2a tweet

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In response to statements last week by Former Justice Stevens, President Trump’s tweet read: THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED! As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the recent words of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY.

Trump also called for the election of more supporters to ensure that the Supreme Court does not lose its pro-Second Amendment majority. Right now the court has 4 members who oppose the right to Keep and Bear arms.

Unsurprisingly, radical media outlets such as Rolling Stone joined the chorus calling for repeal. The Washington Post reported that their polling shows that 20% of the American people also support repeal.

Trump’s strong support for our fundamental rights stands in stark contrast to these calls to repeal the Second Amendment. But this newfound openness is useful information for gun owners. For decades anti-gun leaders have claimed that they only want “common sense” gun regulations. Stevens and others expose the truth that the anti-gun movement really wants to erase our rights and ban all or almost all guns.

NRA appreciates the outspoken support of President Trump for our Second Amendment freedoms. With the strong support of our members and all gun owners, NRA will always stand with the President in opposition to these efforts.

Dissenting Justice in the Heller Case Now Argues for Repeal of the Second Amendment

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Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens claims that the concerns which underlie the 2nd amendment are a “relic of the 18th century” and that it should be repealed in its entirety. READ IT ALL

supreme court building

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In 2008, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was on the losing side of District of. Columbia v. Heller, the landmark Supreme Court case that clearly recognized the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms independent of service in an organized militia. Stevens wrote a lengthy dissent, insisting that the framers of the amendment showed not “the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms.” Years later, Stevens wrote a book which argued in favor of amending the Second Amendment to reverse the Heller decision and give his side the win. Recently, however, Stevens dropped the pretense of believing the Second Amendment has any value at all, arguing in a New York Times editorial that the concerns which underlie the amendment are a “relic of the 18th century” and that it should be repealed in its entirety.

Stevens insisted that the “civic engagement” of “schoolchildren” participating in recent antigun demonstrations “demand[s] our respect.” Yet his “respect” for the protestors ironically does not extend to trusting their ability to exercise their own fundamental rights, as he immediately turned to endorsing several ambitious gun control proposals, including increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years. He also signaled his support for “prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons” and “establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms.” Stevens should perhaps be credited with being more intellectually honest and transparent than he has been in the past when he merely advocated for a narrow reading of the Second Amendment. Now he’s willing to admit he simply wants the amendment — and the right to individual and corporate defense that it serves — to go away altogether.

Stevens, however, had some further advice for the young protestors, encouraging them to “seek more effective and more lasting reform” by demanding “a repeal of the Second Amendment.” It would, he noted, “move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform.”

What’s particularly notable about Stevens’s argument is how dismissive he remains about the Second Amendment’s existing individual right, viewing it as no bar to banning all modern firearms and as allowing for broad classes of Americans to be categorically banned from acquiring any firearm at all.

But even that state of affairs is intolerable to him, because it still allows for the thought crime of believing the right to keep and bear arms has enduring value or any sort of instrumental role in limiting government authority. Worse still, the current status of the Second Amendment empowers the NRA in its advocacy and messaging efforts.

What Steven wants, in other words, is to completely shut down — not just the substance of the right to keep and bear arms — but the very legitimacy of defending it as an American value

As is often the case when gun control advocates feel emboldened, one of their more oblivious and politically inept standard bearers has embarrassed the whole movement by being too forthcoming about an “objective” still roundly rejected by a large majority of Americans. After the Stevens editorial appeared, the Washington Post quickly reported on a February poll in which 60% of Americans opposed repealing the Second Amendment, a rate three times higher than for support of a repeal. Such a move is hardly the “simple” solution that Stevens portrays it to be. As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said in response to Stevens’s comments: “The men and women of the National Rifle Association, along with the majority of the American people and the Supreme Court, believe in the Second Amendment right to self-protection and we will unapologetically continue to fight to protect this fundamental freedom.”

Indeed, within hours of the New York Times publishing the Stevens editorial, an article appeared in the Washington Post characterizing Stevens’s comments as “supremely unhelpfull” and proving that the Post’s writers aren’t wrong about everything. “In one fell swoop,” the article laments, Stevens has lent credence to the talking point that the left really just wants to get rid of gun ownership and reasserted the need for gun-rights supporters to prevent his ilk from ever being appointed again (with the most obvious answer being: Vote Republican).”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Stories abound about some of the more overreaching and extreme views that were expressed during the antigun March in Washington. Yet while youthful calls for a “gun free world” can be chalked up to innocent idealism, no one can claim that a man who sat on the U.S. Supreme Court during the heyday of the handgun ban era and personally participated in the Heller case did not speak knowingly and deliberately. He was, in fact, simply expressing the prevailing opinion of the law’s liberal elite, however unartfully.

Stevens should perhaps be credited with being more intellectually honest and transparent than he has been in the past when he merely advocated for a narrow reading of the Second Amendment. Now he’s willing to admit he simply wants the amendment — and the right to individual and corporate defense that it serves — to go away altogether.

He’s also right that this, ultimately, is the “objective” behind the long-standing movement that is lately receiving a boost from some well-meaning and earnest young activists.

And whether gun owners hear it from a 17-year-old high school student or a 97-year-old retired Supreme Court Justice, they’d do well to listen carefully. Today’s antigun advocacy merely foreshadows tomorrow’s abolition of your rights.

That’s why the NRA will not yield real rights for symbolic measures that offer no public safety benefits. As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said in response to Stevens’s comments: “The men and women of the National Rifle Association, along with the majority of the American people and the Supreme Court, believe in the Second Amendment right to self-protection and we will unapologetically continue to fight to protect this fundamental freedom.”