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U.S. Law Shield: Untraceable “Ghost Guns” On the Rise, But Are They Legal?

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Ghost Gun .(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Ghost Gun (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Gun enthusiasts and hobbyists have long been building their own firearms by purchasing lower receivers or kits and other parts needed to assemble a firearm.

The lower receiver is a small block of metal about the size of a deck of cards where the trigger mechanism is housed and where bullets pass through. A gun cannot function without it. A finished lower receiver is the piece of the firearm regulated by federal law and must contain a serial number stamped into it.

Technology today and the hundreds or even thousands of websites selling lower receivers, kits, and parts over the internet makes it even easier. There are no background checks required to purchase these lower receivers or kits.

There are no federal restrictions on an individual making a firearm for personal use, so long as it does not violate the National Firearms Act (NFA), according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The ATF has long held that items such as receiver blanks, “castings” or “machined bodies” in which the fire-control cavity area is completely solid and un-machined have not reached the “stage of manufacture” which would result in the classification of a firearm per the Gun Control Act of 1934 (GCA). That stage is “80 percent complete.” ATF regulations hold that receiver blanks that do not meet the definition of a “firearm” are not subject to regulation under the GCA.

Furthermore, under federal law, no serial numbers are needed on firearms that are built for personal use, making them untraceable by law enforcement.

By leaving the lower receiver unfinished— meaning only partially drilled — it fails to meet the ATF’s requirement of being more than 80 percent complete and is therefore not considered a “firearm” subject to regulations. Buyers can finish the receivers at home by finishing the drilling.

The ATF refers to such guns as unfinished receivers, though they’re also called 80 percent receivers, home built firearms, or “ghost guns.”

And it’s all perfectly legal.

These self-assembled and untraceable “ghost guns” are becoming increasingly more popular amongst gun enthusiasts across the country and is becoming big business for parts manufacturers and for dealers selling kits.

Elite Custom Railing in Holly Hill, Florida, for example, specializes in unfinished lower receivers for a do-it-yourself AR-15. A company spokesperson said they sell between 100 and 150 lower receivers each day.

It is just one of six companies in Volusia County alone engaged in manufacturing and/or selling kits or unfinished receivers that allow buyers to assemble military-style, semi-automatic rifles at home.

Another Volusia County company, Stone Mountain Gold ‘n Guns in DeLand, will sell the “80% receivers” to a customer only in person and not over the internet as others in the county do. A manager said he will complete the sale only if he feels comfortable with the person buying the receiver. Stone Mountain sells about 20 a month, according to the manager.

The ATF and some law enforcement agencies have expressed a concern about these homemade firearms, believing that the availability of the untraceable receivers will encourage criminals and terrorists to start building their own weapons.

Port Orange Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi said in an interview in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, “We’re making it easy for the criminals. I have a concern — a huge concern over that.”

Mary Salter, ATF Tampa Field Division public information officer, believes some criminals are purchasing non-serialized and therefore untraceable firearms because their intent is to commit crimes.

“ATF, and law enforcement, in general is seeing homemade firearms without serial numbers at crime scenes,” Salter said. “Tracing firearms found at crime scenes to the original purchaser is a valuable tool in law enforcement,” Salter added. “When a homemade firearm is found at a crime scene, investigators are left with a dead end, where a trace of a firearm may generate valuable investigative leads.”

“With advancements in technology in regards to 3D printers,” Salter said, “CNC milling machines, and the availability of receiver blanks, it has become much easier for a person to build a firearm. “When a “homemade firearm is found at a crime scene, it means investigators are virtually left with a dead end,” said Salter.

And in California, Graham Barlowe, resident agent in charge at the ATF’s Sacramento Field Office, said he started seeing crimes involving untraceable guns about two years ago. In November of this year, Barlowe’s undercover agents arrested eight men for manufacturing and selling illegal firearms, seizing about 90 un-serialized firearms out of the more than 230 illegal firearms found. His agents have also found electronic mills that carve a complete receiver in 12 minutes.

“It is one of the biggest problems in Northern California for our office, if not the biggest problem,” Barlowe says. He estimates that his office has seized about 500 un-serialized receivers since 2013.

The Santa Monica shooter, John Zawahri, used a rifle made from parts he purchased online to kill himself and five others on June 7, 2013.

atf-receiver-1
From ATF.

And in neighboring Arizona, between 2009 to 2011, ATF reported that it seized 191 of the 80 percent receivers in Tucson that were headed to Mexico to be assembled, possibly by cartels.

In Florida, law enforcement officials claim the unregistered guns can make it easy for criminals to arm themselves with untraceable weapons.

However, others disagree with that assessment, claiming the skill and equipment necessary to build the firearms is anything but easy and, therefore, makes this approach more costly and time-consuming than simply acquiring an already completed firearm. A milling machine (or at least a milling guide kit), for example, can cost around $1,500, and it could take weeks to complete an AR-15 kit.

And to complete an unfinished lower receiver, a person must carefully mill or drill out a portion of the inside of the receiver, which can take many painstaking hours. Without a properly milled lower received, a functioning firearm would be impossible to produce.

Many believe manufacturing a homemade weapon is generally too costly, too troublesome, and too expensive for criminals.

Furthermore, FBI statistics indicate semi-automatic weapons are used in less than one percent of crimes in the U.S. Most criminals use handguns, and most guns used in crimes are stolen. Criminals looking to buy a weapon can get them from private sales without a background check and do not have to go through the trouble and expense of building their own rifle.

Rob Dunaway, President of American Spirit Arms in Scottsdale, Arizona, says most of the customers who buy the incomplete receivers are people who like to personalize their semi-automatic rifle and or more worried about changes to the gun laws.

“Some people buy them to store them for potential future use,” Dunaway said.

Previous attempts to regulate “ghost guns” in California failed, when a bill that would have allowed the manufacture or assembly of homemade weapons but required the makers to first apply to the state Department of Justice for a serial number that would be given only after the applicants underwent a background check, was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2014.

However, earlier this year, Gov. Brown did sign a bill requiring people who build guns from these 80% receivers to register them and get a serial number. That law takes full effect in 2019. — by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog

Do you believe “ghost guns” or the 80 percent receivers pose a serious problem? Should you have to undergo a background check to even buy an 80 percent receiver or kit before you are allowed to build your own firearm for your own personal use? Should you have to register a firearm you build yourself and obtain a serial number? Let us know what you think.

U.S. Law Shield: Trapped in a Demonstration? What Are Your Self-Defense Options?

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Originally written by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield for the U.S. Law Shield Blog.

US Law Shield Logo x 72 ppiWe’ve all seen the news reports of the mob scenes and riots across the country following recent police shootings and now the election. We feel that it is important that you understand your rights should you find yourself unintentionally caught up in such a situation where an angry mob blocks the roadway.

As a real-life example, we received a call to the emergency hotline from a member who was traveling and found himself and his family confronted by angry rioters in a major city out west. With the threatening mob descending upon his vehicle, the member turned around to make a hasty exit. However, as he was trying to get his family out of harm’s way, one screaming rioter charged toward the member’s car and was struck, landing on the hood before rolling off. Fortunately, the member and his family safely escaped the melee.

To figure out if the member’s act of running into a rioter was legal, we turned to Texas & U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington with the question: Are you justified in hitting or “running over” someone in this scenario?

protestors stop traffic
Those packages are going to be late…

“The answer? It depends!” Byington said. “Don’t you hate that answer?”

Let’s look at whether an act of running down a rioter would be lawful as a justified act of self-defense.

To begin the analysis, she said we treat this situation just as we would any other use of deadly force in self-defense. Let’s start with some general concepts, and then analyze how the specifics of the law will apply in these scenarios. The concepts to focus on are imminence, reasonableness, and not being the aggressor.

Imminence. Prosecutors love to attack the imminence prong. Does a group of people blocking a roadway pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to you inside of the vehicle? Blocking a roadway, normally, cannot cause death or serious bodily injury to those inside the vehicle, much less pose an imminent or immediate threat.  As a result, using a vehicle to “run them down,” or even to physically push them aside, is unlikely to be justified. However, if there is additional threatening conduct such as the protestors attempting to enter the vehicle, or say, charging toward you with a baseball bat, that is a completely different scenario. If you are placed in reasonable fear of imminent deadly force, you would be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, including the use of your vehicle to neutralize the unlawful deadly force threat.

Reasonableness. What would be required to generate a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury? The key here is that it doesn’t matter what your personal beliefs are if a jury would not believe that your fear was reasonable under the circumstances. There are extremes where your conduct will almost always be viewed as reasonable, such as attempts to set your car on fire or flip it over. On the other hand, under many circumstances, it will be extremely difficult to convince a jury that you acted reasonably if you use deadly force against protestors. One example would be injuring or attempting to injure a group of peaceful protestors who are merely blocking a roadway. If the protestors attempt, or reasonably appear to attempt, to forcibly enter blockaded vehicles, you will gain a presumption of reasonableness under the laws of many, but not all, states. You will also have a much better argument that you had reasonable grounds to fear an imminent attack with deadly force. Such conduct could include the smashing of windows or attempts to open doors. Also, you do not necessarily need to wait until the protestors have turned violent against your vehicle if you see it happening to someone else. Remember, you must have a reasonable belief from what you are seeing and hearing around you and not merely speculating about what might occur.”

Byington also noted, “Keep in mind, here in Texas, you may also use deadly force to protect a third party as long as you would be justified in using deadly force to protect yourself in that same situation.

If you intend to use your vehicle against a rioter, it will almost always constitute the use of deadly force – that is, force capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. Deadly force can be used in self-defense to the extent the force with which you are threatened also constitutes deadly force. In other words, deadly force can be met with deadly force, she said. If you are faced with anything less than deadly force, you will face an uphill battle in arguing that your actions were reasonable. To make matters worse, if you respond to a threat that is non-deadly in nature with unlawful deadly force, it would allow the other person to lawfully respond in kind with deadly force against you.

Not the Aggressor. Is the person seeking justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense a victim, or is he the aggressor? State laws may vary, but generally, the defense of justification is not available to the individual who starts the fight and does not stop to convey to the other person their intention to stop the aggression.

So, how might this apply in a protest or riot situation? Byington noted, “Say you are stuck for an hour in the middle of a protest and decide to ‘nudge’ one of these folks with your vehicle so that you can get out of the traffic snarl. If the otherwise peaceful protestor then becomes violent, and you use deadly force to protect yourself, a prosecutor, judge, or jury could easily argue that you were the initial aggressor. You may lose a number of legal protections, and on top of that, appear like the aggressor during the investigation or trial.

Suppose you yell out “Sorry! Didn’t mean to bump you, it won’t happen again!” If the other person continues the assault after having been informed of your intention to stop, at that point you may regain the right of self-defense, although the protestor will almost certainly argue that he/she could not hear you due to the noise of the protest.

A Few Practical Tips:

So, what should you do if you come across such a mob?

STOP. Don’t go any farther. Do whatever is necessary to change this is a stop signdirection and get out of the area. If you are alert, hopefully you will see these masses of people far enough in advance so that you can completely avoid the situation, long before being surrounded.

Remember, you can’t legally run people over just because they are in the road. You may think the safest action to take in a situation like this is to keep moving, which may result in hitting people with your car to get them out of the way. That isn’t legal! It could easily be considered an aggravated assault, or worse! Even if people are illegally blocking the road, you will go to jail. It is that simple. Avoidance is key.

However, once the rioters attack you or attempt to enter the vehicle, the game changes, and your legal justification kicks in. With your vehicle surrounded so that you can’t escape and attackers trying to burn your car, flip it over, or attempt to drag you out of it, it is reasonable to assume that you will suffer imminent serious bodily injury or death. It is at this point you may use deadly force. In this moment of adrenaline and pure fear, you must keep your common sense. Do not get out and try to shoot your way out of the mob! You will quickly be overtaken and perhaps have your gun stripped from you. Instead, use your vehicle to get out of that situation by driving away from the surrounding rioters.

An additional point to remember is, should your vehicle come under attack, roll your windows down about half an inch. Experts say it is harder to break a window that is partly down than one that is fully closed. Turn off your ventilation system so you do not draw in any outside air in the event there is tear gas or smoke present. Further, if surrounded and moving slowly, you may want to take off your seat belt to allow a quick exit from the vehicle should it be overturned or set on fire.

“Once again, it is evident that your best course of action is to avoid these, often, pre-planned demonstrations altogether and drive away quickly should you come upon one,” she said.

The law is different in every state. For example, Texas has the “Castle Doctrine,” which gives a person the presumption of reasonableness if he or she uses deadly force against a person attempting to enter or entering their vehicle. Byington said, “It is a HUGE legal tool. Unfortunately, other states may not expand their Castle Doctrine to the vehicle [New Jersey]. With that in mind, I hope everyone can stay safe – and also stay legal! – if you find yourself in any protest or riot situation.”

To help Members in other states, we contacted U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorneys to get additional insights. Their comments appear below.

COLORADO

Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards offered this explanation on Colorado’s the law on self-defense. In the book Colorado Gun Law: Armed And Educated, co-authored by Richards, Stanley Marks, and Christopher Ferrero, Richards points out that “a person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he may use a degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for that purpose.

“Importantly,” Richards adds, “a person is not justified in using any degree of physical force if he provokes the other person into the use of unlawful force with the intent of using that as a justification to cause the other person bodily injury or death.

Richards also points out that “[D]eadly physical force may be used only if a person reasonably believes that a lesser degree of force is inadequate, and he has reasonable grounds to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury.”

For more specific information on this and other Colorado gun laws, click the Colorado Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.

VIRGINIA

For the law on self-defense in Virginia, we turned to U.S. Law Shield of Virginia Independent Program Attorneys Mitchell Wells and W. Edward Riley of Riley & Wells. In the upcoming book, Virginia Gun Law: Armed And Educated, co-authored by Riley and Wells, they point out that a person caught in a demonstration that’s turning violent must reasonably fear that they are in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily injury or death to be justified in the use of deadly force. For more specific information on this and other Virginia gun laws, look for the upcoming announcement as to when Virginia Gun Law: Armed And Educated will be published and available.

OKLAHOMA

Independent Program Attorney Robert Robles added “[T]hat the laws in Oklahoma regarding the use of deadly force in a self-defense situation are pretty well in line with the laws in the neighboring state to the south [Texas] and can be found in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, Title 21, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 1290.1, et seq.”

“In Oklahoma, the law gives the presumption that a person held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm and therefore deadly force was necessary, if it is used against an individual who was unlawfully or forcibly in the process of entering or entered into an occupied vehicle; or is attempting to forcibly remove another against his or her will from an occupied vehicle. Deadly force is also presumed to be justified to prevent the commission or attempted commission of forcible felonies including murder, burglary, carjacking, and home invasion robberies,” he said.

“Furthermore,” Robles added, “if people are present in any place where they have a right to be, they have no duty to retreat and have the right to meet force with force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

For more specific information on this and other Oklahoma gun laws, click the Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.

MISSOURI

Independent Program Attorney Deborah Alessi summarized Missouri’s law as, “A person cannot use deadly force upon another person unless he or she reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself, or another against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony, and is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter a vehicle lawfully occupied by such person.”

Alessi added that “a person does not have the duty to retreat from their occupied vehicle before using deadly force under the circumstances described, and these laws can be found in RSMo Chapter 563 Defense of Justification, Section 563.0031.1.”

GEORGIA
Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo expands upon the Texas law to explain how the law of self-defense would apply in Georgia under these circumstances.

  1. Innocence. Is the person seeking justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense an innocent victim, or is he or she the instigator of the confrontation? In Georgia an individual may not claim as justified a use of force against another when he or she initially provokes the initial force as an excuse to commit an act of force; at any time when committing (or attempting to commit) or fleeing the commission of a felony; or anytime he or she was the initial aggressor in a situation or was engaged in mutual “combat by agreement”, unless or until withdrawing from combat and making that decision known to the other individual. See O.C.G.A. §16-13-21(b). If the other party continues an assault after having been informed of your intention to stop, then you may “reacquire” the right of self-defense.
  2. Imminence. Does a group of people blocking the roadway pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to you inside your vehicle? Simply blocking a roadway cannot normally cause death or serious bodily harm to those inside a vehicle. As a result, using one’s vehicle to “run them down,” or even to physically push them aside, is unlikely to be legally justified unless there is some additional threatening conduct. But suppose the mob begins more direct threats or the use of actual force against you? If you are now placed in reasonable fear of an imminent deadly force attack, then you could be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, including the use of your vehicle to neutralize the unlawful deadly force threat. Remember, the use of force is justified in Georgia when a party “reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. . . .” Imminence is vitally important, especially when using a weapon as deadly as a car: the threat must be real and immediate.
  3. Proportionality. Keep in mind, however— should you intend to use your vehicle against anyone— this will almost certainly constitute deadly force, that force “which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm.” Deadly force may only be used to protect yourself or another person when “necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury. . . or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” O.C.G.A. §16-3-21(a). Should you respond to a threat that is non-deadly in nature with deadly force (or one that does not constitute a forcible felony, such as murder, rape, armed robbery, or aggravated assault; any felony that contains an element of force), it would allow the other person to respond in kind with deadly force against you. Additionally, you may be the one charged.
  4. Reasonableness. What action would be required of a mob or any of its members to generate a fear of death or great bodily injury that justifies the use of a weapon like a car in the eyes of police, prosecutors, judges, and juries? If the protestors attempt (or reasonably appear to attempt) to forcibly enter your vehicle or the vehicle of others, this could certainly constitute reasonable grounds to fear an imminent deadly force attack. Such conduct would include the smashing of windows or attempts to force open doors. The same applies to attempts to set vehicles on fire, or to flip vehicles over. Generally, a defender need not necessarily wait until the protestors have turned violent against his particular vehicle: If members of a mob have begun threatening or using deadly force against other blockaded vehicles, it could be considered reasonable to believe your own vehicle is likely to be next — you are, after all, legally entitled to defend yourself not just against the danger already occurring to you but also against the danger that is about to occur, that is imminent. But you must draw a reasonable belief from actual evidence around you, not merely speculate what might happen.

Kilgo went on to add, “If you find yourself in a mob situation, remember, you can’t just run anyone over with your car. It’s best to just keep moving, which may result in your bumping people out of the way with your car. However, this may be considered battery on your part, which is a crime. You may be arrested if you strike someone with your car, absent a legitimate threat to your life or the life of others. So it’s best to avoid those situations.”

“Perhaps most importantly,” Kilgo went on to say, “familiarize yourself with Georgia’s laws on the use of force, as well as such important legal concepts as the ‘Castle Doctrine’ and Georgia’s stand your ground law. The law can and does protect you in situations such as this, but you must be aware of what your rights are. While your best course of action is to avoid these often pre-planned demonstrations altogether and drive away quickly should you come upon one, knowing what you may legally do to protect yourself and your family in such a situation is your best protection.”

FLORIDA
Independent Program Attorneys David Katz and James Phillips offered this summary of the law regarding the use of deadly force in Florida.

“Under Florida Statute Chapter 776, Section 776.012(2),” says Katz, “A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

Phillips added, “If you use or threaten to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection, you do not have a duty to retreat and have the right to stand your ground, so long as you are not engaged in a criminal activity and are in a place where you have a right to be.”

“You are presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm if the other person was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered your occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove you against your will from your occupied vehicle,” Katz pointed out.

For more specific information on this and other Florida gun laws, click the Florida Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.

PENNSYLVANIA
According to Independent Program Attorney Justine McShane, the law of self-defense in the Keystone State is similar to the law in Texas, but different in significant ways.

“The Pennsylvania self-defense statute provides that use of force is ‘justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.’ 18 Pa.C.S. § 505.”

In fact, McShane has written a blog that addresses self-defense law in Pennsylvania. It can be found here.

For more specific information on this and other Pennsylvania gun laws, click the Pennsylvania Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.

To learn more, we also encourage you to attend a Gun Law Seminar  and get further instructions from our Independent Program Attorneys in your state. Click here to find a seminar in your state.

co2

Colorado Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 394 pages
ISBN-10: 069264072X
ISBN-13: 978-0692640722
Colorado Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

https://book.uslawshield.com/florida/?src=blog

Florida Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 329 pages
ISBN-10: 0692680217
ISBN-13: 978-0692680216
Florida Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Ook-book-3d-309x492klahoma Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 415 pages
ISBN-10: 0692758046
ISBN-13: 978-0692758045
Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

pa2Pennsylvania Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 378 pages
ISBN-10: 069268011X
ISBN-13: 978-0692680117
Pennsylvania Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

tx2Texas Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 382 pages
ISBN-10: 0692506500
ISBN-13: 978-0692506509
Texas Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Gun shops anticipate a busy Black Friday despite Hillary Clinton loss

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Despite many gun owners stocking up prior to the 2016 Presidential Election, firearms retailers still expect a good holiday sales season.


Source: Reuters


msss_holiday_sales

Like most other retailers, gun sellers thrive during the holidays. Last year’s Black Friday featured record activity for a single day, according to Federal background check data. This year, Christmas actually came early for U.S. gun shop owners. Spurred on by fears of a Hillary Clinton victory and the accompanying threat of restrictive gun legislation, U.S gun shop owners had staggering sales in the months prior to the election, but these same retailers may now be hard-pressed to match last year’s record holiday sales (December 2015 was the second busiest month ever, next to December 2012 in the face of an Obama-driven push for more restrictions). Analysts believe that this year’s holiday sales may appear to be floundering due to gun owners having stocked up in anticipation of a possible Clinton presidency. Overall, though, there’s no cause for alarm.

Federal background check data showed that gun retailers had a record October this year, the month preceding the November Presidential Election. As reported last issue, gun store traffic has fallen off substantially since Donald Trump won the presidency. The following day, November 8, shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp dropped 15% (but with a rebound this past week), while Sturm Ruger & Company’s stock is 17% lower.

Now, with this year’s Black Friday upon us, gun dealers say traffic is regaining momentum after the post-election drop.

“I’m not expecting it to be any slower than our normal Black Friday,” said Kellie Weeks, owner of Georgia Gun Store in Gainesville: “But if Hillary had won, we would have sold out already…”

History repeats… After Democratic candidate Barack Obama was elected in 2008, November background checks jumped 48% compared to the prior November, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. By comparison, background checks rose a more modest 5% in November 2004 after Republican George W. Bush was re-elected.

The Federal background checks are the best source for factual data on gun sales, which gun manufacturers do not publicly release. This data is refined and relayed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF eliminates applications for conceal-carry permits (typically made by people who already own guns) from the data to give a better reflection of actual firearms purchases.

Through October 2016, background checks are up 15% compared to the same time last year, suggesting another a strong year of overall sales.

Wall Street expects Smith & Wesson’s revenue to increase 28% in 2016 and 11% next year, based on data from Thomson Reuters.


Let’s relax a little and go buy the guns that we really want to have, and let’s get back to enjoying that pursuit. It’s a far better feeling to buy something you’ve always wanted rather than something you might not be able to ever get again… So what’s on your Christmas shopping list?

black friday
christmas gift gun

NRA CEO to members “Our Time is Now”

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NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre has released a new video commentary titled “Our Time is Now,”  which applauds NRA members and gun owners who achieved the historic accomplishment of electing Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States and sending HRC on permanent political vacation. Continue reading NRA CEO to members “Our Time is Now”

Firearms Industry Stocks Fall Post-Election

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Looks like a great presidential win for gun owners was a loss for some in the firearms industry…. Ruger, Smith & Wesson stock prices fall sharply on Wednesday following the election.


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Firearm stocks opened high Wednesday, but just a few hours into the trading day, began steadily dropping, and by the close of the day, two major manufacturers saw sharp declines in their share prices. Newly-renamed Smith & Wesson took a major hit, falling 15% in value. Sturm, Ruger & Company showed a 14% decline in market value.

Even though Smith & Wesson and Ruger shares fell, some ammunition and defense corporation prices climbed. Olin Corporation (Winchester Ammunition) saw a 3% increase, General Dynamics climbed 8%, and Lockheed Martin ended Wednesday with a substantial 14% gain.

Overall, the Dow skyrocketed 257 points Wednesday, following an initial, but brief, price plunge. Market analysts credit president-elect Trump’s assuring acceptance speech for the soaring end to the day.

A note Wednesday from analyst Gil Luria (Director of Research for Wedbush Securities) stated that the election results are good for the “long-term viability of the [gun manufacturing] industry.” But. The Trump victory bundled with a Republican Congress, could be a net-negative for Smith & Wesson and others as it “eliminates any realistic fear of gun regulation,” Luria wrote. According to the note, threats of restrictive gun regulations had been a major force driving higher volume firearms sales over the last eight years.

The Trump victory was no doubt assisted strongly by efforts by NRA supporters. Given that the NRA has been accused of having “morphed from an advocacy group for hunters into a radical mouthpiece for its largest benefactors, the gun manufacturers” (from a letter published in the LA Times) looks like individual rights and profits might for a time better exist higher and lower, respectively. What matters is the long run.

New Jersey High School Student Suspended for “Anti-Gun-Control” Project

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A high-school student in Manville, New Jersey was suspended and ordered to undergo psychological evaluation resulting from his assigned classroom presentation on an “anti-gun-control” topic.

MSSS_school_story_1


Originally reported by News 12 (New Jersey)


Frank Harvey, a Manville High School (NJ) senior says that he was suspended from school and ordered to go for a psychological evaluation after an anti-gun control project he was assigned last year was found on his thumb drive.

He had left the drive in the school computer lab room, and evidently someone found it, saw the presentation, and alerted school officials. That was on a Monday. On Tuesday, Harvey was suspended by the Manville School District for the content on the thumb drive and said that he had to undergo a five-hour psychological exam before he could come back to school. Manville police were called in and questioned Harvey, but cleared him of any wrongdoing.

“I’ve never been a violent person,” said Harvey. “I’ve never had detention in my life.” Harvey’s mother, Mary Vervan, said she will not subject her son to such an evaluation for no reason, and decided to pull him out of school. He turned his books in on Wednesday and signed a school withdrawal form, and Harvey says he will now work towards earning his GED.

Harvey had been assigned the project during his junior year for a College and Career Readiness class. The assignment was to come up with a topic that, according to Harvey, would “provoke class discussion.” He chose an anti-gun control viewpoint, communicated through a video presentation he produced. The presentation was impressive enough to earn him an “A” on the project, he said.

His teacher, Rachel Gottfried, has since denied giving her College and Career Readiness class the assignment and approving his topic, Harvey said.

“It was assigned by the teacher, and I got the topic, which was anti-gun control, approved by the teacher. She said my project would be perfectly fine,” said Harvey, “I presented the video to the class and took a few questions from my classmates. My presentation went over well. The whole idea of the assignment was to expose students to an idea they hadn’t considered before.”

“What the response of the school tells me is that I’m allowed to do my school work as long as it agrees with their point of view on an issue,” said Harvey.

His presentation gave examples where people using guns have thwarted home invaders and argued that people should be able to protect themselves. The presentation also shows political cartoons suggesting that gun-free zones are ineffective.

School officials were contacted for comment, and Superintendent Anne Facendo said only, “The school district is not at liberty to make comment on any issue pertaining to confidential student information.”

There’s more information out there to be found on this story as it continues to unfold, and be debated. What do you think?


See Frank Harvey’s video HERE. (YouTube)

Come With Me To Pick Up My AK-47

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By Ultimate Reloader

We’ve all felt the tension in the air as this election cycle winds up to it’s climax. Folks, especially those of us in this sector, are keenly aware of what’s happening in the industry, and the country, when it comes to everything involving our Second Amendment.

Come With Me To Pick Up My AK-47

Gavin, at Ultimate Reloader, recently started an epic series on the much beloved AK-47. Follow his series right here, and check out the video below!

“After much preparation and experimenting with some new storytelling techniques (see the video below), with this post I’m kicking off a long-term series that will celebrate the AK-47, and go into many aspects of the 7.62x39mm cartridge, including a bunch of content and detail related to reloading 7.62x39mm ammunition for the AK-47 and the SKS. It’s going to be both educational and FUN!”

Feds Use Local Police to Collect License Plate Info at Gun Shows

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Might want to park across the street… Privacy watchdog groups and firearms enthusiasts upset about spy tactics initiated by feds through local police.

gun show, privacy, wall street journal, license plate scan, police, ICE

A new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that the federal government has on multiple occasions used local police departments to scan automobile license plates at gun shows. This has been done in an effort to collect and record information on gun show attendees.

The Journal reviewed a series of 2010 emails between the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and police departments in Southern California, including one in Del Mar, near the Mexican border. In the emails, federal agents persuade local police to use license plate readers to randomly scan cars at local gun shows. The agency planned to cross-reference that data with cars crossing the Mexican border to find and prosecute gun smugglers.

And there’s more… According to the Journal, the emails indicated that this strategy could have been employed elsewhere around the country. ICE has no policy that dictates the use of license plate readers, and nothing would have kept them from continuing the practice from 2010 until now.

No shock: the report has upset both privacy watchdog groups and firearms enthusiasts. It clearly raises Constitutional questions, to say the least.

Erich Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, told the Journal that his group opposes such surveillance: “Information on law-abiding gun owners ends up getting recorded, stored, and registered, which is a violation of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act and of the Second Amendment.”

What ICE doesn’t seem to realize is that, contrary to what the Clinton campaign would have us believe, gun shows are NOT hotbeds of criminal activity. According to an NIJ (National Institute of Justice, the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice) study released in December 1997 (“Homicide in Eight U.S. Cities”), only 2 percent of criminal guns come from gun shows. The vast majority of firearm sales at gun shows are being offered by federally-licensed gun dealers who must ensure that each customer passes a background check, which blocks firearms purchases by most known criminals as well as illegal immigrants. This is likely why, according to the Journal, “There is no indication the gun-show surveillance led to any arrests or investigative leads.”

No one familiar with gun shows would think to target attendees in an effort to locate criminals. Perhaps instead of invading the privacy of law-abiding gun show patrons, ICE should use its taxpayer dollars to target straw purchasers and criminals who steal firearms, both more likely sources of illegal guns than random gun show attendees.

What do you think?

NSSF: Facts Do Not Stop Hillary From Vilification of Firearm Retailers

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Thanks to our friends at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), another window into Hillary’s gun control agenda and tactics has been opened. Here is the full release from the NSSF. Continue reading NSSF: Facts Do Not Stop Hillary From Vilification of Firearm Retailers

What Difference Do Emojis Make?

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apple-emojiApple has announced that the next update to its emoji catalog would style the “gun” icon as a toy, rather than a pistol, reports the Washington Post. The emoji is really a revolver not a pistol.

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence has been pushing for the emoji switch by waging a high-profile PR campaign called #DisarmTheiPhone, in an attempt to bring awareness to the toll of criminal violence involving firearms by urging Apple to remove all gun related emojis.

The organization succeeded in its social-media symbolic effort. Apple has succumbed to the social pressure of villainizing an object rather than focusing on the fact that people are responsible for their actions.

The narrative is that guns are bad, no matter the depiction or context. What we hear so little about is how more effort could be focused to make real progress in the fight against keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

So, even though it’s the easy thing to do, it’s sad to see companies like Apple get caught up in silly social media ploys.

Do you think such “disarming” ploys make any difference in the real world?