Sunday, February 26, 2012
Open Carry draws a lot of heated debate, and is the source of one of the larger schisms in the Gunblog realm. I would say, in its own right, it is nearly as hotly debated at 9mm v .45, or .30-06 v .270. I have been party to debates that rapidly devolved as ugly as any with an anti-rights viewpoint.
For myself, however, I can only give my personal experience. This, as with any singular source, is anecdotal and not 'evidence.' But it is mine.
In Montana, where I was born, Open Carry is perfectly legal. As a matter of fact (and a matter of law) Concealed Carry without a license is perfectly legal, provided you are not inside the city limits of an incorporated city or town. Only within the legal boundaries of a municipality does the state of Montana require a Concealed Carry permit. In Arizona, my next port of call, the rules were somewhat different, requiring, at first, a specific testing course to receive a Carry license (I don't know how difficult it was, I never took it). A little later on, of course, Arizona changed to Constitutional Carry, and I carried concealed without any worries. Arizona is also an Open Carry legal state.
In neither of these states did I habitually carry my firearm openly. I maintained a Concealed Weapons permit in the state of Montana for several years, and mostly practiced what I call 'discreet carry,' which is an openly worn belt holster with a cover garment. I tried the Inside the Waistband holster, but was not a fan. I would point out that whenever I carried in this manner, I was carrying a full size automatic pistol. With a cover garment, usually a long sleeve shirt, to my knowledge I was never 'made' by anyone unless I took the cover shirt off. When outside city limits, of course, I generally wore Openly, as I would be actively engaged in shooting, hunting, hiking, etc. In Arizona, I wore my gun in a similar manner, discretely holstered under my shirt. On a few occasions, I did carry openly into, for example, convenience stores on my way out of town to go shooting.
This brings me to our recent relocation to Oregon. Oregon is an Open Carry state with a curious mix of preemption laws. Municipal code can preempt state-allowed Open Carry, without a permit. The concealed carry permit, however, allows the holder to carry either Openly or Concealed, effectively preempting those municipal laws. Currently there are several cities that have laws such as these on the books, including Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, and Eugene. Without a carry permit, which time and funding have not allowed at this juncture, I am limited to Open Carry. This means that I am not allowed to carry my firearm into the city limits of those previously mentioned places.
Since moving here to Oregon, I have undertaken to carry my firearm whenever and wherever possible. This means grocery stores, gas stations, the Home Depot, basically everywhere. At first, it was a little bit nerve-racking, but I soon settled into it. I do use a thumbsnap holster (of my own creation) so rest assured, I maintain pretty good retention. In the last year, I have gotten a few comments/reactions, but I would say that number is in the single digits. Quite frankly, it is a non-starter, and I don't think very many people even notice that I am armed, despite wearing my firearm plainly in a belt holster, in full accordance with the law. Of the few comments I have received, or in one case overheard, the majority have been decidedly neutral. I have had a couple of conversations with store employees at the grocery store, but mostly regarding the novelty of the situation. I have overheard a very observant and responsible young man (of about 10) draw attention to my going visibly armed, whose mother (despite my obvious non-LEO appearance) explained that I was probably a cop. On one occasion, I had quite a conversation with a fellow at the magazine rack in a store, who had a great many questions regarding Open Carry, which I gladly answered to the best of my knowledge. Once, an older couple at Wendy's expressed their approval, commenting that it would be nice to see more people showing some responsibility for their own safety. On only one occasion have I received any negative feedback on my armed presence, and it was in a Convenience store. The manager, in that case, politely requested that I not continue to carry in his store, and I have obliged (which is to say, I don't go in there if I am armed).
And that's it, really. Of all the 'world ending' hypotheses put about by people critical of the practice, not a single one has befallen me in an entire year. On average, I don't even receive a comment once a month. No-one has ever tried to grab my gun, I have never been targeted by criminal, cops, or security guards, and I have never had to use (or even handle) my firearm in a public place. I am truly beginning to believe that the 'public opinion' is not. In truth, the public doesn't care. So wear your gun. Exercise your right. Sure, it is possible to come across the Officer Harless' of the world, but that happened to a concealed carrier. It has not happened, and I do not expect it. On the other hand, I have, I believe, made some headway in the battle to accept Open Carry. I'll continue to do so at every possible opportunity.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
'Sure, guns are fine out here in the sticks, but you can't let people in the city have them. It would be chaos, people would shoot it out over nothing.' This is often referred to as the 'blood in the streets' argument. It's often used when some municipality is looking at reducing restrictions.
Many other people have reams of data regarding this argument. I am not a statistician, so I'm not going to delve into the numbers. I can point you here for that part of the argument. Go ahead, read it and come back. I'm going to address the state of mind portion of the argument.
First, this argument, like many others, is based on a root distrust of citizens as a whole. That is to say, arguing that people are not intelligent or trustworthy enough to own guns. Location has little to do with intelligence or trustworthiness. I know plenty of intelligent and trustworthy people, and likewise I know more than a few that are neither. Occasionally, one comes across a person that has either of these traits without the other. I can find no geographical link to place of residence that supports the root theory that people in location X are generally better/worse people. I have noted some cultural differences from place to place, but that does not address the issue of systemic spontaneous violence.
Second the 'he just snapped' nature of the argument. It is common to allege that, if a person were in possession of a firearm, they will eventually just freak out and shoot a bunch of people. I think we can generally dismiss this claim on example; I know LOTS of people that own firearms, and have zero evidence that any of the trustworthy people I know have ever snapped and killed someone in the heat of the moment. I do know some people (indirectly, in most cases) that have been involved in violent confrontations, or intended to do so, but in each of these cases, the deciding factor was state-of-mind, not access to weapons.
The third factor is one that is the darling of many anti-gun activists- the idea that the tool is to blame, not the user. Yes, firearms are, by design, instruments of applied force. Yes, true accidents happen, as well as the more common dangerous negligence. This is possible with many other tools, but none so politically charged as firearms. Because of my (near constant) contact with dangerous things, I have a perspective on their use. Neither my firearms nor I have ever harmed a person through direct action. The same can be said of my nail guns, saws, bats, hammers, vehicles, etc etc. The gun on my hip does not override my ability to think. It does not override my self control. It is inert, unless I choose to use it. My gun does not have its own impetus, nor does it have its own thoughts or dreams. By my side or in my hand, it does what I tell it to do, and nothing more.
Finally, to state of mind. This is the active argument- the one I use to dispute these claims. When someone says, 'there would be people being shot left and right' I counter with a question. "Have you ever been so mad that you hit someone with a pipe? Have you ever just snapped and struck someone with a hammer? Have you ever been so incensed by another person's thoughtless action that you rammed them with your car? Stabbed them? Struck them? Drowned them?" The response is, almost invariably (lets face it, all of us know SOMEBODY) no. The average human does not respond in that manner. I have been in heated arguments with people, over politics, religion, red meat consumption, and have never resorted to direct violence. Why would I act differently with a firearm? Yes, incidents like this happen, on a sporadic basis, but there is no overriding animus in the tool used. Further, posing this question puts the argument in a personal light. Instead of talking about some vague 'public,' we are now talking about YOU. Would YOU stab someone over a parking space? Would YOU beat someone to death over incorrect change? No? Then why would you shoot them? And what makes every other person so much less trustworthy than YOU?
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Well, I did my part. What's more, I almost NEVER go to Starbucks. Part of it is that I generally drink my coffee at home, where I can make it myself, part of it is the stubborn insistence on ordering 'medium' as a size, and part of it is the unwillingness to spend 2 bucks on a cup of coffee, when I can buy a 1 3/4 lb can of it for $9. That's a good month's worth of coffee around this homestead.
Today, in gratitude for just continuing not to do anything, we have THIS.
One medium cup of drip coffee. And yes, I did ask for medium, and you know what? The barista didn't even blink. It took about 3 minutes, from the time I stepped out of the car to the back in the seat, driving away with my java. I went online afterward and let them know, via feedback card, what the deal was. Did you get your Starbuck's?
For more links and stories, check out PAGunblog's report and click on over to Weer'd Beard's*
*Edited to add link. At least Twice...
Monday, February 13, 2012
I have read some of the Norway shooter's writing (his manifesto is 1500+ pages, I've skimmed). A lot of the things he says make some sense, and this infuriates me.
First off, I will come out and say up front that what I have read is a pretty good example of 'being a Nazi *&^%-face', dressed up in the kind of language that facilitated that system's rise to power in the early 20th century. This is not the bit that I agree with, obviously.
A lot of the manifesto has to do with the breakdown of societal identification. As one society lets its identity erode, other, more forceful entities can and will move in to fill the void. Happens over and over throughout history. Also touches on a handful of programs from way back that were designed to cause this to happen. This is the bit that I agree with. I think that our culture, which we think of as Western Civilization, has managed to become self-deprecating in the extreme, and is opening the door for replacement. The real question is, what culture will we replace it with?
Here we diverge again (whew!). I think we should be replacing the current idiom with a culture of self-reliance, pride in one's self, capability, and compassion. He thinks we should be resurrecting the classic 'White guy runs the world cuz he's best at it, while the women stay at home and make/raise babies' culture. Bleeeech...
The part that infuriates me is that he seems to honestly believe that best way to get people to come to his point of view is to SLAUGHTER CHILDREN! I'm simply refraining here from what I really think of this, because it would take too long and there aren't enough swearwords or cruel and unusual punishments to explain the depth of my feelings...
The second part that infuriates me is the things that we agree with are now verboten. Any peep that sounds anything like anything that is related to this body of work is now an instant and automatic dismissal into the 'yeah you're probably a psycho child killer on the inside too' category. The result of his action has been not only to FAIL to draw people into his camp, but to completely alienate anyone who was mildly sympathetic up to this point. AND he's managing to destroy a few other causes while he is at it.
Anybody want to start a conspiracy theory? This guy has done more damage to the side he purports to be on than any single act in the last 10 years. What possibility is there that he was a creation intended for just that purpose? I wouldn't put that sort of thing past Nixon or Johnson, and I don't think they were the MOST evil people in history. Food for thought.
I will continue to work on my culture of self-reliance, pride in one's self, capability, and compassion. The nice thing about self-reliance is that it doesn't take other people believing in it to work. I will also continue to refrain from hurting children, or, really, anybody.
You see, I differ from a lot of people when it comes to predators. I'm a conservative, yes, but I'm very much a conservationist at heart. Wilderness areas? All for them. Wildlife? Count me in. Wolf re-introduction? Check.
I come from a part of the world where the wolves never really left. People have CLAIMED there are no more, but the locals know better. Ask anybody that tries to keep livestock in the Ninemile area.
I'm all about restoring predators. I want them EVERYWHERE. I really do. I want wolves in Forest Park, Portland OR. I want wolves in Central Park, NYC. I want packs of wild predatory creatures stalking the land in major cities. I want Grizzly bears reintroduced in LA County. Why not? They've got the Griz on the state flag in the People's Republik of Kalifornia, why not give them some real bears?
A couple of reasons for this-
1) I think it's good for the ecology. Keep them in check, yes, manage them properly, but don't let them die out, because then we've lost part of what was a balanced system- it can never truly be restored.
2) I'm not the heartless bastard people think I probably am. I hunt, I kill, I eat red meat and feel very good about doing so. If I could feasibly make it to the point that I had to personally kill every meal that I eat for the year, I would do so. That doesn't mean I'm some kind of psycho- it means I'm a carnivore. I can identify, to a degree, with the wolves and bears. I like them, and they ARE cute and furry, even if I know, deep down, they are not nearly as friendly as my dog.
3) I think it would be damn funny. Yuppies with their pugs and teacup poodles, cowering in fear in Central Park. Granola hippies on ill-timed late afternoon hikes building security fires within the city limits of Portland, waving their feeble torches at the darkness while they fervently wish their mother was there to hold them. Hollywood big shots with million dollar bank accounts mauled on city streets, because they took a shortcut down an alley that happened to have an investigative bear in a dumpster. I really think that would be fun. And it would make much nicer headlines than the current panem et circenses that politics and the news have become.
So yes, Governor Otter, we would love some of your spare wolves. Just drop ship them to Portland and New York. Lets do this...
Friday, February 10, 2012
-->The following is a tutorial on the holster making process. I photo documented the process I used to make a holster for a friend's sidearm. The arm in question is a Beretta PX4 Storm in 9mm. I'm breaking this down into a series of posts, as it is a long and involved process; stay tuned, this is just the beginning.
This would be a godsend.
Please go read. If possible, support research. What cancer is to the body, and HIV is to the immune system, Alzheimer's is to the mind.
Tip o the hat to 2cents at Northern Blogger
This is a finished view of a belt slide OC holster for a Berretta PX4 Storm 9mm. Its a full size, double stack 9mm, with a polymer frame. Interesting gun, its a polymer version of the Stoeger Cougar, with a Rotating barrel locking mechanism, rather than the Browning style tilting barrel. I didn't get a chance to shoot it, but I hear the holster is holding up well.
Above: PX4 in holster at 3:30 position, just behind the hip. This is the most comfortable driving position.
Right: PX4 and finished holster.
Notice that the holster is a thumbbreak model, with a completely enclosed trigger. The sights are protected, and the safety is also covered. The magazine release is not covered, but I have not had any reports of a mag dumping. I built a very similar holster for my Ruger, which I wear pretty much constantly. I have not had any problems with it to date.
I wear mine just behind the point of the hip. It's a double loop design, with one loop behind the body of the holster, and the 'tail' loop to maintain the degree of cant. Its built with a minimal amount of forward cant, which winds up sitting almost perfectly vertical when seated. I found this design to be the most comfortable holster to wear, of any I have used to date.
As far as construction, that's an entire new post. I use top grain 7-9 oz leather to build these, with brass rivets and snaps. All laminations are made with contact cement; I didn't even stitch mine, and its been holding up very well.
Cost of materials is hard to define, but its certainly less than buying a holster. The last single shoulder I bought cost around $60, and so far I have built 3 holsters, a double mag pouch, and still have quite a large piece left over. As a plus, the holsters I make are all fully formed, and built on an individual basis, with custom specs for height, belt slot, and cant.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Then, this stuff happens.
We don't shop at that store, but I did get an oil change in that parking lot. Its quite a nice location.
Bottom line, I carry my gun because if I KNOW something will happen, I don't go there. Its the things that happen when I DON'T expect them that can put you in trouble.
Stay alert, stay prepared, and stay safe.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
That being said, my number one concern is not the looting and rioting of the early collapse. My Lovely Wife and I are far enough from the center of the city, and likely areas of looting and rioting that I do not foresee prolonged contact with it as a security threat.
The number one threat to survival is from local law enforcement. I don't want this to be exceptionally paranoid, but I have grave concerns in this regard. When the established order breaks down, there will be a portion of the population that will engage in openly criminal acts, in large numbers. They will be violent, dangerous, and difficult to control. There will also be a portion of the population that will continue to rely on the local constabulatory force for protection. These people will be vocal and expect results.
Local Law Enforcement will be put in the unenviable position of needing positive action, but being unable to control the rioting crowds. This is where I read a threat from. I fully expect lesser violations to become very harshly punished, in the hope that it will be read as 'tough on crime.' It is very similar, in many respects, to the attitude of the NYPD towards firearm owners. In recent months, more than one person has been detained while carrying a firearm in New York. They have been dealt with quite harshly; moreso, perhaps, than the average gang member or drug dealer in the same city. People that are largely law-abiding citizens, who break a law accidentally or incidentally, do not have the ability to plea down a weapons charge. Career criminals, however, who break the law willfully and on a daily basis, have a range of options; bigger fish to sell out, in return for getting a lesser charge or at least a lesser sentence. Upon their release, they can return directly to their previous activities. For a law-abiding citizen, ANY felony conviction results in their loss of constitutional right. Being law-abiding, many of them will continue to abide by this ruling. Criminal actors, however, will continue to own weapons, even though they are disallowed by law.
In similar form, a basically law-abiding citizen, when confronted by police will conform and obey. This is much safer for LEOs, and will result in an increased arrest rate, conviction rate, and generally good press for the Department. Looters and rioters, on the other hand, will fight back, possibly resulting in injury to Police officers. Suspects injuring and escaping the police will not be good press, it WILL be dangerous to the officers, and will result in further pressure to show positive results. I can't explicitly blame the officers for these tactics, because it is also a matter of their safety and the continuity of our culture.
My example for this activity, even more than NYPD, is post-Katrina New Orleans. In a time of lawlessness, when the police force was faced with a total inability to deal with the very real threat of armed looters, they chose to disarm the orderly. SWAT teams kicking in doors and tackling old ladies, while a few miles away armed youths looted stores, was not the intended action (I hope) but it became a reality. I do not anticipate any other reaction in any major city.
End Result- watch yourself out there. While one would think that the cops have much better uses for their time in a pre-fall situation, in reality that will not be the case.
Monday, February 6, 2012
As I understand it, one person receives the Liebster Blog Award. They then re-gift the award to another blog with less than 200 followers which they feel deserves a few more. As time goes by, the Liebster Blog Award is spread far and wide, creating a network by which the internet overlords can identify and viciously suppress smaller, independent bloggers, and add them to their Alliance... wait. That isn't it... its something else.
At any rate, most of the blogs I follow are either too big, or have already been awarded thus, so I will pick one for now, and hopefully add some more down the line.
I choose YOU, Adaptive Curmudgeon!
Although, I was more a Magic: The Gathering guy than a Pokemon guy, in my youth. Go figure...
Anyhow, thanks PP, I am humbled.
In related news, Holy Crap! Someone besides my family members reads this blog! I got comments from 3 DIFFERENT PEOPLE! Red letter day and all. Thanks again!