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Firearms Miscellany

I went shooting this afternoon with a friend from church. It was the second time we have gone to the range together; the first time, he said that he hadn’t fired a handgun in something like 30 years. But he shot beautifully; I attribute that to the fact that he is a dentist, which means that his hands are both strong and trained to be steady. Or maybe he is just a natural; in any event, he shot this group with my Armalite AR-24 at, as I recall, 17 or 18 feet:

I didn’t shoot quite as well as my friend did, but this group was one of several that were pretty good, shot at 21 or 22 feet:

Next, the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorialized today about gun legislation. I take it as given that the Strib’s editorial board, like that of the New York Times and every other left-wing newspaper, would love to ban all private ownership of firearms, with a possible narrow exception for duck hunters. But today’s editorial is surprisingly moderate, focusing mainly on expanded background checks:

The Gun Violence Prevention Act was introduced by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, who chairs the House Public Safety Committee. The bill focuses on three areas: universal background checks for buyers of pistols or semiautomatic weapons (with exemptions for sales to relatives); penalties on straw sales to disqualified people, and additional tools for prosecutors to go after gun crimes and people who should not possess firearms.

The editors explicitly acknowledged that enthusiasm for gun bans has waned:

Paymar and his committee deliberately left out the most controversial gun-control proposals, including assault-weapons bans and limits on the size of magazines.

Although there is value in those limits, many legislators and their constituents objected. That opposition came through loud and clear during several days of hearings this month before House and Senate committees. …

There is still a possibility that Congress will move on proposed federal limits on assault weapons and ammunition, although the gun-control momentum that followed the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., seems to be slowing.

Of course, no liberal media outlet can write about firearms without getting the facts wrong:

There is simply no need for average citizens to own weapons that can fire so many rounds so quickly. Several of the most recent mass shootings, including the tragic deaths of children in Newtown, took so many lives in just minutes because an automatic weapon was involved.

News flash: guns can fire quickly. It has nothing to do with the size of the magazine, since a magazine can be replaced in a second or two. As for Newtown, I am going from memory, but I believe it was around 20 minutes after Adam Lanza’s shooting spree began when the police finally arrived. In the meantime, Lanza had shot 28 people, 26 of whom died. That is an average of a little more than one per minute. Lanza had all the time in the world–as did Seung-Hui Cho, who carried out the worst “shooter” attack in American history, and didn’t use any firearms that would be affected by a new “assault weapons” ban. “Fir[ing] so many rounds so quickly” had nothing to do with it.

Then there is the Strib’s claim that “an automatic weapon” was involved in the Sandy Hook killings and other mass shootings. In fact, as we and countless others have pointed out endlessly, automatic weapons have been illegal, in private hands, since the 1930, without a special ATF permit. No mass shooting incident in recent decades has involved an automatic weapon. Why can’t liberals ever get this straight? I sometimes think that liberal reporters and editors get facts wrong on purpose, as a sort of secret handshake. Not knowing the difference between legal and illegal firearms marks the Strib’s editors as true believers of the Left, a status to which they aspire.

Finally, my American Rifleman came today. As always, it includes a section titled “The Armed Citizen,” which relates incidents of successful self-defense. Here are two examples from this month’s issue. The first one is from Muncie, Indiana:

Hazel Poole, 85, was at home playing with her puppy around 8:30 p.m. when there was a knock at the front door. Little did she know that she would open the door to two masked men wielding knives. Poole wasted no time and dashed to her bedroom…

I enjoy the image of an 85-year-old woman “dashing” to her bedroom.

…where she kept her .38-cal. handgun. Poole, who was married to an avid trapshooter and whose son works at NRA headquarters, is no stranger to firearms. With confidence she pointed the gun at the men and ordered them to leave her home or she would shoot. Both men fled without hesitation.

There are a lot of bogus statistics in circulation, purporting to show that legal gun owners rarely use firearms in self-defense. What always goes unmentioned is the fact that most of the time–I have seen studies that say it is over 80%–a gun that is used successfully in self-defense is never fired. And, of course, there are many other occasions when the gun is fired but no one is hit.

Still, you do sometimes have to pull the trigger. Another story from American Rifleman:

When a 79-year-old man heard arguing outside his home, he went outside to investigate. In the front yard, the man discovered his 17-year-old granddaughter being beaten by a 19-year-old male. When the grandfather confronted the suspect, he was threatened with a “stun gun.” The suspect approached the elderly man. The grandfather warned him to stop, but the suspect continued toward him. The grandfather pulled out a handgun and fired once. The suspect’s wound proved fatal.

A happy development, all around, for the taxpayers.

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