Editorial

Downrange April 2018: ‘Say Something’ Leads to ‘Do Nothing’

We also posited that it's up to us to be sufficiently aware of our environment and the people around us - to be on the alert for people who might commit these horrible acts of violence against innocents. Following the Parkland massacre, there have been many discussions about how, and even if, we can spot those sufficiently deranged who might be capable of committing mass murder. But we have to try - like the grandmother in Everett, WA, who led police to her violence-prone Aces High School grandson and probably stopped another mass killing.

Gun Laws in the News

I hate to be a downer in these pages, but there's crazy anti-gun stuff going on all over the country. It seems that because gun owners don't have much to fear federally, gun-restrictive states are going their own way with new regulations, fees, and other infringements on the right to keep and bear arms. Here's a sampler of a few things that you might devote a couple of brain cells to.

Gun Rights Wish List Bogs Down

We're already into the second month of the year, and 2018 is looking like 2017 regarding gun legislation. To see how far gun legislation advanced, I checked the January 2017 "Downrange" column, which had a wish list of efforts for gun owners — and saw that not much is moving, or what is moving continues at a glacial pace.

NICS Gets Attention, Good and Bad

The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been getting a lot of attention recently. If you'll recall, a court-martialed Air Force veteran purchased a rifle illegally and used it to kill 25 people inside a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church on Nov. 5. Turns out that the Air Force had not provided the FBI with details of the court martial. The Air Force also missed the shooter's initial arrest on domestic-abuse charges and his 2012 escape from a New Mexico behavioral health facility. Had NICS been properly updated, it's likely the system would have blocked the sale of the murder weapon to the shooter.

Grading the News

The New York Post reports that gun ownership in New York City (such as it is) could soon come with a warning - it's dangerous to the gun-owner's health. The City Council Public Safety Committee voted 6-1 Monday to require the NYPD to hand out written warnings about the risks of gun ownership to new applicants for firearm permits.

After Las Vegas

The first dreadful pieces of news coming out of Las Vegas on Sunday, October 1, coalesced into yawning horror that would grip a nation and sadden our world. Fifty-nine people were dead and hundreds injured at the hands of a lone sniper, who had secreted more than 20 rifles and handguns on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. From that perch, the shooter had uninterrupted views of the Las Vegas Strip and the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music concert, that kicked off at the Las Vegas Village, a venue across the Strip from the Luxor hotel and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Another Disaster, Another Column

In the November 2005 "Downrange" column, I wrote to you after the arrival of Category 5 Hurricane Rita, discussing what our go-to guns were when we were considering bugging out of Houston. Now we're dealing with the remnants of Category 4 Hurricane Harvey, and the water is Biblically high. Our gun-column angle for this disaster are the legal ramifications of moving guns during emergencies.

Surplus 1911s Might Be Back

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. Included in the bill is a provision that would make U.S. Army surplus 1911 45 ACP pistols available to the American public through the Civilian Marksmanship program (CMP), according to an NRA release. In November 2015, then-President Obama signed the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2016 into law with language that authorized the Secretary of Defense to transfer 1911s no longer in service to the CMP for public sale. That language made the transfers subject to the Secretary's discretion and capped them at 10,000 per year. Unsurprisingly, no actual transfers were made under the program while Obama remained in the White House.

Peruta Declined Supreme Court Hearing

I was disappointed to see that on June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear Peruta v. California. A Supreme Court decision would have answered some important legal questions: Does the Second Amendment's coverage for people to keep and bear arms extend outside the home? Does it cover the right to carry concealed firearms in public? Peruta might have provided definitive legal answers to those questions. Gun owners already know the answers, so we're frustrated that a natural right to self protection is hemmed in by state statutes.

Way to Go, Judicial Watch!

You may have not heard about Judicial Watch (JW), a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group that bedevils many different agencies with requests for information that said agencies would rather not share. They use what are called Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which is part of federal law, to pry out information that should be public. Usually, federal agencies thumb their bureaucratic noses at JW and don't deliver squat, which then prompts JW to sue their sorry a***s. I admire what JW does generally, but I also like that they take on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in particular.

A Piece of Gunmageddon Challenged

The California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) and several individual plaintiffs have filed an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California's newly expanded Assault Weapons Control Act (AWCA). The suit, Rupp v. Becerra, seeks to have the courts declare the AWCA unconstitutional because it infringes on the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

22-Caliber Handgun Shoot-Out: Smith, TacSol, Beretta, Colt

In this installment, we are looking at some of the best 22-caliber pistols for all-around target shooting and training for marksmanship and personal-defense practice, with an emphasis on viability for personal-defense training. Some handguns are just fine for general plinking, but the modern shooter demands the ability to train with combat lights or even a red-dot sight. All 22s do not allow this type of versatility. Let's look at four 22-caliber handguns and see how they stack up as modern trainers.

The 22 self-loading handgun is a great firearm that every handgunner should own at least one of. The 22 is a great trainer, and it is also a good small-game handgun, and it is even useful in some forms of competition. The absence of recoil and muzzle report compared to centerfire handguns is often touted, but recoil and muzzle blast are there, simply in easily manageable portions. The shooter is free to concentrate on trigger press, sight picture, sight alignment, and grip. Practice in offhand fire, combat practice, firing for extreme accuracy from a solid rest, clearing malfunctions and hunting game are just some of the practice that may be accomplished with the 22 pistol. For small-game hunting, excellent accuracy is demanded. For combat practice—and this is an important point—the handgun should be similar to the centerfire defense gun in accuracy. In that manner, the shooter isn't given a false sense of security by a 22 that is much more accurate than the 9mm or 45 they use for personal defense. When practicing with the 22, the serious shooter should use the same grip and trigger press that he or she uses when mastering the 9mm or 45. Using a lighter grip or shooting fast just because the 22 is so controllable doesn't cross over into personal defense skills; it is simply shooting for fun.

We collected two 22-caliber handguns and two 22-caliber conversion units for comparison. One of the handguns is a new model and the other, a relatively new and often overlooked pistol. The firearms tested included the Smith & Wesson Victory 22, Beretta Neos 22, Tactical Solutions' Glock conversion unit, and a Colt 22 Ace conversion unit.

Gun Takeaway Sweepstakes

If you have read this space for the last couple of issues, you’ll recall that I’ve asked what my fellow gun owners believe would...