September 2002

Downrange: 09/02

BILL RUGER DIES. William Batterman Ruger, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Sturm, Ruger & Company, the largest firearms manufacturer in the United States, died Saturday, July 6, 2002, at age 86.

Ruger had a hand in the original design and time-honored styling of every firearm his company has produced, and continued to work on new creations up until his death. The company has produced more than 20,000,000 firearms for hunting, target shooting, collecting, self-defense, law enforcement and government agencies. Ruger teamed with Alexander McCormick Sturm and established Sturm, Ruger & Company in 1949. Ruger’s first firearm introduction in 1949 was a stylish .22-caliber target pistol.

When not involved with his firearms operations, Ruger indulged his life-long passions, including antique firearms, 19th Century Western American art, and his antique car collection.

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MISS UNIVERSE: GUNSLINGING RUSSIAN BEAUTY. In May, a sharpshooting St. Petersburg cop was crowned Miss Universe. Oxana Fedorova, a 24-year-old senior police lieutenant who grew up in the provincial town of Pskov, won the diamond-studded Miss Universe tiara at the pageant in Puerto Rico.

Fedorova is no mere beauty, but a pistol-packing graduate student at St. Petersburg’s Interior Ministry Academy. She was probably the only contestant with a police badge in hand-to-hand combat, and the only one defending a doctoral thesis on ‘’civil law and the regulation of the activities of private security forces in the Russian Federation.’’

Russian television alternated footage of her as she was crowned wearing a silver gown in San Juan, with shots of her looking fashion-model elegant in a standard-issue olive drab police uniform: black necktie, white shirt, mid-thigh skirt, dark tights and knee-high black leather boots. In one shot, the camera pans from her squinting eye, down the length of her uniformed arm to a manicured hand that squeezes off a 9mm pistol round. At the St. Petersburg academy, officials expected her to continue her law-enforcement career. She is due for a promotion to captain.

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NO ANSWER, NO SALE. The nation’s largest retailer of firearms, Wal-Mart, has announced a policy forbidding transfer of a long gun to customers whose background checks through the national Instant Criminal Background Check system are not instant. The discount chain does not sell handguns. Even though federal law allows a dealer to complete the sale if NICS results are not returned within three business days, Wal-Mart’s policy is to delay the sale until the inquiry is resolved.

Most background checks are completed within minutes, about 95 percent are done within a few hours, and improvements to the NICS system currently being put into place should reduce further the number of inquiries which cannot be resolved in a short period of time.


-Todd Woodard