Monday, March 18, 2013

Competition Notes - Finishing In The Middle Is OK!

I learned a very valuable lesson yesterday at what was actually a great USPSA match - set realistic expectations for yourself.

Yesterday, I simply wanted to have fun, shoot well, and put down another solid classifier. With the exception of a pretty bad bobble on the classifier and checking out early (mentally), I had what I felt was a GREAT match! No mikes, shot 97% of available points while moving efficiently through stages, and got to watch a Limited GM ply his trade.

Then... the scores email comes out and I'm finding myself more than a little confused. I didn't shoot like a man possessed but I certainly didn't feel like it was good for 11th out of 20. What the heck!?!? I only blew up on one stage!

I looked hard at the Overall results for the day in Limited and made a rather humbling realization... I'm playing with the big kids now, a small fish in a very competitive pond.

There were 3 Grand Masters shooting in Limited yesterday. You read that right... 3 Limited GMs shooting a club match. What an awesome day!! Then, we had 2 A-class shooters burning up the scoreboard, followed by a deep core of solid B shooters, one insanely quick "U" (bet he won't be there for long), a couple of inspired C performances, then me. I shot better than most of the "C" shooters, held my own near the "B" ranks, and would have been in the thick of it had I cleaned my classifier instead of borking it.

This is my second really "serious" season in USPSA shooting and I achieved most of my 2012 goals. Most of those goals were individual challenges, not largely driven by the skill level of my fellow competitors. This year, I'm looking at the company I want to keep, and the folks I want to keep up with. I'm on track, with a lot of hard work, to make "B" in both Limited and Production this year and I want to make it in both.

"B" is where it starts getting serious. C-classified shooters are good, many are lifelong competitors and are accomplished marksmen (and women). I like to think of the B as the "deep end" of the pool. It gets real, and it gets live. Serious competitors all, and every one of us itching to take the next step up.

Check out the video below - THIS match is what "middle of the road" looks like in the USPSA Limited division. I ain't no slouch behind the trigger... there truly are some gifted shooters roaming the Front Range and I'm very proud to mingle with them, even if I'm just on the fringe for now.

Click Here For The Match Video

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Colorado Inches Closer to Idiocy

Unless there's a miracle in the House and we can get 2 or 3 more Dems to flip on HB-1224 (the bill to limit magazine capacity) now that it's been amended and passed through the Senate, there is just one hope left.

Veto by the Governor.

I would love to hear the moral dilemma playing out in Governor Hickenlooper's head right now.

On one hand, MAIG is elbows-deep in Colorado politics and God only knows what kinds of promises are being made to legislators and the Governor for supporting their agenda. Appointments in DC? Political clout in the national arena? Seven Minutes in Heaven with Janet Napolitano?? Rumors are the Obama administration and Bloomberg have been constant in their contact of Colorado Democrats.

On the flip side, our Governor is rumored to be a shooter himself. An avid sportsman and outdoorsman, he knows much of the state's revenue comes from tourists, hunters, athletes, and fishermen. While their chosen avocation may not involve firearms or be impacted directly by the new laws, their views on them may (and likely will) drive them to ski in Utah, fish in Montana, and hunt in Wyoming instead of bringing their money to Colorado. Many people who are self-avowed supporters of 2nd Amendment issues have pledged to vacation elsewhere and it's reasonable to assume they're going to follow through on their promises.

If the potential loss of tourism and recreation revenue is bad, this legislation also threatens to drive out a number of nationally-prominent companies which manufacture components affected by the new laws or are moving commerce to states which do not openly attack the law-abiding gun owner in the name of "little coffins."

Four very popular shows on the Outdoor Channel are produced in Colorado and will move to other more "friendly" filming locations if/when these bills become law. This will pull income tax revenue, sales taxes, permitting and use fees from the state's coffers. Potentially worse than that, however, will be the hosts - some of which are Coloradans - coming out on the air and repeatedly hammering home the point that Colorado, once a fantastically gun-friendly state, is no longer a safe haven where the safe, same, and legal use of firearms for hunting, sports, recreation, and personal protection has long overshadowed the two major active shooter massacres we've suffered in the last 15 years.

That will certainly cause damage to our state's reputation an our ability to draw outside recreation money. It pales in comparison, however, to one of the most publicly visible unintended consequences of these bills becoming law - the loss of Magpul in Colorado. Most folks in the gun universe are aware of their plans to move in order to remain in compliance with the law and to keep from funding a government hostile to its citizens. Governor Hickenlooper is going to have to look long and hard at each one of the jobs which will be lost if and when Magpul pulls most of its production and relocates to a "friendly" state. He would do well to look those 600+ workers straight in the face and sign their jobs away.

Now, I have a good friend who feels this socio-economic game of political chicken may be enough to get our Governor to flinch at the last second and jerk the wheel toward "veto" of at least that particular bill. I'm not as optimistic, but I still hope he'll see the light.

As it stands today, Colorado's law-abiding gun owners are going to be in for a long winter...

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Perspective on Gun Rights fairly obvious.

Normally, I find myself borrowing my responses to "why do you think you need xx?" from a couple other bloggers:

Because GUN.

That's it. Simple. We have plenty of (unenforced) laws on the books making the bad things bad people do with guns, um, bad. Tons.

Why do I feel like my antiquated notion of security trumps their need to be socially comfortable?

Because GUN.

Bad guys (and gals) don't give two shits or a squirt about me, but they do care about my right to self-defense and the numbers support defensive carry as a general deterrent to crime.

"B-b-b-b-ut Mr. Normal, don't you think that if we could save one life, it's worth sacrificing a little freedom, right?"

Those willing to give up liberty for safety deserve and get neither (thanks, Ben).
Furthermore, I believe responsible for my immediate security and the police are there to follow up.

So...until the cops get teleportation and the ability to read minds...

Because, GUN.

Gun is an equalizer. Gun is a deterrent. Gun meets lethal force in kind.

Gun is a manifestation of positivity, strength, peace, and the notion that I must be reasoned with, never bullied (thanks Uncle Ted). Gun is a symbol of independent freedom that carries heavy responsibility and I argue the moment we come to comfortably shoulder that load, life actually becomes more enjoyable as we realize it's NOT too heavy and the rewards of self-determination are incredible when set against the worn beige walls of the "gimme" mindset.

Gun is not a talisman. Gun is not a miracle pill. Gun is complex and complicated enough without politics entering the scene.

When it does, however, I will always keep a few things in the back of my head:

1 - will these measures do anything we're not already supposed to be doing under current law?

2 - will I be required to give up any of my natural rights to toe the line and get on board?

3 - are we protecting liberty or merely fluffing the pillows?

...and why?
Because, yes, GUN.

Do or Die, Colorado.

Today's the day we find out whether my home State's Senate has any real gravitas, huevos, chutzpah, or balls.

Of the seven anti-gun-culture bills (make no mistake, this is a war over culture, not equipment) being debated in the Senate over the weekend, two have been killed by their sponsors while the five with actual teeth are moving to final reading and recorded vote today:

* HB-1224, a bill which would outlaw all removable magazines over 15 rounds and ban any shotgun made or modified to hold more than 28" of shells.

* SB 195 - a bill banning online CCW training certificates state-wide.

* SB 197 - a bill which would further ban domestic abusers from owning guns.

* HB-1228 - a bill which would establish a background check fee.

* HB-1229 - a bill which would mandate universal background checks for all firearm transfers at any level and redefines the nature of permitted possession as transfer.

And here's my take on why every one of them is fluff, bullshit, or will never save a single life:

With regard to the magazine ban, there is a grandfathering clause permitting those owned prior to July 1, 2013, but it requires the owner to maintain continuous possession. That means no handing a full mag of 9mm ammo for your Glock 17 to a buddy. No giving your friend a PMAG for his birthday, and no handing your "high capacity" shotgun to a trusted hunting or shooting buddy if you cross a fence. This is also the bill which will prevent manufacturers from building "high-capacity" magazines in Colorado - effectively driving off Magpul, a market leader employing (directly and indirectly) some 700-900 Coloradans and generating more than $80M in state tax revenue. And finally, the magazine capacity restrictions set forth in 1994 and remained in effect for a decade did absolutely NOTHING to prevent or deter criminal use of a firearm. It simply turned gun owners into outlaws or gray-market profiteers overnight.

Now, online CCW certification is a fairly new concept, driven by the insane demand for training and the Internet sales model promoted by "deals" websites. Well-meaning national firms have been charging to let folks take online webinar or PowerPoint training then submit their test results and obtain the required certificate of training. In Colorado, CCW licenses are issued by the county and not the state and, as long as the instructor meets statute and the county sheriff accepts it, online training is valid. Many counties have banned or prohibited applicants from using certificates of instruction from online companies. Given my personal stake in a local training company, I don't necessarily oppose the measure because I feel it to be important to have one-on-one time with students. I do oppose it as it strips the county sheriff of the right to administer his program within the terms of the Concealed Carry Act.

The proposed legislation to prevent domestic abusers from committing acts of gun violence is also fraught with pitfalls and legal peril. First, it requires a person under a protection order - NOT convicted of a crime - to relinquish property to the government or to sell or transfer it within 24 or 72 hours upon demand. The last time I checked, the Fourth Amendment protects free citizens (those NOT convicted in a court) from unreasonable search and seizure. And, given the number of domestic violence cases which may be initiated by a spiteful party who is actually committing acts of violence themselves, this is a powder keg bill just begging to blow back into the faces of its sponsors and supporters. Furthermore, I've seen nothing to suggest this will prevent further domestic abuse as a perpetrator will use whatever weapon is at hand to commit acts of violence.

Finally, the background check legislation currently being proposed is one of the sneakiest and most underhanded attempts at criminalizing free and legal behavior to-date, packaged under a tissue of "public safety" and "fiscal responsibility." It will require literally ANY transfer of a firearm between private individuals not currently at a shooting range to process (and pay for if the companion bill goes through) a Form 4473 with a federally-licensed gun dealer. To that end, the bill authorizing the state to charge for background checks is absolutely ludicrous. At the beginning of a previous legislative session, Colorado lawmakers tried to SAVE the state over $1M/yr by eliminating the CBI from the firearm background check process but that bill was killed in committee. Instead, now, a Democrat wants to increase government and charge us for something most other states rely on the ATF to provide. For free.

If these laws go through, not only can you sell your friend a gun you don't want anymore or gift a firearm to someone not your immediate family, you won't be able to do the following:
• handle a gun at a gun store before purchase unless that shop also offers gunsmithing services
• loan a gun to a friend out in the field on private property or land otherwise legal to use for sport shooting or hunting
• hand a firearm to a trusted friend or loved one (unless they live within the same household) to protect another or one's self from deadly force or great bodily injury

...there ain't a single good idea in there.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Today is The Day Liberty May Fall

Today may forever be known in Colorado as The Day Common Sense and Freedom Died and was replaced with fuzzy-logic feel-good legislation which will likely get a legal gun owner killed at some point before its repeal.

The Colorado state Senate is voting on four bills the residents of this state do not support and will never support. Their vote in favor of passage will drive away a major employer, impose idiotic restrictions on law-abiding citizens, and shackle the rights of all in Colorado who use firearms for sport, personal protection, or hunting to the misguided East Coast sensibilities of those who seek not to lead us but make us their subjects.

This naked aggression should not stand. Bring on peaceful regime change in 2014!

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