Tag Archives: gun control

That’s a lot of Guns

One of the best indicators of firearms sales, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System logged 3,602,296 checks in November, an increase of 41 percent over the figure of 2,545,863 for November 2019. In fact, it was the biggest November in the NICS program’s 21-year history.

However, when checks and rechecks for carry permits and the like are subtracted from that figure by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, leaving a more concrete number for over-the-counter checks on gun transfers conducted through federal firearms licensees, it yields 1,949,141 checks, which is an increase of 45.2 percent compared to the November 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,342,155. 

When added to the rest of the year, the 2020 running total stands at some 19.1 million adjusted checks, dwarfing the 2016 annual record of 15.7 million checks, and the year still has another month to go before the books are closed. Of those checks, NSSF estimates that a whopping 7.7 million came from new first-time gun buyers. 

Oof.

Go ahead, spitball how many guns are in circulation

Of course, this is a moving target and in most cases would be considered something of a wild ass guess in most cases, but the NSSF, working with industry and regulatory data for the past couple of decades, came up with some interesting figures when it comes to the number of guns in private circulation in the U.S.

The big numbers: 434 million firearms, 20 million “modern sporting rifles” such as AR-15s, and 150 million magazines which are considered in eight or nine states to be “high capacity.”

Oof.

More in my column at Guns.com.

That sweet .223 AK, 1989 edition

While today the .223/5.56 NATO-caliber AK is a staple product on the U.S. commercial market– and indeed, companies like Kalashnikov in Russia are making them for export elsewhere– back in the 1980s, they were downright unheard of, only floating around in a few high-dollar Valmet M71/S and Hunter models.

Then, China Sports, Inc.– located in Ontario, California of all places– introduced a couple of new Norincos to the market in late 1988, notably chambered in calibers other than the traditional AK 7.62x39mm. This included the 5.45x39mm Type 88 and the Type 84S AKS in .223 Remington.

This. You could pick these up, new in the box with two mags, a bayonet, and accessories, for $275 in 1989.

The thing is, they were only imported for one year.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Colt: Back on the Consumer AR Market

While Remington has quietly ditched traditional black rifle brands Bushmaster and DPMS in the past several months– perhaps in a bid to get bought by the Navajo Nation — Colt exited the AR market late last year, much to the applause of anti-gun groups and politicians.

However, I spoke to Colt at the time and they made clear the departure was only temporary, due to having landed a multi-million FMS contract for overseas allies.

With that being said, Colt says they are now back to the business of shipping ARs for the consumer market again. Everything old is new again, it would appear.

Colt first began marketing the semi-auto AR-15 Sporter to consumers in 1963 and continued to sell the SP-1 (R6000) series with few changes until 1984, since moving on to other AR-style rifles.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Happy Birthday, Teddy

This week is the 161st birthday of the iconic sportsman, former assistant NAVSEC, short-term colonel and occasional statesman, Teddy Roosevelt. In honor of this event, I spent the past several months researching one of his guns, a custom M1903 Springfield that had been sporterized.

Roosevelt’s modified M1903, courtesy of the Sagamore Hill collection

However, it wasn’t some aftermarket bubba hack job on the rifle. This custom work was done at Springfield Armory during the M1903’s first year of production, under the close attention of the arsenal’s commanding colonel– with BG William Crozier acting as the go-between.

And TR took the rifle on several hunting trips ranging from Colorado to Africa.

“On the great bear hunt President Roosevelt after leaving Newcastle [Colorado] for the mountains 1905” — note the sporterized M1903, with its distinctive single barrel band and cut-down pistol grip stock.

More on the story of this interesting, and historical M1903, SN0009, in my column at Guns.com.

You just thought they were preserved

A last haven for guns that would have otherwise been scrapped by authorities, an Australian firearms museum is now confronted with the possibility they may have to mutilate their own collection.

The Lithgow Small Arms Factory, which crafted Australian Lee-Enfields from 1912 into the 1950s when they switched to making inch-pattern semi-auto FAL rifles, is an icon in the country.

The Australians from the ANZACs of Gallipoli through Korea, more often than not, carried Lithgow-made Enfields, and then they switched to Lithgow made FALs…

Some two decades ago, a non-profit group turned portions of the facility into a museum to preserve both the factory and historic Australian firearms. Staffed by volunteers, they take legally in unregistered guns during national firearm amnesty periods rather than have them torched by police. “We exist for the community and display a range of artifacts of historical, educational and community value,” the museum said.

In short, they gave scarce guns a forever home.

Now, they may have to butcher their holdings– which is already under tight security controls and deactivated via trigger locks and removed firing pins– to the point that the often-rare and in many cases unique guns “will be reduced to a metal blob rather than a genuine firearm.”

The museum houses this incredibly rare No 6 Mk I Lithgow Enfield “Jungle Carbine,” one of only a handful made. It is slated to have a steel rod welded into its barrel, and that’s just for starters.

More in my column at Guns.com.

PI Marines rake in interesting finds on the Southern Islands

The Philippine Marines have been busy doing hearts and minds type missions in the Sulu area for the past several months and have managed to get 246 weapons turned over (with a little help from martial law.)

About half are vintage M1 Garands, followed by a decent haul of M14s and M16s, as well as a smattering of other hardware to include M79 bloop tubes, 81mm mortars and 90mm recoilless rifles.

Dig the M79s, with one using a boot top as a pad…also the fifth gun up is a suppressed M1 Carbine with a homemade wooden pistol grip…

Yes, that is a Vietnam-vintage Colt XM177 in the foreground, followed by (likely Manila-made Eslico) M16s. You never know what you are going to come up with in the PI

More in my column at Guns.com.

RIP, Reddit gunboards

The social news discussion platform ranked among the most visited websites in the world announced a content policy Wednesday that left many popular gun boards banned.

The San Francisco-based site, which is structured around user-created boards termed “subreddits,” updated their community guidelines to bar the use of Reddit “to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift” that involves a host of items ranging from firearms to drugs, sex work, and stolen goods.

“Reddit is not intended to be used as a marketplace and takes no responsibility for any transactions individual users might decide to undertake in spite of this,” said the company in a posting that saw nearly 3,000 comments, overwhelmingly negative to the change.

Popular subreddits trading ammunition brass, giving tips for good deals on guns for sale by shops and wholesalers and even airsoft trading boards were turned off.

More in my column over at Guns.com as well as the conversation over the looming ban hammer on gun-related content by YouTube here.

Looking for an odd big bore Mosin rifle, that isn’t?

Russian arms maker Molot has released a bunch of info on their VPO-220 bolt action rifle that isn’t– the Lancaster-bore 9.6x53mm (ballistically between the old .350 Rem Mag and the newer .376 Steyr)– designed to skin a gun control cat.

The Vintovka Mosina VPO-220 (ВПО-220) looks like a classic Mosin M91 rifle, a longarm familiar to Russia for more than 120 years and typically chambered in 7.62x54R. However, to comply with regulations in Russia since the time of the Bolsheviks, the gun is not “legally” a rifle, but uses a Lancaster oval-bore system instead to impart spin.

The oval squeeze to the barrel is elliptical, turning to give the desired twist without traditional lands and grooves. Why? Because owning a legal rifle in Russia is tough….

More in my column at Guns.com

‘They actually asked us if we can use wooden sticks’

A historical society in northern California was told that a planned mock battle with historical significance could not be staged unless the re-enactors used sticks rather than muskets.

CBS13 reported the Elk Grove Historical Society planned a two-day event in April, near the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, and hoped to draw 3,000 visitors.

“We would have encampments and all kinds of entertainment for the kids to see,” said Jim Entrican, who participates with the group.

But the city and parks district refused to grant the non-profit a permit, explaining local ordinances were in place against discharging any firearm.

“They actually asked us if we can use wooden sticks, and can you see 12 men in full regalia and another 12 charging with wooden sticks saying ‘Bang bang!’ It just doesn’t have the same effect,” Entrican said.

 

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