Tag Archives: Politics

Good news is: there were 11.4 million hunters in 2016. Bad news is: there were 12.5 in 2006

A report compiled twice per decade by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows increases nationally in wildlife watching and fishing, but declines in the number of hunters.

The survey, the 13th conducted by the USFWS since 1955, showed marked increases in the numbers of Americans engaged in observing and photographing wildlife and in fishing when compared to the 2011 data, but over the past decade, the number of hunters has dropped by more than 1 million– even as the general population is on the rise.

More in my column at Guns.com.

There are now over 5 million NFA items on the books, including 1.3 million suppressors

The number of National Firearm Act items saw a huge jump in the past year — including a 50 percent increase in suppressor registration and 39 percent bump in short-barreled rifles registered — according to new data released by federal regulators.

The report provides an overview of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the federal list of all items, such as suppressors, SBRs, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices and any other weapons logged under the NFA as of April, and updates figures released in February 2016.

In the 14-month period between reports, the total number of NFA items of all kinds has climbed to 5,203,489 — an overall increase of more than 800,000 items.

While the numbers of AOW’s, machine guns and SBSs all saw negligible increases, the biggest jumps in the 14-month interlude came in the numbers of registered SBRs and suppressors.

More in my column at Guns.com

Museum saving what it can in Australian gun amnesty

The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum opened its doors 20 years ago in the home of the historic Australian firearms works that made Enfield and Steyr rifles for the military. Staffed by volunteers, they are now working during the three-month National Firearms Amnesty to keep some of the more interesting pieces from the scrappers.

Among the historic guns brought to the museum since the turn-in event kicked off last month are a Webley .455 revolver with three notches cut into the grips — reportedly used by a Gurkha unit soldier in World War I.

Now that is a beautiful .455

Other weapons, saved from likely destruction if turned over to police, include a Swedish AB Ljungman rifle and an antique palm pistol as well as a Slazenger 1B sporting rifle with intricately carved stocks and a 1902 Winchester.

More in my column at Guns.com

The best smart gun on the market is easily hacked

The German Armatix iP1 pistol, a personalized handgun design (smart gun), has gotten a lot of flack since it was introduced. While I bumped into the inventor (a guy who came up with a bunch of innovations while working for HK over the years) at a range a couple years ago, and have called, written and emailed Armatix at both their California office and in Germany for months, they won’t talk to me. Also, even though I have tried my best, I have never been able to handle one.

I did talk to a guy who had one in his possession for a long time in 2015 and he wasn’t impressed– telling me with an RF detector he could find the signal, turn it on and off, replicate it and do it all remotely as well as straight up hot wire it by taking the rear portion of the grip off and bypassing the electronic lock altogether, so that if someone who steals the firearm can simply take the back strap off, splice two wires, and the entire “smart” mechanism is disabled.

Well, low and behold, fast forward two years and a security researcher told Wired he was able to jam the radio frequency band (916.5Mhz) and prevent the gun from firing when it should, extend the authentication radius of its RFID puddle, and even defeat the electromagnetic locking system altogether with a simple $15 magnet placed near the breechblock. (More on that here).

So I sent that to the trade organization for the firearms industry to find out what they thought of it.

Their response in my column at Guns.com

Hmpf, the SHUSH Act is now a thing

So you have no doubt heard me talk about the Hearing Protection Act which would eliminate the $200 transfer tax on suppressors by dropping them from NFA rules, but still requires they should be transferred through federal firearms licensees after a background check, regulating them as firearms.

It’s got a ton of sponsors in the House ( 150+, including some Dems) but is likely to stall in the Senate where it only has enough for a serious card game and needs 60.

Well, with that in mind, last week the SHUSH (Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing) Act dropped which would not only remove suppressors from National Firearms Act requirements — a goal of the rival Hearing Protection Act — but also classify them as simple accessories which could be sold over the counter, just like magazines, or butt stocks, or just scopes. It seems odd after more than 80 years of NFA regulation, but that’s how they are sold in the UK and several other countries with gun laws more strict than ours.

Gun control groups don’t know whether to shit or go blind, saying every crook and killer in the future will have a hushable gatt– but in all honesty, you can make an illegal suppressor today from common household items anyway and they are rarely (ATF says ~30 cases in 2015) used in crime, so I’m not sure how factual that argument holds.

Anyway, more on the SHUSH Act in my column at Guns.com

And this great bit from A Scanner Darkly (who doesn’t love PKD) below, and case in point as to why you don’t want to try and suppress the average revolver.

 

Language added to NDAA to speed up 1911 transfers to CMP

An Alabama Congressman has managed to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act out of committee aimed at moving surplus Army pistols to the public.

In a statement from his office, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican that represents the Anniston area in Congress, announced his amendment to the NDAA has moved out of the House Armed Services Committee and is headed to the floor. The measure is designed to speed up the now two-year saga of transferring a stockpile of 100,000 surplus M1911 .45ACP handguns from Anniston Army Depot to the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

More in my column at Guns.com

End of the line for VEPR?

A classic Molot VEPR in .308 with the long 22-inch barrel and Counter Sniper Mil-Dot 4-16x44mm optic with illuminated reticle. Now more expensive than ever!

Back in January, I spoke at length with people over at Molot who were working hard on extending their exports of VEPR rifles and shotguns to the U.S. They were hopeful that the new Trump administration would be friendly to lifting some sanctions on Russian-based companies. Russian-made firearms were popular export items to the states until the conflict in the Ukraine and the resulting international backlash triggered a host of official embargos.

Per figures from the International Trade Commission, 204,788 firearms of all kinds were imported from Russia in 2013.

This figure plunged to just 9,556 in 2015 — mainly from Molot, the only large firearms maker not named in sanctions.

Well, it looks like that figure is going to be a lot lower in 2018…

Inside the CMP, and the word on M1s coming back from overseas and possible 1911s…

To see just what the non-profit has on the shelf, I visited the Civilian Marksmanship’s South operations in Anniston. Co-located near the Anniston Army Depot — which is actually in nearby Bynum — and stores much of the Army’s stockpile of guns and items not needed for current operations, the CMP has a series of warehouses dotting the rolling hills of the area.

Unfortunately, most of them are nearly empty.

While now-retired CMP boss Orest Michaels told me back in 2010 the organization had 125,000 M1 rifles on hand including complete rifles, stripped receivers, and welded drill rifles, the group is coy about just what the numbers are today after several years of brisk sales and surging interest in U.S. martial rifles.

As Jim Townsend, CMP’s business development officer, walked me through a tour of their largest warehouse, he swept his arms over a large expanse of empty floor space and said, “When I first started here, this whole side of the building was full of M1s.” Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.

Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.

Why keep the empty space?

Check out my column at Guns.com for the answer.

Hearing Protection Act ‘alive and well’

Cutaway of the Maxim Model 15 “silencer” on a 1903 mockup.

Since 1934, the federal government has treated devices designed to muffle or suppress the report of firearms as Title II devices that required registration under the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record and mandated transfers that included a $200 tax stamp. The HPA would repeal this requirement and treat suppressors as firearms – which would allow them to be transferred through regular federal firearms license holders to anyone not prohibited from possessing them after the buyer passes an FBI instant background check.

We spoke with industry insiders about the Hearing Protection Act on the eve of the 146th National Rifle Association Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Atlanta last week, who argued the measure has a fighting chance.

More in my column at Guns.com

Some 86,000 surplus M1s could be coming to CMP from the PI

This is my favorite work of Rafael Desoto. The Garand is great

The Civilian Marksmanship Program advises the Army could soon hand over a large stock of historically significant M1 rifles.

A post on an M1 Garand collectors group on Friday mentioned a group of loaned rifles coming in from the Philippines was being processed by the U.S. Army for shipment back to the states. Mark Johnson, CMP’s chief operating officer, confirmed that a large group of rifles may indeed be headed home and wind up in the organization’s hands.

”There are 86,000 or so M1’s hopefully coming back to the Army,” said Johnson. “We hope to see them in the future.”

More in my column at Guns.com

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