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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for February, 2017

Massad Ayoob

THE VERMONT MODEL SPREADS

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

In New Hampshire, the “Live Free or Die” state, Governor Sununu just signed permitless concealed carry into law. That appears to make NH the fifteenth of the fifty states to allow law- abiding citizens to carry loaded, concealed handguns in public without a permit. Professor John Lott lists eleven states in addition to New Hampshire which have what he calls “‘full” constitutional carry without any notable restrictions.” Tracking roughly from east to west, they are: Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, and Alaska. Dr. Lott also points out that there are three states he describes as having “‘limited’ constitutional carry – i.e., with a few restrictions or kinks included.” He lists as such Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Montana.

“Permitless carry” is probably the most semantically correct descriptor. I realize that “Constitutional Carry” has a ring to it, but I’ve been in enough debates that I try to avoid terms which can be interpreted in multiple ways. “Constitutional” technically means deriving from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is understood all the way back to Civics 101 that Constitutional issues are arbitrated by the Supreme Court of the United States. In SCOTUS’ two landmark cases on individual Second Amendment rights, both Heller v. District of Columbia and McDonald, et. al. v. City of Chicago, the majority opinions specifically said that the right to carry was still open to regulation at the lower levels of government. Thus, it could be argued that the Constitution itself really doesn’t guarantee the right to carry loaded and concealed in public without a permit.

A term I much prefer is simply Vermont Model. For most of my life and probably yours unless you’re very young, Vermont was the ONLY state that did not require a permit to carry, and merely forbade the practice to those who were convicted felons, adjudicated mentally incompetent, or had malice in their hearts. Perhaps not coincidentally, there have been many years when Vermont had the lowest rate of violent crime of all fifty states.

It is good to see the Vermont Model spreading, with more states expected to get on board. Your take on it is, as always, welcome here.

Massad Ayoob

WALKING DEAD

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Evil Princess and I just got home from a long trip in time to catch the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.”  If I was to take this test question …

 

“’The Walking Dead’ is:

“A: A television fantasy.

“B: A documentary.

“C: A training film.”

 

…My answer would still be “A.”

 

But it’s always fun to look at it as “C.”  If a plague of zombies overtook society, what would we arm ourselves with?  I can tell you that the Darrel character, who tackles it for the most part with a crossbow, is a better man than me.  Something like a Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic rifle would have been my first thought: if you need brain shots to do the job anyway, the .22 seems logical: you can get reliable 25 to 50 round magazines for it and still have something light and handy for constant carry, and LOTS of those teeny little cartridges on your person.  But then you start thinking about how often .22 Long Rifle rounds have been known to ricochet off human skulls that haven’t been rotted soft, and the .22’s well known impotence against living bad guys…

We had several handguns with us in the vehicle, and because we had just shot a Glock match that finished up our two-class tour, a good bit left of the thousand-plus 9mm rounds and assorted .45 ACP, 10mm, and .380 ammo we’d started out with.  Would have been a good start.

But, just for the hell of it, if “Walking Dead” became “B: A documentary,” what would YOU arm yourself with?

Massad Ayoob

END OF AN ERA …BUT STAY TUNED

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Dave Duffy, founder and publisher of Backwoods Home magazine, has announced that the periodical will cease publishing its print version this year.  Its sister publication, Self-Reliance, will remain as a hard copy magazine.  The electronic version of Backwoods Home will continue, at least for now, online.  So will this blog, and Jackie Clay’s.  Stay tuned for further updates.  Dave’s own statement on the matter is here.

Now, Backwoods Home ain’t done yet by a long shot.  Print edition production is scheduled to run through the November-December issue, and January-February is what’s current now.  Stay tuned for further announcements.

Having been Firearms Editor for Backwoods Home for some twenty years and blogging here for almost nine, I’m going to miss leafing through those dead tree pages and absorbing lots of useful knowledge from the many contributors who’ve been there and done that.  The anthologies that grew from that have proven to be precious resources, and I believe there will be more to come.

Dave’s magazine lasted a helluva lot longer than Benjamin Franklin’s.

Massad Ayoob

ETYMOTIC EAR PLUGS

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Etymotic (high definition) active ear plugs ain’t your daddy’s ear plugs.  I finally got around to testing GunSport Pro GSP-15 plugs from Etymotic Reseasrch, Inc. of Elk Grove Village, IL. Each fitted with a teeny battery, the set comes with an assortment of Accu-Fit ™ shapes so you can find the one that best fits your own ears.  For me, the LRG gave a superb fit, as if custom made for me.

 

I have been told by audiologists that a significant amount of the damaging sound waves that cause the cumulative high-range hearing loss known colloquially as “shooter’s ear” come in the form of vibrations through surrounding bone, which plugs alone can’t stop. Muffs are better in that regard, but the stems of requisite protective eyewear can break the seal of the muffs, and plugs are a very good fallback.  Most of us “in the business” will “double up” and use plugs and muffs simultaneously when shooting high powered rifles or particularly loud handguns.

 

Active hearing protection isn’t just a luxury, it’s a safety thing. As an expert witness in weapons related court cases since 1979, I’ve run across a number of fatal or injury-producing accidents that could have been prevented if the instructor or range officer on the firing line could have heard, over the gunfire, the sounds of someone struggling with a jammed gun, or cursing under his breath, or something similar.

So, I tried the Etymotic plugs with muffs. Ordinary passive muffs – “dead muffs,” if you will – didn’t allow enough sound to get through for my already-somewhat-impaired ears to hear conversations on the firing line.  I tried them next under active muffs from Walker, and got pretty much the same comforting attenuation of loud sounds but amplification of small ones that we buy active hearing protection for in the first place. No feedback was noticed by me or those around me when I shot with both Etymotic plugs and active muffs turned on simultaneously.

I appreciate the active hearing protection of this product with the convenience of tiny size and pocket carry. They’re also good for those who just can’t bear to wear muffs, or find that muffs interfere with their rifle or shotgun stock.  Price is $299 MSRP.  I can see a future for these as part of my personal shooting kit.  Info at etymotic.com.

The product:

Etymotic wisely sells the plugs with a selection of buds to fit different ears. These are the ones that worked best for Mas.

The amplified plugs are adjustable for “HI” and “LO.”

I started with a .22, a Smith & Wesson Model 18 with the classic old Pro-Point red dot sight.

“Hey! These plugs work pretty darn well!”

 

Short barrel .38s like this J-frame S&W can be loud, but the Etymotics handled it well.

Tried them in tandem with muffs, too.

Muffs don’t fit in your shirt pocket. Etymotic plugs do.

Massad Ayoob

WELL, WHADDAYA KNOW…

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Some folks inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seem to think the way a lot of us do.

Please take the time to read this

… and share your thoughts on it here.

 
 
 
 
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