Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gun Control in the 20th Century

I've long held the belief that our current crop of gun control owes it's origins with the Volstead Act.

The Volstead Act, you'll recall was Prohibition. Because of the complete ban on alcohol, organized crime exploded. As did the tools of their trade. 1928 Thompsons and BARs were the stock and trade of the gangsters of the era (Capone, Segal, Lucky Luciano), as well as the bank robbing bandits that terrorized the heartland between 1929 and 1935. Think Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Machine Gun Kelly, and Ma Barker.

To combat this threat, the government, in its infinite wisdom thought they could thwart the tools these desperadoes used by creating a tax on these and other weapons; most notably short barrelled rifles, short barrelled shotguns, suppressors, and any other class of firearms deemed by executive fiat to be too dangerous for the general public to own, like zip guns and cane guns.

Since the National Firearms Act of 1934, and its subsequent court case, US v Miller, the door has been pretty much wide-open, at least on the federal level. That is until Heller v DC and McDonald v Chicago.

One of the most sneaky and underhanded pieces of legislation since the Gun Control Act of 1968 was the Hughes Amendment. This little gem, while billed at being a boon to gun owners and check on the power of the ATF, actually cut gun owners off at the knees. Prior to that fateful day, one could produce an ATF form 1 and manufacture a fully automatic machine gun. Since then, only ATF certified dealers who meet specific criteria can manufacture full-auto firearms. What this has effectively done is create a market where only the truly rich can afford these weapons. Prices of full auto firearms are at a point where one has to have a lot of disposable income to afford one. No other class of firearms covered by the NFA was affected.

Think, for a minute. You're a gun owner and veteran and would like to have a fully functional M16 or M14 like the one you carried in Vietnam or Desert Storm. Unless you can afford the cost of brand new car, this is likely not going to happen. Think I'm lying? Do an Internet search for 'Class 3 weapons" and get back with me on the price. When met with a choice between a decent used car or that original Colt/Armalite AR15 for $12,000+, which are you going to make?

My thing going forward from McDonald and Heller would be to challenge the Hughes Amendment and its blanket ban on manufacture of post May 1986 machine guns. Talk about class warfare, here you have it. Only the rich can afford these weapons. Where else in our system of laws do we allow certain portions of a right to be outright banned? We don't have literacy tests for voting, you can still read books printed/written 2000 years ago, and there's no tax on going to the house of worship of your choice.

Now others will disagree with me. Fine. My argument for them is this. If I'm trustworthy enough to walk into a gun store and buy anything with a barrel length of 16" or greater (or 18" for a shotgun), what suddenly makes me so terrible that I can't be trusted with something that fires more than one bullet per pull of the trigger?

Others will scream bloody murder (pardon the pun) about their investments. I understand. But my rights are not about your investment and are not subject to a market artificially created by government fiat.

Dale Jr, Redux

I noticed that I've got a couple of visits about my screed regarding Dale Jr. Maybe one of those hits was from Junior himself.

I stand behind what I said. I love the guy to death, always had a soft spot for him even before Senior passed away. I like seeing him succeed.

But what I've been seeing from him since the BS started over at DEI between him and that thing that called herself Dale Sr.s wife, it's been a downhill spiral ever since.

My wife thinks the start of his problems began with the wreck he had at Sonoma in the Corvette that caught fire. I call BS. He won races after that, during his last stint in the Chase.

Maybe his Daddy was from a different breed. I don't know, breaking your sternum and putting your ca on the pole at Watkins Glen seems to be from a by-gone era.

The only thing I can deduce from watching almost every single race between then and now is that he has become scared of the equipment he routinely operates on a weekly basis.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kinda Puts Things Into Perspective

Over at Lady Tam's place, it's been a bad couple of weeks. First, they had a death in the family.

That was followed by even more grim news today.

This led me to think about our family pet, Shadow.

Shadow is my wife's kitty since before I moved in. She was literally a stray from up the street. She's a long haired kitty, what they refer to as a Nermal. Fur so dark brown it's almost black and sheds enough you could literally knit another just from the hair sucked up in the vacuum or from the brush.

Anyway, in the 8 years since I moved in, as I explained in comments over at Tams place, she's become our Nanny. She will let us know when it's time to go to bed, when it's time to get up, when it's time to eat (of course), and will even comfort either or both of us when we're under the weather. She also tucks us in at bedtime before she hits her food dish before returning to the bed to ensure we're all comfy and sleeping. Shadow has also been known to let us know when we have company, whether it's of the physical kind, or when it's of the unseen variety.

And since Mrs. Hazmat is expecting twins (due mid-November, boy and girl) , she's taken to following my wife around to make sure everything's OK. From going to the fridge all the way to escorting her to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

What happened with Miss Tam and Bobbi got me to thinking what my wife and I would do if we ever lost Shadow. For sure, there would be a terrible hole in our lives. Not having our alarm clock or chaperon for bedtime would be sorely missed. But also the other things. The little things that cat owners and lovers always get a kick out of. Like running at full bore down the hallway in order to beat us to bed, only to run headlong into the end of the bed, misjudging the speed and catapult angle when attempting this feet of daredevil only cats are capable of. Or the remote control kitty spot, the one where when you scratch it just right, you can make the kitty clean herself uncontrollably for as long as you've hit the 'spot'.

My wife is very emotional when it comes to her kitty. Losing her bestest friend in the world (besides me) would literally tear her up. She and I both would be lost without her. I pray that Shadow lives a long and healthy life.

I feel for Tam and Bobbi and the loss they've suffered. I can imagine losing one pet. I cannot begin to fathom the grief that accompanies the loss of two pets in less than two weeks. My condolences on your loss, ladies, I wish there was something I could do.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Parts Bleg

I'm going to be the proud owner of a 7.62x39 AKS-47U parts kit in the next week or so. In order to expedite the Form 1 process, I'm in need of an NDS 1KP receiver.

I've contacted Harlan at NoDak Spud receivers, and he's not planning another run until maybe November.

Does anyone have a NDS 1 KP receiver they would be willing to sell me?

Just drop a comment or email me at thunderriverhomeATgmaildotcom.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Open Letter to Dale Earnhardt, Jr

I'm going to take a break from my usual blog fare to write an open letter to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., supposed driver of the number 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet Impala.

I've been a loyal fan of your family for as long as I can remember, and I write this as a concerned lifelong Earnhardt fan.

Dude, what the hell is going on? I've been watching you race in the Cup series since your rookie season, and watched you win 2 Busch series championships, and I can honestly say that who ever is driving the 88 this year ain't the guy who I watched win the Daytona 500, 5 Talledega races, and 11 other events.

Seriously, when did you decide to let the guy selling T-shirts out front of the track start driving? Are you that scared to wreck that you really forgot where on the floor board they put the gas pedal? Tonight in Richmond, if there was a record for passing the most cars while heading to the back of the pack without wrecking, you would have it. The only thing I've seen fall faster than you in a race was the anchor on the last boat I was on. I've watched you have good runs, usually in the top 5-10, only to finish somewhere behind the start and park crowd. I think the pace car actually passed and lapped you, and he spent most of the night parked on pit road.

It would be very easy to blame the crew and crew chief, but they're only as good as the guy giving them information on how the car is performing. And bud, that message ain't getting through. The best and brightest at Hendrick Motorsports are at your disposal, and it's almost like you're in your own little world, completely ignorant of what your teammates are doing and what they have to offer. Three of the best drivers in motorsports are just a phone call away and it seems they might as well not even exist.

It's really telling when guys who have a limited budget and only one car in their team, yet they can somehow manage to finish higher in the race than you can.

When Paul Menard can run better than you, and he's been said to only be able to run fast enough to get in everybody's way can finish higher than you, you've got problems.

Sounds to me like you need one of those 'Ricky Bobby' interventions. Somebody needs to show you where the gas pedal is in your car, either that or Lance McGrew needs to put a bigger one in.

Dude, if you're that scared of wrecking, just hang it up. Seriously. If all you're going to do is ride around and take up space on the track, I'm sure there are some up-and-comers in the Nationwide, Camping World Truck, or ARCA racing series who would be up for the task. At least Darrel Waltrip and Rusty Wallace knew when it was time to hang it up. Because right now, whatever it is you're doing, it ain't working.

It's gut-check time, bud. Grow a pair and find the driver (not the rider) who ran away from the pack in Texas in 2000, or just go back to your party bar in North Carolina and watch the race from the comfort and safety of your couch.

If you (or anyone else for that matter) has a problem with what I've written, tough. Take a long look in the mirror and think long and hard about who you are and what you've become. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only Earnhardt fan out there who is sorely disappointed in you and what's become of you.

My wife, who's a bigger fan of yours than I am says I'm being mean. I say it's tough love. Somebody has to say it, and it might as well be me.