Archive for January, 2017

Even In Church

By From • Jan 31st, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

The Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, was attacked during Mass last Saturday by a man who got up from his seat at the service. The Bishop needed 30 stitches in his mouth as result of the punch. The thug who assaulted the Bishop was arrested, though no motive has been released. I’m assuming that unless the goon turns out to be a Trump supporter, we probably won’t hear much more about a motive.

We now have video of the assault.

The recording leaves me wondering why the attacker was allowed to calmly walk up to the altar. During that part of the Mass people are standing, but there is no reason for anyone to be approaching the altar. An Essex County Sheriff’s Officer can be seen calmly following the guy, but makes no attempt to stop him until AFTER he sucker punches the Bishop. Inexcusable in my eyes.

Frankly, I am a little surprised the Bishop didn’t react sooner. It just goes to show that one can be blind to a threat when you have no reason to believe there is any danger.

Unfortunately this assault occurred in New Jersey, where good people are defenseless and told to rely on the police to keep them safe. How’d that work out for the Bishop? I am confident that someone approaching the altar in my church here in Virginia would be stopped before he hit the first step.

For my Virginia readers, I will remind you of the Virginia statute which vaguely states that carrying a weapon “without good and sufficient reason” in a church is not lawful. I will also remind you that former Virginia Attorney Cuccinelli offered an opinion that “carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a good and sufficient reason under the statute to carry a weapon into a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held there.”

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]

Red Dragon Brewery and Cask Ale

By From • Jan 30th, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

I was excited to read that Red Dragon Brewery in Fredericksburg has added cask ale to their lineup. They acquired a traditional hand-pumped beer engine from a closed pub in the U.K. and tapped the first beer this weekend. Colleen and I stopped by …

My First Caribbean Sailing Experience

By From • Jan 28th, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind, that determines which way we will go.” – Jim Rohn Sunday, January 15, 2017 -For my 50th birthday, Ken blessed me with a seven-day catamaran sailing trip! Not only was this a special trip …

It’s Friday And There’s Range Time

By From • Jan 27th, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

For this week’s range trip I opted to shoot the compact SIG P239 since I’ll be shooting it in a match soon. It’s also the firearm that I carry most often, so I like to shoot it regularly.

I decided to run Julie Golob’s 50 round drill a couple of times, setting the target at 7 yards. The goal is to only score -0 hits, anything else is considered a miss. While there’s no time limit on the drill, I did try to shoot as fast as I could and still get the hits, though slowing down would have made for a more impressive accompanying photo.

Using the IDPA target outline for scoring, on the first I had seven misses out of 50, five of which were on head shot attempts. On the second run, I slowed a bit for the head shots and only missed two, but dropped five body shots.

After I expended the 100 rounds I had packed, I had the urge to shoot a bit more, so I purchased 50 more rounds from the range. This time I set out a B-34 target and worked on shooting out to 20 yards. I was mostly pleased with that round of shooting, but noticed a tendency to shoot slightly low.

Lessons learned today: I need to concentrate on grip pressure with the slimmer gun, and also watch the height of the front sight to keep from dropping low shots. And that gives me an excuse to go back next week. Even though the shooting wasn’t quite as accurate as I would have liked, the outing was a fun diversion. And now we know there are health benefits too.

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]

This is the extent of Florida I’ll get to see during my brief visit to Orlando to cover a convention.

By From • Jan 27th, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local, Photography.Local

The Threat to VA CHP Holders in MD

By From • Jan 26th, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

As someone who sometimes travels in Maryland for shooting matches or to visit family, I find this of great concern. When traveling in the not so “Free State” I am aware of the threat of unreasonable searches of my person and vehicle by agents of a stat…

9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Second Amendment

By From • Jan 25th, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local
Interesting information to contradict the FUD of the anti-gun crowd.
Reprinted from Policy Mic.

1. The Second Amendment codifies a pre-existing right

The Constitution doesn’t grant or create rights; it recognizes and protects rights that inherently exist. This is why the Founders used the word “unalienable” previously in the Declaration of Independence; these rights cannot be created or taken away. In D.C. vs. Heller, the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment “codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed … this is not a right granted by the Constitution” (p. 19).

2. The Second Amendment protects individual, not collective rights
The use of the word “militia” has created some confusion in modern times, because we don’t understand the language as it was used at the time the Constitution was written. However, the Supreme Court states in context, “it was clearly an individual right” (p. 20). The operative clause of the Second Amendment is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” which is used three times in the Bill of Rights. The Court explains that “All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body” (p. 5), adding “nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right” (p. 6).
3. Every citizen is the militia
To further clarify regarding the use of the word “militia,” the court states “the ordinary definition of the militia as all able-bodied men” (p. 23). Today we would say it is all citizens, not necessarily just men. The Court explains: “’Keep arms’ was simply a common way of referring to possessing arms, for militiamen and everyone else” (p. 9). Since the militia is all of us, it doesn’t mean “only carrying a weapon in an organized military unit” (p. 11-12). “It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia” (p. 20).

4. Personal self-defense is the primary purpose of the Second Amendment

We often hear politicians talk about their strong commitment to the Second Amendment while simultaneously mentioning hunting. Although hunting is a legitimate purpose for firearms, it isn’t the primary purpose for the Second Amendment. The Court states “the core lawful purpose [is] self-defense” (p. 58), explaining the Founders “understood the right to enable individuals to defend themselves … the ‘right of self-preservation’ as permitting a citizen to ‘repe[l] force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury’ (p.21). They conclude “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right” (p.56).
5. There is no interest-balancing approach to the Second Amendment
Interest-balancing means we balance a right with other interests. The court notes that we don’t interpret rights this way stating “we know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding “interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all” (p.62-63). This doesn’t mean that it is unlimited, the same as all rights (more on that below). However, the court states that even though gun violence is a problem to be taken seriously, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table” (p.64).

6. The Second Amendment exists to prevent tyranny

You’ve probably heard this. It’s listed because this is one of those things about the Second Amendment that many people think is made up. In truth, this is not made up. The Court explains that in order to keep the nation free (“security of a free state”), then the people need arms: “When the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny” (p.24-25). The Court states that the Founders noted “that history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents” (p. 25). At the time of ratification, there was real fear that government could become oppressive: “during the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive” (p.25). The response to that concern was to codify the citizens’ militia right to arms in the Constitution (p. 26).
7. The Second Amendment was also meant as a provision to repel a foreign army invasion

You may find this one comical, but it’s in there. The court notes one of many reasons for the militia to ensure a free state was “it is useful in repelling invasions” (p.24). This provision, like tyranny, isn’t an everyday occurring use of the right; more like a once-in-a-century (if that) kind of provision. A popular myth from World War II holds Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese navy allegedly said “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” Although there is no evidence of him saying this, there was concern that Japan might invade during WWII. Japan did invade Alaska, which was a U.S. territory at the time, and even today on the West Coast there are still gun embankments from the era (now mostly parks). The fact is that there are over 310 million firearms in the United States as of 2009, making a foreign invasion success less likely (that, and the U.S. military is arguably the strongest in the world).

8. The Second Amendment protects weapons “in common use at the time”
The right to keep and bear arms isn’t unlimited: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” (p. 54). The Court upheld restrictions like the prohibition of arms by felons and the mentally ill, and carrying in certain prohibited places like schools and courthouses. What is protected are weapons “in common use of the time” (p.55). This doesn’t mean weapons in common use “at that time,” meaning the 18th Century. The Court said the idea that it would is “frivolous” and that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” (p.8). The Court’s criteria includes weapons in popular widespread use “that [are] overwhelmingly chosen by American society” (p. 56), and “the most popular weapon chosen by Americans” (p. 58).
9. The Second Amendment might require full-blown military arms to fulfill the original intent
The Court didn’t rule specifically on this in D.C. vs. Heller, but noting that weapon technology has drastically changed (mentioning modern day bombers and tanks), they stated “the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large” (p. 55).

They further added that “the fact that modern developments [in modern weaponry] have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right” (p. 56). A full ruling has not been made, as this was not in the scope the court was asked to rule on in the D.C. vs. Heller case, but they left the door open for future ruling.

Tip of the hat to Give Me Liberty for the link.

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]

Cavalier IDPA Match

By From • Jan 24th, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

I was fortunate to be able to shoot two IDPA matches last weekend. After the demoralizing BUG match, it was fun to shoot another match on Sunday at Cavalier. This time I shot a full size pistol, with much better results.The weather was “iffy” on the mo…

Sierra Nevada Beer Recall

By From • Jan 23rd, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

Check your beer fridge. Sierra Nevada Brewing has issued a recall of some beer bottled at their Mills River, NC brewery. A flaw in the packaging may allow for bits of glass to break off into the bottles.The affected beers as have a package date between…

Rivanna BUG Match

By From • Jan 23rd, 2017 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

The first match of the season for the Rivanna IDPA group was the annual BUG (Back Up Gun) match. I headed over to Charlottesville on a foggy Saturday morning to shoot the match with the S&W Shield that I practiced a bit with last week.The club’s ru…