Josh Montgomery: AR-style rifles – What Should You Pay Attention When Buying.

You’re probably very excited to buy your first AR-style rifle, yet you’re afraid you might end up choosing one that is not right for you. You’re not the first nor the last. After all, not everyone can be an all-around expert, right?

AR-style rifles are semi-automatic performers that are capable of being used in combat. They are of multiple types, such as polymer, AK-47, AR-15, compact and many others. However, combat is not the only way assault rifles can be put to work, as they can be used for hunting and self-defense as well.

Especially if you’re a first-time buyer, the many choices you find on the market could be overwhelming and can easily give you the “this is not for me” mindset. However, it is not as difficult as you think, and all you need is some guidance. So, if you’re thinking of purchasing an AR-style rifle, here’s what you need to look for before you spend your money.

  • Brand

Is it even worth mentioning that there are a lot of brands out there? Just like it’s the case for any other product, there are different brands that are trying to manufacture the best model on the market. In case you were thinking the brand doesn’t really matter, well, think again. Each one hires different experts to manufacture the weapons, so it’s only normal the rifles differ from each other, depending on who made them.

That being said, some brands sell their rifles for lower prices, while others seem quite expensive. While we don’t suggest choosing the pricier item, don’t settle for the cheapest one either. Unless you want to end up with a gun that will have a poor performance and won’t resist for too long, you should avoid it.

Look for one with a decent price. Some popular brands are Smith, Colt, and Wesson.

  • Triggers

The trigger is the one determining the bullet to pass through the barrel, so it only makes sense you have to consider this factor. Some triggers are harder to pull than others, and choosing the right pull weight depends on your strength and preference.

Make sure you choose one that’s not too easy to pull, nor requiring all of your power to work. Also, if triggers have screw adjustments, avoid them, as they may back out.

  • Feel

How you feel with the rifle while handling it is really important. So, this should definitely be one of the decisive factors before you invest in it. You wouldn’t want to feel any discomfort while struggling to shoot accurately, would you?

Of course, this also differs from one person to another. So, you have to test the assault rifle before deciding if it’s the right one for you. You can do this by picking it up and putting it on your shoulder.

If it feels uncomfortable, it’s best to avoid buying that model because you will have to spend extra money on adjustments.

Test each rifle you set your eyes on and make sure it feels comfortable when you handle it.

  • Fit

Whether the rifle fits or not is yet another very important aspect to take into consideration. Just like the feel, this depends on each individual. It can be figured out through a simple test.

You have to hold the rifle and use your dominant hand to make a firing grip. See if you’re able to reach every control, such as the safety, bolt catch, magazine release and, ultimately, the trigger. Don’t be surprised if some rifles make this the most difficult task in the world. As they are manufactured differently, not each one allows for smooth, easy operation, so reaching every control may not be possible.

That being said, choose one that allows you to reach the controls without putting in too much effort. Otherwise, you might drop the weapon and you’ll not be able to use it efficiently. Look for a different model if the one you tested doesn’t fit.

  • Durability

Let’s be honest, who would want to buy a gun knowing it will most likely die after barely being used? Nobody wants that, given the amount of money spent. It’s important to look carefully at the weapon and do some research before you settle for it. Assault rifles should be able to withstand years of usage without losing their good condition.

Coming as no surprise, the market has many low-quality rifle models that are not only about to crumble after a few uses but may also be really dangerous. So, you need to be really careful and not just choose a cheap option, or one from a brand you haven’t heard of. Check out the rifle, do some research and ask the shop worker for as many details as possible to be sure that you’re getting the right item.

  • Accessories

Sometimes, you have to look for some additional items that will make the experience much better. When it comes to AR-style rifles, you may want accessories such as optics, lights, and slings. So, the rifle you choose should have attachment points for them.

This is why you should look at how many attachment points the weapon has. Particularly if you want to do competitive shooting, the more attachment points, the better. This is because accessories can greatly improve your performance by helping you.

So, look for rifles with a higher number of attachment points, and you can add versatile and useful accessories.

Final Thoughts

AR-style rifles are not like children’s toys and looking for one is a task that should be taken seriously. Since assault rifles can be a really solid investment, you need to know what to look for to choose one that delivers exactly what you wish. Hopefully, our article has helped you in this regard.

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Want To Find Common Ground Between Gun Owners And Non-Gun Owners? Think Conservation.

 An interesting article appeared today on a website which caters primarily to residents of Ohio who earn their livings by owning or working on farms. There are still 75,000 farms in the Buckeye State, which means that the farmers and their families account for less than 3% of the population, but together agriculture contributes more than $100 billion to the state’s economy, which isn’t bad considering that taken together, farmland accounts for about half of all the state’s physical size.

The article, written by the Director of Agricultural Law at Ohio State, summarizes what landowners need to know when they allow hunters to go trekking across their land. Ohio has passed any number of statutes covering who can hunt on  someone else’s land, what kind of permission is required, how many hunters can be on a specific piece of land at the same time, who needs to be notified about trespassers, and so on. As the author of the article states, “hunting raises many questions and concerns for agricultural landowners. Ohio law offers rules and remedies that can ease those concerns.”

What I find interesting is the degree to which hunting and farming both help to sustain the natural balance  that allows all living species (including humans) to survive. The farmer plants a crop which both draws and restores natural ingredients to the land. After the harvest (which produces sustenance for animals and man) the stubble and vines provide nourishment for all kinds of living things. Then the hunters come and trim the flocks  and herds attracted to the open, farmed space and the whole cycle repeats itself again.

The importance of this process and the role played by hunting in maintaining the natural balance of this cycle was recognized by Theodore Roosevelt and George Grinnell when they founded the Boone & Crockett Club in 1887.  This followed from Roosevelt’s first hunting expedition in 1883 when he went out West to bag a trophy-sized bison. What he thought would be an easy hunting trip into the Dakota Territory, turned into an arduous trek into Montana because the American bison, once native to the entire continent, had become almost extinct in the continental United States. The founding of Boone & Crockett was the first of many steps taken by Roosevelt and other hunter-conservationists to regulate the taking of game so that herds and flocks would continue to flourish and grow.

I did my first serious hunting in South Carolina in the mid-1970’s, going after white tails both in highland and lowland sites. When I moved to Massachusetts in 1993 I froze my rear end several times hunting high-flyers from duck blinds on the Atlantic coast. I also briefly hunted elk in Wyoming and antelope in West Texas; in neither place did I even get off one shot.

What impresses me about this country is that we have almost an endless supply of open space, most of which represents farms that are no longer in production but offer all kinds of landscapes where hunters can go and engage in what Boone & Crockett calls a ‘fair chase.’ This means that at all times the hunter is aware of his responsibility to “conserve wildlife natural resources, especially game species.”

It just so happens that an organization, Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2) has been working on ways to maintain and augment the natural balance so that wild species can survive in what is increasingly less amounts of natural space. The group is an offshoot of the Smithsonian, and the CEO, Katy Palfrey, just happens to be the great-great granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt, I kid you not.

You can see what they are doing on their website, but I’ll just summarize it quickly and tell you this. They work with ranchers and farmers who have open land that can be used to study the most effective ways to protect and grow natural species, and some of their spaces are shared with hunters as well.

Want to find common ground between gun owners and non-gun owners?  Here it is.

Why Do (Many) Americans Own Guns?

All my friends in the gun-control movement keep telling me that we can reduce gun violence by just enacting some ‘reasonable’ or ‘common-sense’ laws. I suppose that what they mean are laws that even gun owners will agree should be passed, like extending background checks to personal transfers, red-flag laws, ‘common-sense’ things like that. Our friends at the Hopkins group have published a big study which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that most gun owners really do support those ‘reasonable’ laws.

That’s all fine and well except for one, little thing. If you asked the average gun owner what he thinks would be the best way to reduce gun violence, he’d probably say that we should get rid of all gun-free zones. Or maybe put armed guards in all schools. Or better yet, allow everyone who wants to carry a gun to carry it from state to state.

In other words, all these ‘common-sense’ gun laws whose benefits are touted by every gun-control organization are only considered ‘reasonable’ by people who, for the most part, don’t own guns. And if all those folks really want to find a way to communicate with gun owners in order to come up with some ‘reasonable’ regulations that might really gain Gun-nut Nation’s support, maybe they would start out by trying to figure out why people own guns. After all, a gun isn’t like a car- you don’t need to own a gun in order to get to work. And you also don’t really need to own a gun to protect yourself from ISIS, or a street thug, or even from gun-grabbers like Joe Biden or Crazy Bern.

Back in 2015, our friends at Harvard published a very detailed study on who owns guns in America and why they own their guns. What they found is that gun owners own handguns primarily for protection  and own long guns for hunting and sport. It took a whole study to figure that one out? After all, it’s not as if you can’t take down Bambi with a Glock, but that’s not the way it’s usually done.

If our public health friends want to really help us figure out how to talk to gun owners about how to reduce gun violence, they might ask whether just knowing that people buy handguns for personal protection really tells them anything at all. Colt began making and selling a self-defense pocket pistol in 1903, which was long before Dana Loesch got on NRA-TV to warn all America’s housewives to defend themselves against street ‘thugs.’

It’s not as if walking around with a Glock in your pocket is the only way people can protect themselves from crime. In fact, most people aren’t wandering around with a Glock and they don’t seem to feel any more vulnerable than the guys and a few gals who walk around armed. If public health researchers think they are really explaining anything when they publish another study showing that the number of people who actually use a gun to prevent a crime is somewhere between zero and zilch, maybe they should think again. The folks who come into my gun shop to buy a gun for ‘personal protection’ couldn’t care less what some egg-head from Harvard believes.

All I know is that the rate of violent crime across the U.S. continues to decline, but the percentage of the population which believes that having a gun around is more of a benefit than a risk continues to increase. How do we account for such cognitive dissonance when it comes to the question of guns?

We don’t. We simply pretend that somewhere, somehow we can create a magic formula that will get gun owners and non-gun owners on the same page. In the meantime, deaths from intentional shootings have increased by more than 25% over the last ten years.

Isn’t it about time we substituted the word ‘effective’ for words like ‘reasonable’ or ‘common -sense’ when it comes to promoting new gun laws?

Do More Guns Really Mean More Gun Violence?

Over the least quarter-century, the debate about guns and gun violence has coalesced into two camps. One camp, let’s call it the ‘guns are good’ (GAG) camp, says that guns protect us from violence and crime. The other camp, let’s call it the ‘guns are bad’ (GAB) camp, says that guns cause more violence and crime. The GAG has been led by our friend John Lott.  The GAB has been led by our friend David Hemenway. Today’s column will examine the argument made by the GAB.

In multiple articles plus a well-known and oft-cited book, Hemenway claims that the rate of violent crime is no different between the U.S. and other ‘advanced’ nation-states. On the other hand, the U.S. has a much higher rate of fatal, violent crime, a difference caused by the private ownership of some 300 million guns.

Hemenway and other public-health researchers refer to their approach as creating an ‘epidemiology’ of gun violence; i.e., figuring out where (geographically)  and when (numerically) this particular form of injury occurs. Unfortunately, the comparison he makes between the U.S. and other ‘advanced’ countries is wrong on both counts.

If Hemenway and his public health cohorts actually believe that comparing any health event in a country of 320 million people with another country that holds one-tenth that population or less gives us any insights into how to deal with that particular health problem, then all I can say is that you can use numbers to prove anything you want.  Of the 34 countries currently in the OECD, ten have a total population of less than 30 million. Does anyone really believe that we can come up with a valid explanation about anything if we compare what happens in the U.S. to what goes on, for example, in Luxembourg, whose total population is .001 percent of ours?

Luxembourg covers an area of 998 square miles, which happens to be one-fifth the size of Connecticut. If you stuck Luxembourg into Montana, it would be a tiny speck. And yet Hemenway and other GAB researchers want us to believe that a cross-national comparison between the United States and a country like Luxembourg should be the basis on which we develop ‘reasonable’ national gun laws, right?

The GAB argument breaks down even further when we forget cross-national comparisons and just look at the rate of violent crime within the United States. According to the FBI-UCR, the U.S. violent crime rate in 2017 was 394 per 100K. But this number, particularly the more than 17,000 homicides which contribute 1.3% of the crimes to the overall number of violent crimes, is also rather meaningless when discussed in global terms.

In fact, on a regional basis, the homicide rate of 5.3 breaks down like this: Northeast – 3.5; Midwest – 5.7; South – 6.4; West – 4.5.  Taken together, the 15 Southern states represent almost half the total homicides of the country as a whole.  The Northeast, on the other hand, represents just 11% of all homicides, although the total regional population is just about half the number of people living in the South.

To compare the overall rate of gun violence in the U.S. to other countries is basically a false comparison precisely because the murder rates in different parts of our country vary to such an extreme degree. If Hemenway and his public health research colleagues want to pretend they are creating an ‘epidemiology’ of gun violence, they should stop talking about a ‘national crisis’ and start looking at what the numbers really say. What the numbers really say is that we have a severe public health problem called ‘gun violence’ which shows up most frequently in the Southern states.

My mail-list includes all the public health researchers who support the GAB idea. If any of them want to reply to this column, I’ll gladly post their words right here. But if there’s one thing which seems to unite virtually the entire community of gun-violence public health researchers, it’s their obsessive desire to avoid any public debate about their own work. So we’ll see what we see.

Josh Montgomery: 7 Tips To Overcome Your Fear Of Guns.

Perhaps you are happy with the Second Amendment, but you’re jittery about carrying a gun, it is high time you get over the fear so that the amendment can benefit you. If you have made up your mind to overcome the anti-gun culture, then adopt the tips in this post to overcome a fear of gun.

Tip #1: Face Your Fears Head On

Just merely seeing a gun makes the guts of some people scream, and seeing someone handle it makes the matter even worse for such people. A good number of people have emotional reaction when they behold this piece of metal called gun, even when it is obvious that the gun is not loaded. So, the first step towards overcoming the fear of gun is to start handling it. You should let someone who is already handling the metal properly to assist you in learning how to hold a gun. You should practice with an unloaded gun.

#2: Proceed to Learning How to Shoot Your Gun

You should move from handling a gun to actually shooting a gun, still under the tutelage of an experienced gun user. One of the things you will learn when you start shooting proper is that it takes a lot of effort to hit a target. You will also get to know that many guns’ trigger pull is so hard that accidental firing isn’t something that comes as simple as some TV shows present it.

Tip #3: Reassess the Gun You’re Using Currently

If it appears you are not getting along with your current gun, you should make a reassessment and see if it’s time to change your gun. For instance, a friend of mine started shooting with a little semi-automatic that he termed mean, but later had to replace it with a revolver that was friendlier.

An experienced gun user can help you make a better selection. You can also rely on your local Federal Firearms License holder to help you get the right gun for you — in fact, the licensed gun guys may be willing to help you sell your current gun and choose a more suited gun for you.  

Those super-portable guns that easily fit into your purse can be hard to control, and are bad tempered. The gentler ones are the big ones, and this is because of their sturdy built. If you are a new gun user, you are likely to shoot better with a gun that is not really trim.

Tip #4:  Get a Friendly Option When You want to Carry

Bear in mind that when it comes to holsters, what you pay is what you get. So, the best bet is to experiment with inexpensive ones, rather than go for the ones that cost a fortune. Particularly for ladies, finding a comfy and friendly way to carry can be a tricky thing.

Also, there are factors such as being straighter or curvier, especially for ladies — there are different carry options for each shape. Also, the different dresses such as pants or skirts or dresses also complicate choice making. The smartest move is to locate the part of your body that a holster wouldn’t be very obtrusive — then you can go ahead and make your choice.

Tip #5: Don’t Practice in a Scary Way

Start working on your aim and a laser grip will help you accomplish this. Get the unloaded gun and point it and subsequently activate the laser, to help you see whether you are aiming well or not. Experiment with different  positions — a ready position,  then a relaxed position.

Next, leave your gun in its holster or storage and start the drill, so that you can practice the entire motion. Try getting the feel of a trigger pull with dry-firing (unloaded gun), accomplished without stress, bang, or even incurring expenses on bullets. This practice is one of the ways to overcome fear and anxiety of shooting an actual gun.

Tip #6: Don’t Get too Worked Up

Also, in order to overcome the fear of guns, you need to loosen up. Perhaps, the International Defensive Pistol Association may be a more fun way for a starter to start getting comfortable with the world of gun. Look for a gun club and get in touch with the person leading the club, so that he can assist you on becoming more familiar with your gun. Even the club members with different shooting experiences won’t hesitate to show you tactics for shooting safely and shooting straight. Well, the point is that the Second Amendment did both good and ill —- good that you can defend yourself if messed-up people pick up the gun to harass or attack you — bad that anyone can now carry gun, thereby empowering the mess-up people to carry and use the gun as they wish.

Tip #7: Watch Video Tutorials on Using and Shooting Gun

It will also be very helpful to locate valuable tutorials on how to start handing and shooting with gun. This will help you learn gun shooting techniques. These tutorials would also provide you with tips on how to overcome the fear of handling and shooting with a gun.

However, when you start to practice shooting gun on your own, especially with a loaded gun, ensure there’s an experienced gun user guiding you. If you must start on your own, do that with unloaded gun as instructed earlier, for safety and other beneficial purposes.

Go ahead and adopt these tips to overcome your fear of guns.

Hello Again.

After I ran yesterday’s column saying that I was closing down this site, I received a great number of emails from readers who wished me all the best but also stated that they were less than happy that MiketheGunGuy was coming to an end. I was actually quite overwhelmed by the response.

So I have decided to keep the blog alive but will contribute only an occasional column because I don’t want my writing to interfere with the promise I made to Katy Palfrey and the Conservation Centers to help them move ahead. In fact, I will probably post some columns about that remarkable effort as well.

Once again I want to ask everyone to consider contributing their thoughts to this blog. I make no editorial requirements of any kind (topic, content, length) as long as you refrain from profanity and personal insults of any kind. And I’m not even concerned about whether you send me a post about something other than guns.

Again, I want to thank everyone who sent me a note asking that I remain active in this space. It’s nice to know that I have built an audience which enjoys what I say, in agreement or not.

August 21: Flag Day And Ruby Ridge Day.

From our friends at Ammo.com.

The Siege at Ruby Ridge is often considered a pivotal date in American history. The shootout between Randy Weaver and his family and federal agents on August 21, 1992, is one that kicked off the Constitutional Militia Movement and left America with a deep distrust of its leadership – in particular then-President George H.W. Bush and eventual President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno.

The short version is this: Randy Weaver and his wife Vicki moved with their four kids to the Idaho Panhandle, near the Canadian border, to escape what they thought was an increasingly corrupt world. The Weavers held racial separatist beliefs, but were not involved in any violent activity or rhetoric. They were peaceful Christians who simply wanted to be left alone.

Specifically for his beliefs, Randy Weaver was targeted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in an entrapping “sting” operation designed to gain his cooperation as a snitch. When he refused to become a federal informant, he was charged with illegally selling firearms. Due to a miscommunication about his court date, the Marshal Service was brought in, who laid siege to his house and shot and killed his wife and 14-year-old son.

Randy Weaver was, in many ways, a typical American story. He grew up in an Iowa farming community. He got decent grades in high school and played football. His family attended church regularly. He dropped out of community college and joined the United States Army in 1970. After three years of service, he was honorably discharged.

One month later he married Victoria Jordison. He then enrolled in the University of Northern Iowa, studying criminal justice with an eye toward becoming an FBI Agent. However, he dropped out because the tuition was too expensive. He ended up working in a John Deere plant while his wife worked as a secretary before becoming a homemaker.

Both of the Weavers increasingly became apocalyptic in their view of the world. This, combined with an increasing emphasis on Old Testament-based Christianity, led them to seek a life away from mainstream America, a life of self-reliance. Vicki, in particular, had strong visions of her family surviving the apocalypse through life far away from what they viewed as a corrupt world. To that end, Randy purchased a 20-acre farm in Ruby Ridge, ID, and built a cabin there.

The land was purchased for $5,000 in cash and the trade of the truck they used to move there. Vicki homeschooled the children.

The Weavers Move to Ruby Ridge

After moving to Ruby Ridge, Weaver became acquainted with members of the Aryan Nations in nearby Hayden Lake. He even attended some rallies. The FBI believed his involvement in the church was much deeper than it actually was – they thought he was a regular congregant of the Aryan Nations and had attended the Aryan Nations World Congress.

Both Randy and Vicki were interviewed by the FBI in 1985, with Randy denying membership in the group, citing profound theological differences. Indeed, the Weavers (who had some points of agreement with the Aryan Nations, primarily about the importance of the Old Testament) mostly saw their affiliation with the Aryan Nations as a social outlet. Living off-grid, the nearby members of the Aryan Nations were neighbors in remote northern Idaho.

Later, in 1986, Randy was approached at a rally by undercover ATF informant Kenneth Faderley, who used a biker alter ego of Gus Magisono and was currently monitoring and investigating Weaver’s friend Frank Kumnick. Faderley introduced himself as an illegal firearms dealer from New Jersey. Randy later encountered Faderley at the World Congress of 1987. He skipped the next year’s Congress to run for county sheriff, an election that he lost.

The ATF claims that in 1989, Faderley purchased two illegally shortened shotguns from Randy Weaver. However, Weaver disputes this, saying that the shotguns he sold Faderley were entirely legal and were shortened after the fact. The notes from the case show that Faderley purchased the guns and showed Weaver where to shorten them, which would constitute illegal entrapment. What’s more, the government preyed on the destitute nature of the Weavers, who lived in a small cabin in the woods with no electricity or running water.

The real purpose of the investigation was not to grab Weaver, but to use him to infiltrate a group in Montana being organized by Charles Howarth. In November 1989, Weaver refused to introduce Faderley to Howarth, and Faderley was ordered by his handlers to have no further contact with Weaver.

Randy Weaver Refuses to Turn Snitch

In June 1990, Faderley’s cover was blown. It was then that the ATF reached out to Weaver, stating that they had evidence he was dealing illegal firearms. They told him they would drop all charges if he would agree to become their new informant regarding the investigation of the Aryan Nations groups in the area. Weaver refused.

To coerce him into changing his mind, the Feds staged a stunt where a broken down couple were at the side of the road. Weaver stopped to help them and was handcuffed, thrown face down in the snow and arrested. He had to post his home as bond. Still he refused to become a federal informant.

The irony of the federal government’s desire to obtain informants within the Aryan Nations is that different branches of federal law enforcement and intelligence gathering occupied five of the six key positions in the organization. This means that the Aryan Nations were effectively a government-run shop, with agents spying on each other to ensure the integrity of an investigation – into an organization almost entirely run by the federal government.

The government had an obsession with the Aryan Nations due to Robert Jay Matthews, who was a member of The Order, a terrorist organization including members of the Aryan Nations. The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team burned Matthews alive inside his own home.

Due to his ongoing refusal to snitch, Weaver was then arrested in January 1991, on illegal firearms sales charges. These charges stemmed from Weaver’s earlier “sale” of two shortened shotguns to Faderley, the undercover ATF agent – a sale which the feds later admitted constituted illegal entrapment.

Weaver’s court date was set for February 19, 1991, then changed to the next day. Weaver, however, received notice that his court date was not until March 20. He missed his February court appearance and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. The United States Marshals Service wanted to allow Weaver the chance to appear for what he thought was his court date, however, the United States Attorney’s Office sought a grand jury indictment on March 14th – six days before his notice said he was due in court.

Already skeptical of the Feds after their repeated strongarm tactics, both Randy and Vicki saw this as further evidence that Weaver would not receive a fair trial. They increasingly isolated themselves on their Ruby Ridge farm, vowing to fight rather than surrender peacefully.

During the standoff, a voluntary surrender date was negotiated with the Marshals Service for October 1991, but the United States Attorney’s Office refused the settlement. The Deputy Director of the Special Operations Group of the Marshals Service, using evidence obtained through surveillance, believed that the best course of action was to drop the indictment, issue a new one under seal, and use undercover agents to arrest Weaver, who presumably would have dropped his guard. This recommendation was again rejected.

Shooting the Weavers’ Dog: The Siege of Ruby Ridge Begins

On August 21, 1992, six heavily armed, camouflaged U.S. Marshals went to the Weaver property with the purpose of reconnaissance. The Weavers’ dogs gave away the position of the Marshals, alerting their 14-year-old son Sammy and a 24-year-old friend of the family named Kevin Harris, who investigated what the dogs were barking at while armed.

Unsurprisingly, there are several accounts of how the shooting began.

The Weavers claim that the camouflaged Marshals fired first and refused to identify themselves. The Marshals claim that when they rose to identify themselves, they were fired on by Sammy Weaver and Kevin Harris. In yet another version of events, Marshals shot the Weavers’ dog Striker as he exposed their position and were fired upon by Sammy in retaliation.

Once the shooting began, Randy Weaver’s son, Sammy, was shot in the back by federal agents immediately after yelling, “I’m coming, dad!” as he ran back to the house. That is to say, he was fleeing the scene, not regrouping for another attack.

After this initial exchange, the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team – sometimes disparagingly called the “Hostage Roasting Team,” due to their proclivity to burn down buildings – was called in to assess the situation.

Sniper and observer teams were deployed by the Hostage Rescue Team. A sniper aimed for an instant kill shot on Randy, but Randy moved at the last minute and the shot entered his shoulder, exiting through his armpit. He then fled back to the house from the shed where he had been viewing the body of his dead son.

A second shot missed Kevin Harris and hit Vicki in the head, who was holding their 10-month-old daughter at the time in her arms, a powerful image often invoked in the telling of the story. This same second shot hit Harris after exiting Vicki. An internal investigation found that the second shot was out of policy and that the failure to request surrender was “inexcusable.”

FBI Sniper Lon Horiuchi fired through a door without seeing who was on the other side of it – at people who were fleeing and posed no threat. He was later charged with manslaughter in these deaths, but the charges were dropped. Horiuchi was also involved in the Waco siege, and Timothy McVeigh printed up cards for gun shows encouraging people to target him. Indeed, McVeigh considered targeting Horiuchi and his family rather than the federal building. In 1995, he pleaded the Fifth when questioned about the matter by the United States Senate. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

The rules of engagement were changed on the fly to effectively encourage shooting anyone on sight. This included the remaining Weaver children, who were known to carry weapons 81 percent of the time. Once the siege began, none of the Weavers fired a shot.

The standoff lasted ten days, and involved between 350 and 400 agents who cruelly named their camp, “Camp Vicki.” They would routinely call out “Vicki, we have blueberry pancakes,” but claimed to not know that she was dead. Supporters of the Weavers and opponents of the ATF and FBI formed a vigil.

Weaver’s commanding officer from Vietnam, James “Bo” Gritz (who was currently running for President on the Populist Party ticket) acted as a mediator between the family and government agents. Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey intervened, offering to pay for a robust defense for Weaver if he surrendered. This was what led Weaver to abandon the standoff and surrender himself to federal authorities.

The Aftermath of the Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge

Weaver was charged with ten counts, including the original charges, of illegal firearms sales. His attorney, Gerry Spence, successfully defended Weaver against a host of charges, including murder, by using a self-defense argument. Weaver was ultimately only convicted of the charge of failure to appear, for which he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000. He was credited with time served plus three months. Kevin Harris was acquitted of all charges. These were the longest deliberations in Idaho criminal history.

Weaver sued the federal government, which avoided a civil trial by awarding damages of $1,000,000 each to the three surviving Weaver children and $100,000 to Randy. Harris eventually received a settlement of $380,000 after several years of appeals against a government who claimed they would never issue any payment to someone who had killed a federal marshal.

It is worth noting that the federal government took active steps to cover their tracks after the Siege of Ruby Ridge. The chief of the bureau’s Violent Crimes and Major Offenders Section pled guilty to attempting to destroy all copies of the FBI’s internal report on the siege. Federal Judge Edward Lodge penned a lengthy list of misdeeds, including fabrication of evidence and refusing to comply with court orders.

Deval Patrick, then-Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and later Governor of Massachusetts, later found that federal agents had not used excessive force.

One of the biggest changes after the Siege of Ruby Ridge was a change in the rules of engagement. In October 1995, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information ordered all federal agencies to standardize their rules of engagement, particularly as pertained to deadly force. Randy and his daughter Sara wrote a book about the events in 1998 entitled The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge. The family now live in Kalispell, Montana. Sara became a Born Again Christian in 2012, and forgave the federal agents.

There was, predictably, very little meaningful blowback on the United States Marshals Service or any other parts of the federal government. The Ruby Ridge Task Force delivered a highly redacted 542-page report. And the six marshals involved in the initial shootout were given the highest commendations awarded by the United States Marshal Service.

In 1997, the Justice Department declined to prosecute senior FBI officials for covering up the details of the case. Two FBI agents were prosecuted, one served 18 months in prison for destruction of evidence and the other had the charges dismissed. The second-in-command of the FBI was demoted and three other agents were suspended.

In 1996, Weaver offered his services to defuse tensions between the FBI and the Montana Freeman, however, this offer was declined. In 2000, Weaver visited the former site of the Branch Davidian Church that had been destroyed in another high-profile siege. He later offered support to Edward and Elaine Brown, who were resisting federal taxes at the time.

How It Could Have Gone: John Joe Gray

While it might be easy to take the cynical route and say that Ruby Ridge changed nothing (particularly in the wake of the Waco Siege, which took place a mere year after the Siege of Ruby Ridge), we have at least one example of the federal government admitting that it tread lightly to avoid another Ruby Ridge-like situation.

John Joe Gray is a sovereign citizen living on a 50-acre wooded ranch in Trinidad, Texas. During a traffic stop, he became involved in an altercation with Texas Trooper Jim Cleland. Cleland reached for a .357 in Gray’s car. His car was filled with anti-government literature, including pamphlets referencing bombing a bridge. After the altercation with the Trooper, he was charged with two felonies: taking a police officer’s weapon and assault on a public servant.

Gray promised to have no weapons while he was awaiting trial and posted bond. After the fact, a judge declared that his bond was insufficient. He then ordered Gray arrested. Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt stated that “This kook is not worth it. Ten of him is not worth going up there and getting one of my young deputies killed.”

So how long did local, state and federal authorities allow Gray to hole up on his ranch without any kind of armed confrontation? Just a few days shy of 15 years, in what was the longest law enforcement standoff in American history.

The charges were eventually dropped, under the premise that Gray had essentially served a 15-year house arrest term and that a militant confrontation in the style of Ruby Ridge didn’t benefit anyone.

While Randy Weaver’s stand might have made the Feds think twice about coming in guns blazing the next time they can’t strongarm someone – with an eccentric lifestyle and unusual beliefs – into turning informant, this is likely cold comfort for Weaver who lost his 14-year-old son and wife.

This is why those in the freedom, patriot, Constitutional, survival and Second Amendment movements remember this day. It is a chilling reminder of the predatory and aggressive nature of federal law enforcement.

How To Properly Clean A Gun.

From DiamondK Brass,

How to Properly Clean a Gun

Being a responsible gun owner means taking care of your guns. This isn’t just a matter of keeping your guns safe – it’s also a matter of keeping your guns clean. Dirty guns have reduced accuracy and are more prone to failure, and failure to keep a gun clean can reduce its useful lifespan significantly. If you want to make sure that you’re getting the best performance from your guns as long as possible, make sure to follow these basic cleaning steps.

Step One: Gather Your Materials

The first step in cleaning your weapon is gathering all of the right materials. You’ll need a cleaning rod, lubricant, patches, and a brush at the bare minimum to get the job done right. Don’t go cheap with any of these materials – you’ll want to ensure that you use high-quality lubricants and tools to avoid damaging your gun during the cleaning process.

Step Two: Ensure Your Safety

The next step is to make sure that your gun is safe to clean. Make sure that it is completely unloaded, that there are no rounds chambered, and that you still have the safety on when you’re cleaning. There’s no such thing as being too safe, after all. Even after you’ve unloaded your gun, follow the best safety practices by still treating the weapon as if it is loaded.

Step Three: Clean Individual Parts

You’ll want to break your gun down as much as possible before you start cleaning. Once you’ve got it disassembled, you can clean each part. It’s generally recommended that you grab some kind of gun brush (or even a toothbrush) to clean those parts that are too hard to reach. Never skip cleaning a part – guns are precision machines and every part plays a role in ensuring that your gun works up to its specifications.

Step Four: Wipe it Down

Take some time to wipe every metal part of your gun down with a well-oiled rag. This is a necessity if you want to protect the metal and prevent damage from occurring due to heat or moisture. You don’t have to spend much time on this step, of course, but you should make sure that you do it every time you clean your gun.

Step Five: Clean the Bore

Your final step should be to clean out the bore. There are a number of tools made specifically for this process, including brushes and patches. You’ll want to use each to make sure that the bore is clean and maintained. Make sure to rub down the bore with your cotton patches to finish the job. Be careful during this process, though, as even a small bit of damage to the bore can have a huge impact on your weapon’s accuracy.

Once you’re done cleaning, make sure that your weapon is put away safely. The amount of time you need to spend on cleaning your weapon is going to vary greatly depending on the weapon itself and how it is stored, so choosing a temperature-controlled, dry area will always be the best way to reduce your maintenance. Make sure you clean your guns after using them, and always take your maintenance seriously. If you follow the basic instructions, you’ll have a weapon that shoots more accurately and that lasts much longer.

Why Do People Like Guns? Because They Like Guns.

              Earlier this week one of my readers sent me a link to the video of a debate I had at Northern Michigan University with John Lott.  The event was held in a large auditorium on campus and the place was filled with students, faculty and nearby residents, many of whom were gun nuts.  How do I know they were gun nuts?  Because at the beginning of my remarks I asked all the gun nuts in the audience to identify themselves by holding up their hands, and then I asked some of them to prove their gun-nuttiness by telling me and the audience how many guns they actually owned.

              As I recall, the guys who were willing to ‘fess up about the size of their gun collections said they owned somewhere between 10 and 30 guns.  I laughed in response to every single answer and then told the audience that I currently owned around 60 guns, give or take a few, and that at the moment my private collection was kind of ‘light.’

              I speak to pro-gun groups all the time. I’m something of a contrarian and I enjoy telling people what they don’t expect to hear. And when someone tells a group of gun guys that he owns 60 guns but would like to see a more serious effort made to reduce the 125,000 gun injuries we suffer every year, I can say without fear of exaggeration that this is an argument that Gun-nut Nation doesn’t often hear. I make it clear that I don’t buy into the nonsense about how all those ‘good guys’ with guns can protect us from all those ‘bad guys’ with guns. I also say that just because someone sits in a room for a couple of hours and falls asleep while someone else reads through some boring text about gun ‘safety,’ that this experience doesn’t meet even a minimal qualification for using a gun.

              What I don’t do in my public appearances is talk about the research on gun violence which has been published on both sides, for the simple reason that I don’t believe that the average person makes up his mind or even thinks about making up his mind based on data or facts. At least not the average person who owns a gun.  Why do I say this? Because I happen to have sold guns to more than 10,000 residents of Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont over the past 17 years; I have also taught the required gun-safety course to more than 7,000 residents in Connecticut and Mass., and I earn my living now by doing lethal-force certifications for local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies. So I know a heckuva lot more about how gun owners think about guns than anyone else in either Gun-control Nation or Gun-nut Nation, that’s for sure. And here’s what I know.

              People who buy and own guns do it for one, simple reason. They want to buy and own a gun. They may tell you that they need a gun to defend themselves, or they need a gun because it’s their 2nd-Amendment ‘right,’ or maybe they need a gun because pretty soon they won’t be able to buy a gun. I had a female customer, an educated business executive, come into my gun shop two weeks before the 2016 Presidential election who told me she ‘knew’ that if Hillary was elected, that she wouldn’t be able to own a gun.  How did such a crazy idea get into her head?  By the same token, I love how some gun-control advocates tell me about the ‘debunked’ research published by John Lott. As if they’ve ever read his research. Yea, right.

              I’m going to continue talking to pro-gun audiences and gun owners as often as I can. I wish that some of my dear friends in Gun-control Nation would spend a little less time talking to each other and try talking to the other side. Who knows? They might actually learn why people like their guns.  

Is America’s Love Affair With Guns Coming To An End?

              I have been connected to the gun business one way or another for more than sixty years, and for the very first time I am seeing something about the business that I have never seen before. What I am talking about is the fact that the latest release of background-check data from the FBI, the numbers for February, confirm that so far the sales slump which followed the inauguration of Sleazebag Trump has continued well past the 2018 election which brought about an abrupt change in gun politics on Capitol Hill.

              The very first thing that the new Democratic majority did (or maybe it was the second thing) after the 116th Congress convened on January 3rd was to pass H.R. 8, calling for universal background checks on the transfer of all guns. This was followed at the end of February with another bill extending the time for the FBI to complete a background check from 3 up to 20 days, Now the fact that neither of those bills will probably get through the Senate, and even if they do, will probably languish unsigned on Sleazy Don’s desk doesn’t alter a new political dynamic that has clearly emerged, namely, that gun control as a viable point of political discussion has once again reared its ugly  head.

              Now you would think that these developments would do for the gun industry what such developments have always done in  the past, which is to say, provoke a mad rush into gun stores to clean off the shelves before the dreaded government comes along and gets rid of all the guns. And despite what the ‘experts’ told a Congressional hearing last week (they weren’t under oath so they couldn’t be accused of lying to Congress), if you implement universal background checks for all gun transfers, sooner or later you wind up with total gun registration. And we all know what happens when the government can identify everyone who owns a gun, right?

              So how come gun sales continue to slide into the toilet, no matter how busy the gun-grabbers seem to be?  At the end of August last year, Smith & Wesson stock was selling for less than $10 a share. It closed at $13.60 the day of the election, it’s now drifting back down to under ten bucks. Before all the votes came in, the market was anticipating the possibility that the political return of the tree-huggers would produce a new surge in buying guns. The market has turned out to be wrong.

              We need to wait another couple of months before proclaiming the great de-coupling of fear and demand as the driver for the purchase and ownership of guns. But if things keep going the way they are currently going, from the perspective of America’s love affair with firearms, a new age may have definitely dawned.  There’s a website out there which sells ammunition delivered direct to your door. Right now they are advertising 500 rounds of the best, 22LR ammo on the market for $16.99.  I remember when you couldn’t find any 22LR ammunition because of the hoarding and over-consumption which occurred during the heady Obama days. The ammo is now so cheap that they can’t even give it away. And nothing is a more accurate barometer of the state of the gun market than the cost of 22LR.

              The one thing we continue to get from various public-opinion surveys is that the percentage of Americans who own guns hasn’t really increased; it’s more likely that the average gun owner now owns more guns. But at some point, even most of the die-hard gun nuts just can’t find the space, or the money, or simply the interest to go out and buy another gun. Remember when every kitchen had something called a Mixmaster? Maybe some day my grandchildren will visit the Smithsonian and walk past an exhibition of ‘vintage’ guns. I can just hear one of them saying, “Didn’t Grandpa used to own those things?”