From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Firearms safety this hunting season

Archery Season has been open for over a month now and I am not participating this year. Chalk it up to being lazy or just not interested this season but I have not practiced at all this year.

That being said Waterfowl season is open and the firearms deer seasons are just around the corner. Yes, these are activities that I am already or will participate in.

Firearms Safety Primer

With that in mind it never hurts us to review or be reminded of our obligations as safe ethical hunters. One of the things that I have always imparted to my children is;

"Yea, when you get tired of the old man repeatedly telling you how to do this or do that you cop the "I know Dad I know attitude". I understand. When it comes to firearm safety however please don't ever get tired of hearing about it or cop an attitude. There is not one of us that could not benefit from an occasional reminder concerning safe firearms handling. When someone reminds you about something concerning firearms safety take it to heart and tell them thank you no matter how many times you have heard it."

If nothing else this has been one axiom that they have indulged the old Gunscribe in. In fact over the years they have prodded me with a reminder or two as well and yes I said thank you.

This may sound like "Old Hat" to many of us that handle firearms almost every day. Not all of us are that into firearms that we buy, sell, trade or compete with any regularity though. A large portion of us that own firearms keep them tucked away and only bring them out for the season.

I know any number of people that after cleaning their hunting guns they put them away for the year and don't take them out until it is time to "bust a few rounds of blue rock" or sight the "ole deer rifle" in a few days before the season opens.

Not that these people are any less safe, they just aren't in "the habit of safe firearms handling" that the rest of us believe ourselves to be.

Firearms accidents or incidents

We hear or read about firearm safety incidents or accidents but how many of us realize exactly what that means, besides the fact that someone or something got shot that wasn't suppose to?

Consider the people you hunt with; Dad, Mom, Grampa, Uncle Charlie, Aunt Betsy, Cousin Joe, your best friends. When we talk about that accident or incident those are the folks we are talking about getting hurt.

It is the people we love either as family or as friends. A firearms accident or incident is a truly a life shattering event for all of those involved. That is why we need to judiciously adhere to a few simple saftey rules.

Any of you prepared to explain to Mom why Dad won't be coming home ...ever again?

It ain't hard folks and it ain't rocket science. That new power drill, circular saw or belt sander came with a set of common sense operating instructions for the sake of safety. Firearms are no different than any other tool, they have their common sense rules too.

Muzzle Control

Always keep the muzzle of any firearm pointed in a safe direction. Then if there is a discharge no one or thing of value will be harmed.

What is a safe direction?

That will depend and where you are in relation to everything around you. It could be up, down, left, right, toward your front or behind you. That is why Hunter Education programs teach a variety of methods for carrying a firearm. It is essential that safe hunters are aware of them and know which ones to use at varying times in the field.

The bottom line is never point a firearm at anything that you do not wish to see damaged or destroyed.

The target and what is beyond

When taking a shot on game be acutely aware of your target and what is beyond it. Are you using a 30-06 that has a range of nearly 5 miles or a bird shot loaded shotgun that has a range of 100 yards or so? If you miss or the projectile passes completely through the intended target where will it end up?

Keeping ones finger off of the trigger

This may be second nature to a lot of us, but I see countless people every year that pick up a firearm and their finger automatically goes in the trigger guard.

This is a very bad habit that those so afflicted need to cure themselves of. The sooner the better.

Placing your finger on or near the trigger of a firearm that you have not personally checked the unloaded/loaded condition of or are not prepared to fire is a very dangerous practice. The rule of thumb here is not to put a finger on the trigger until you are prepared to take a shot with that firearm.

Know how it operates

All businesses that I know of have special training requirements for the equipment they use to manufacture their products. Most sporting equipment comes with a common sense set of rules or cautions for using that item. Safe handling of firearms is no different.

Understand this;

When you pick up a firearm you pick up all of the responsibility that goes along with it.

There are many different types of operating systems for firearms, break action, bolt pump, .. the list goes on. Do not accept a firearm from someone or pick one up if you are not familiar with its operation. Have someone with knowledge of that firearm show you how it works before you accept the responsibility of possessing it, even if that possession is only to examine it.

The old "I didn't know it was loaded" won't cut it.

Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, even if it isn't. In other words just because you THINK it is unloaded it is not okay to be pointing it at other people or things you do not want to see destroyed.

There are of course a few other rules I could mention, but being familiar with the firearm, maintaining muzzle control and being sure of your target and what is beyond it top the list.

Let each one of us take the time necessary to ensure we are familiar with the firearms we will be hunting with, watch where we are pointing the muzzle AT ALL TIMES and pass up any shots in which we are not sure where the projectile or shot will end up.

Here's wishing a safe, enjoyable and productive season for anyone that goes afield to hunt this year.

Friday, October 20, 2006

GRPC Discussion on Politics and the Two Party System

When I got back from the Gun Rights Policy Conference I noted that I would post on some of the topics discussed.

Two Party System

Whether the United States Government was ever designed to be to be a two or multiple party system is no longer the point. The two party system is so deeply entrenched in our Representative Republic form of Government that most people think it is unlikely that a third party will ever make a make an integrated difference.

The question posed to one of the panel of speakers;

Why hasn't the Libertarian Party made a better showing than candidates elected to a few local and state offices and what can be done to change that?

The answer;

Rightly or wrongly the United States Government is a very entrenched two party system and it is becoming obvious that will not change anytime soon.

The discussion continued with the following suggestion from one of the panels speakers;

Use the current system to get Libertarian candidates elected from within.

If Libertarians registered with the party that most closely represents their platform they will have the resources and clout to elect like minded candidates.

Think about that for a minute.

Does it really matter if there is an R, D or L after the name of the person as long as that representative votes the way you want them to?

There are enough people that consider themselves Libertarian that if they re registered into one of prevailing two parties they would be a force to be reckoned with. Working from the inside Libertarians would have the party resources to get candidates of their choice elected.

Just some thoughts for consideration that were expressed at the 2006 GRPC.

Now for my take;

As probably most have surmised I am a registered Republican. I can identify with a number of issues on the Libertarian Platform, but I regularly refer to myself as a Constitutionalist. The fore going advice makes a measure of sense to me. Consider that the Liberal faction of the Democratic Party is elated to have the Libertarian Party around. It truly can be argued that every vote for a Libertarian candidate is a vote not cast for a Republican. Every vote not cast for a Republican increases the chances of a Liberal taking an office.

Yup I hold my nose and pull the lever for the lessor of two evils when necessary.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Feedback for On-line Auctions

Yes I sometimes shop the on-line auctions. Not Often, but when I do I am serious about what I am looking for and usually find it.

Something has changed since I first signed up for some of them (E-bay in particular) years ago.

Just take a look at the conditions set by a large number of sellers on their auction pages;

"Postive feedback will be left after buyer leaves positive feedback."

Or words to that exact effect.

So what the hell is that about ?????

eBay sellers get the crap out of your ears and listen up

If I "win" your auction you are obligated, let me type that again OBLIGATED to leave feedback as soon as my payment is received in your greedy little mitts. If it's late say so, If it is on time say so. Tell the truth. That is all that is required.

Sellers pay attention here;

I did my part. I paid for your product and your outrageous shipping and handling charges within the proscribe time. That is all I am required to do for positive feedback. I earned it. Leave it!!!

This is not how it has evolved. It seems there are a lot of sellers on the auctions that are so swelled up with their own pathetic egos that they hold positive feedback due me hostage until I figuratively bend over and lick their boots lauding lavish praise for their ability to eventually get my "win" to my mailbox.

This peeve has been ticking me off for quite a while and I am not the only one that has these same thoughts either.

Alphecca addressed this same thing awhile back. I won't link to the exact post as the feedback tirade was only a small part of a large article on multiple topics. I will excerpt some of what Jeff had to say though.

...... And here's the thing; they will not leave positive feedback until I do, until I receive the books and leave gushing feedback to them.

I've already done exactly what any buyer has to do. I bid and won on the books and within seconds of winning, I paid for the books.........

.......The customer is always wrong until he/she first proves worthy of the seller's praise! What the hell is that all about? .........

Exactly my point what the hell is that all about?

I have decided that in the future should I do any on-line auction shopping (as a buyer) I will not leave feedback for any seller that has not first left feedback for me. That is the way the system was set up to work.

And for those sellers that have the audacity to include in your conditions of sale "Seller will post feedback after buyer leaves positive feedback", unless yours is the only one of a kind and no one else is selling it and I just have to have it, know that I will not abide by that particular term of sale.

In other words hell will freeze over before I leave a seller feedback that hasn't first left it for me first.

Hypocritical ????? ...... well you can think that, but I am not the one holding someone else's reputation hostage. If my payment is late or I haven't met the terms as a buyer the seller should say it and say it first. To hold feedback from me after I have positively fulfilled my obligation to the seller, until I buy you a happy meal, a dozen roses and kiss your ass on main street at high noon is blatantly dishonest, disgusting and repugnant.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Mrs. Gun, Happy Birthday to you!

I love you and wish for you a very happy Birthday.

And what you ask did I get my loving wife for her Birthday. It took me some time to come up with it, but having remembered that she had always wanted one as a child and had never gotten one. (In families of 5 children that happens sometimes) I scoured E-bay until I found just the right one.

Some of you will recognize it immediately, while others won' t even know what it is. For those of you that know yes the voice box still works.

Mrs. Gun enjoys collecting things like this so I am sure she will be extremely happy with it.

Okay for those of you that don't know it is Mrs. Beasley from the late 1960's television show "Family Affair" Starring Brian Keith as "Uncle Bill". Mrs. Beasley was the constant companion of his niece "Buffy".

"Family Affair" was not a show I saw much of but I do remember it and the Mrs. Beasley doll. My memories of the show lean more toward "Buffy's" older sister "Sissy".

Friday, October 13, 2006

Target Stands and a Shooting Bench

It has been awhile since I have posted on any really personally gun related topics, so here you go.

While I have access to any number of ranges that require membership, when I want to spend some serious time soaking up some recoil I like to get off away from everyone else. In order to do that one has to have their own portable target stands and a sturdy shooting bench.


I came up with this idea for a target stand a couple of years ago when I had a conference table that was no longer serviceable. I don't know whether this has been done before or not, but it works for us.

I made two of these target stand solely from stuff I had laying around. The frames are made from a piece of scrap plywood, 2x2's and is about 5 feet tall. As can be seen the base is one of the leg assemblies from a folding conference table. This really works well as the base can be folded back against the frame and stacked for easy transport.

Here is what it looks like 50 yards away -->

The frame cover that the targets are affixed to is a coregated plastic sign that you see mounted in most of your local Quick Stop Stores. (You know those two foot by four foot tobacco signs). they usually have the ad on one side and the other is plain white. When these plastic pieces get shot up they are easily replaced if you have a source for them.

A not as sturdy alternative is to simply use cut open brown paper bags over the frame.


We have our own custom deluxe shooting bench as well. Made from 1/2 inch hinged plywood it can be unfolded and stabilized in just a couple of minutes. Take down is just as easy. This bench is so portable that it will fit in the trunk of a car with plenty of room to spare.

It is a very stable setup with the top being cut for either right or left handed shooters. We generally use some sort of folding chair with it.

I am working on plans for a different style shooting bench and will do a post on it when I get it built and tested.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

New to the Blogroll

Politics Galore!

I haven't had much to say about the political races shaping up in Nebraska this year.

But Street Sweeper has, and pretty darn good too. I have been reading his site for some time and have been negligent in adding it to my Blogroll. An over cite that has now been rectified.

Check out his Leavenworth Street Blog

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Capital City Comic Book Writers go the distance.

  • Who; Any aspiring Comic Book writer in the Capital City area.
  • What; Create a complete 24 page Comic Book in one marathon 24 hour session.
  • When; Saturday October 7th 8:00am through Sunday October 8th 8:00am
  • Where; Hi-Way Diner, Lincoln Nebraska
  • Why; For the fame fortune and bragging rights of having your work selected for publication.
  • How; With lots of stamina, caffeine and adrenalin.

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Cartoonist Neal Obermeyer is hosting some of Lincolns really great artists for this 24 hour International event.

Yes International

The 24 hour marathon is being played out at 90 locations in 17 countries. Cartoonists in 23 states are participating.

I met with Neal at the event only to find that he was just a bit off the pace. With 12 hours of the 24 Hour Comics Day race gone he only had 10 pages complete.

Note: This is the same Neal that I engaged in a very informative Concealed Carry discussion back in August. That post can be read HERE and HERE on Neal's Blog.

Not a good thing when you figure these artists need to average one page per hour to offer up a completed book at the finish line.

It was a really fun thing to sit with these guys and gals for awhile and watch them create. Even some of the decorations on the walls were not safe from comic inclusion in at least one story line.

Way to go Neal

I hope all of the cartoonists there complete a 24 page comic book in the 24 hour time period. I'll be waiting to for you to call me with the results or include them in comments on this post.

By the time most of you read this 24 Hour Comic Day will be history ..... yaaaaawwwnn ...... (as I lean back and stretch) .... oh by the way ya'll still got about 6 and a half hours left.

As for me ......... YAAAWWNNN ....... I am getting a bit sleepy so I'm off to the arms of Morpheus.

Good Luck Capital City Cartoonists

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Where does your Candidates stand??

With the election rapidly approaching now is the time to find out where the candidates in your district stand on firearms related issues.

The Web site Nebraska Citizen has been running an on going poll on a variety of issues including abortion, taxes and firearms.

Sadly many candidates have not responded. This may be that they are simply not aware of the poll or have deliberately chosen to ignore it.

Even sadder still are the candidates that did respond with "No Opinion" on most if not every single question.

It tells me, rightly or wrongly that they have a hidden agenda. Any candidate that will not stand up and articulate their position on an issue is a spineless coward not worthy of the publics trust for an elected office.

The candidates responses to the survey can be found HERE.(Click on PROFILE next to their names to view their responses if any)

If candidates in your district have not responded to the survey or have spinelessly expressed "No Opinion" call them and tell them they need to do better than that if they want your vote.

There will be a lot of important issues before the Unicameral in the coming years, we need to know how the Candidates stand on these issues NOW before we send them to Lincoln.

Lastly if you are not registered to vote, do it now, today while there is still time left.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I like getting books in the mail

In a previous post I mentioned that we had attended the Gun Rights Policy Conference last week and what a pleasure it was for the wife and I to see old friends.

Among those I mentioned David Kopel who is Research Director of the Independence Institute in Golden Colorado. It is always great to sit and talk with David. I never fail to learn something new and important. If his presentation on Sunday morning is any indication he occasionally takes to heart a thing or two I have to say as well.

I have no idea if he had prepared his Sunday comments well in advance of the conference or not, but as he spoke the wife and realized that much of what he was saying were points that I had imparted to him in our conversations the night before.

Either way it was an honor to have them repeated by such a note worthy scholar as David Kopel.

Thank you David.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I checked the mail today and found a package of books from David. Topically these books are on subject for the conversations we engaged in over the weekend and specifically deal with the History of Firearms Rights in state Constitutions, State Court cases, decisions and case law.

Included are publications from the Notre Dame Law Review, Northern Kentucky Law review, Albany Law Review and Volume 13 of the Journal on Firearms and Public Policy.

Thank you David for unexpected, informative and welcome gift to my Firearms Rights Library. Just glancing through them there is much information that will be useful in working to bring Nebraskas new CCW law current with the other states. Some who have spent the last two decades revising their initial CCW laws.

$230,000 plus surgical procedure

Having cut Lincolns nose off to spite our face the City council now has to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars to have it re-attached.

At the time and on several occasions since it was plain that the city was in violation of the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For anyone that even remotely followed the events as they unfolded this was obvious.

It was a forgone conclusion that Lincoln would lose this if it ever went to court. This seems to be why an out of court settlement has been agreed to at this time. Why it took so long or why the whole process was necessarily is beyond comprehension.

$230,000 is just what Lincoln has to pay DNS Inc, that amount does not include the thousands of dollars paid as salaries to the City Attorneys Office, who could have been working on other projects, to fight a battle that they knew was lost before it began. It does not address the thousands of dollars in court employee salaries that was spent on this debacle.

All along it has been made perfectly clear what is required of Lincoln under these acts. Now the city has to cut a check for nearly a quarter of a million dollars out of the already depleted coffers.

This has been a loser for the city from day one.

This isn't the first time city leaders have wasted tax payer dollars in similar fashion and it won't be the last.

Consider the City Councils recent decision in regards to two firearms related ordinances that were enacted.

The Constitution of the State of Nebraska clearly states that;

neither the State nor any Political Subdivision infringe or deny the Right to Keep and Bear arms.

Note: No one in their right mind wants criminals of certain felonious classes to have access to firearms, but in this case one of the ordinances in question does in fact deny the Right to citizens who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. This is not a criminal issue. This is a Constitutional issue in which the City has over stepped its bounds.

The other Ordinance barring firearms from City/County buildings clearly contravenes the intent of Nebraska's newly enacted Concealed Carry Law that states;

A permit holder may carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the state except.......

The State law is implicit on where carry is legal, it is not in the purview of local government to make illegal what the state legislature has made legal.

These Ordinances clearly contravene the State Constitution and Statutes. They are a clear invitation to a lawsuit that is right now being considered by several of the National Firearms Rights Organizations.

How much will this ultimately cost Lincoln tax payers?

Several of Lincolns City Council members are aware that these Ordinances are illegal and invite a Federal lawsuit as is in this case with Developmental Services of Nebraska Inc. That they chose to enact them anyway will likely cost the City who knows how many dollars down the road.

Lincolnites would do well to remember which of our elected representatives have a track record for ignoring The United States Constitution, the Federal Code, the Nebraska State Constitution, the Nebraska State Statutes, and in some cases even Lincoln City Ordinances when they mark their ballots in the upcoming elections.