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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Product Review; Hoppe's Bore Snake

Subtitle; Damn I'm getting lazy

For the last year or so I have been using Hoppe's Bore Snake for some of my various center fire calibers and shotgun gauges.

The Bore Snake is a cleaning device that consists of a weighted on one end rope with a bore brush embedded in cleaning floss. To use it one simply applies their preferred bore scrubber to the floss just ahead of the bristle area, drop the brass weight down the barrel (from the chamber end if possible) and pull it through from the over end. A few passes with a Bore Snake and most barrels are as clean as they are going to get.

The neat thing is that the Bore Snake is Machine washable. As the directions say "Band securely or use a wash bag for machine cleaning. Air Dry."

Versus standard cleaning kits

In the past gun cleaning long barreled firearms necessitated the assembly of a 3 or more piece cleaning rod, sorting out the proper jag for the caliber or gauge (brass brush, patch jag etc.) One would install the patch jag make a few passes to dampen the bore, switch to the brass brush to scrub the barrel and then back to the patch jag to remove loosened residue and dry the bore.

In side by side comparisons I have found that 2 or 3 passes that can be accomplished in a minute or so does as good a job of cleaning the bore of a firearm as 10-15 minutes of fumbling around with a standard cleaning kit.

Bear in mind that the bore snake only cleans the bore, all of the other tools firearms people keep on hand for cleaning the rest of the arm are still necessary. (tooth brushes, dental picks etc..)

When I am in the field I have taken to keeping one handy for whatever caliber or gauge I happen to be carrying. The one glaring drawback that I see to the Bore Snake being beneficial in the field is something that has yet to happen to me (Knock on wood).

Plugged Barrel

Should a firearm be dropped on the muzzle or some other way gets the bore plugged the Bore Snake won't be much use. As mentioned earlier it is a rope. It likely can't be used to clear the obstruction. Once the obstruction is cleared or cleared enough for the brass fob to pass I'm sure it will do a bang up job with the rest of the problem.

How much are they?

Depending on the vendor prices vary. For just the Bore Snake itself I have seen them for as little at 12 bucks at Wal-Mart to nearly 20 dollars on a Gun Show Table. Hoppe's also offers the Bore Snake as a kit that also includes bore cleaner and a handy ballistic nylon carrying case for some dollars more. Personally I think the time saved is worth the price.

They love this in the Sandbox

As I was writing this piece I learned that some of our fighting men and women in the Middle East are using this product and many more of them would like to have one. Knowing that the son-in-law of a friend is headed to Baghdad for a fifteen month tour in a few days, I stopped by Wal-Mart and bought one for him to take with him. His wife recently delivered their second child and Richard has already had one tour in Afghanistan.

I found the last one they had in .22 caliber behind about a half dozen Bore Snakes for 12 gauge shotguns.(Sometimes it pays to do a little looking) If I couldn't find one I was prepared to give him my own slightly used one in the same caliber just to be sure that he had one. He told me that a lot of the time they were having to clean their weapons 2-3 times a day to insure that they would function. Having spent some time in the desert a long, long time ago myself I can readily attest to that.

If you know or are related to someone heading out to the Middle East for the first time or going back for another tour do them a big favor and get them a Bore Snake sized for .22 caliber to take with them. If you know someone that is already over there send them one.

Project Bore Snake

In doing some on-line research for this missive I also encountered a website called "Project Bore Snake". Located in Fresno California it is the mission of the people that run "Project Bore Snake" to equip as many of our fighting men/women as they can with these cleaning tools. If you don't know anyone going or already there you might consider making a donation to "Project Bore Snakes".

Monday, October 29, 2007

Financial Liability for No Guns Allowed signs? GRPC Notes #3


Chunk Klein, along with a few others successfully challenged the status quo on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Ohio several years ago. This challenge led to the passage of a concealed carry law in Ohio. Until that time there were no provisions for concealed carry in the Buckeye State and those that openly carried a sidearm were often charged with something akin to "disturbing the peace" or "inciting a panic". There was nearly no way a citizen in Ohio could legally exercise the Right to Keep and Bear Arms without running afoul of the law.

Ultimately the state Supreme Court ruled that those in power could not have it both ways;

No statutory allowance for concealed carry and punishment for open carry.

It had to be one or the other

Since there were no provisions in statute that recognized concealed carry without penalty, the only way for citizens to "legally" exercise their Right to bear arms was to openly carry them on their person and NOT be subject to arrest, punishment intimidation and harassment.

This decision amounted to a cease and desist order on Ohio law enforcement charging those who openly carried a sidearm for personal protection with a crime.

From that decision large numbers of Ohioans held "Open Carry Walks".

Right to Keep and Bear Arms supporters across the state held very peaceful walks, in major population centers, while openly carrying sidearms. These walks were informative and brought national attention to the issue. They were also heavily monitored by the many law enforcement agencies.

They Still didn't get it

While there were no overt acts by Peace Officers to prevent or intimidate the exercise of a pre-existing Right recognized in both the Ohio State and Federal Constitution there were several reports that citizens leaving the walks were singled out and covertly set upon by Peace Officers engaging in tactics of intimidation.

I do not believe that there were any arrests, but several citizens reported that after leaving the march they were singly accosted, detained and investigated for exercising a Right that the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio had recently affirmed.

Even someone that barely eked out a passing grade in a High School Government class should realize the implications of that action and be appalled by it.

What part of;

The Supreme Court of the State of Ohio mandated that the open carry of a firearm in the state of Ohio is a legal activity affirmed by the Ohio State Constitution.

did they not understand?

What those few officers did is the same as stopping a person for, "driving the speed limit", "properly using turn signal devices" or "making a complete stop at a stop sign/light".

As noted above the Supreme Court decision and the open Carry walks ultimately led to the passage of Concealed Carry in Ohio. A provision in the law, and in many other states as well, allows those responsible for private property to post signs that deny employees and consumers the ability to legally carry a firearm on their premises.

Although the Politically Correct term for these areas is "Gun-Free Zones", legally armed law-abiding citizens refer to them as "Victim-Disarmament Zones". The rightful conclusion is that since armed criminals by virtue of their job description do not obey the law the only people who comply are "defenseless law-abiding victims".

A Book on the Subject

Since that time Chuck Klein has written a book entitled "Guns in the Workplace", A Manual for Private Sector Employers and Employees.

It is not an understatement that this book should be read by everyone one that owns their own business. Additionally business owners should make it required ready for their entire Human Relations Departments if their business is large enough to require one.

As I have oft stated in the past, should I encounter a "No Firearms allowed sign" in my travels I, as a law abiding citizen, will respect the wishes of that management and not patronize their establishment.

It is not a protest or boycott on my part;

It is simply an expression of respect for the Rights of that property owner/manager and my own ethical standards on obeying the law.

Klein's book, edited by William M. Gustavson Esq., is an excellent "how to" manual for those that are struggling with the idea of employees and consumers legally carrying firearms on their property. The book carefully examines both sides of the decision to allow it or not.

The most interesting aspect that I gleaned from the book concerns the financial liability that a business may incur if they decide to prohibit the legal carry of firearms on their property.

Klein indicates that should harm occur that could have been prevented had that person been in possession of their legally carried firearm, the business could be financially liable in a civil action brought by that person or person/s survivors for failure to provide or allow for adequate protection.

In essence by denying a person, that is legally able to carry a firearm, from possession of a firearm on that property that business is acknowledging that they have assumed responsibility for the safety and protection of, not just the firearm owner but, all persons that either work or patronize the premises.

Klein writes that in some states statutes have been written "exempting" businesses from such liability when they declare their property a "Gun-FreeZone". He points out however that courts generally do not favorably view a for profit business being free from liability for intentionally restricting the ability of law abiding citizens to provide for their own safety and protection.

Klein goes on to reference the Federal Liability Statute (USC Title 42 , Chapter 21, Sub chapter 1) that;

...... causes to be subjected, any citizen or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proceedings for redress ...

In other words the federal law will trump the state law and businesses that post their properties relying solely on the state statute to protect them could still be liable for financial losses.

Intentional Acts are not covered by most Policies

This has led many to believe that we are covered by the "well that is what I have insurance for" axiom.

Again Klein cautions those responsible for making the "Gun-free Zone" decision to consider;

Most insurance policies have an exclusionary for "intentional acts" committed by those covered by the policy.

Preventing the exercise of a Right by a property owner/manager is an INTENTIONAL ACT.

If faced with a large monetary suit it would be reasonable to expect that any insurance company would divest themselves of any financial obligation by asserting that the covered party "intentionally" violated the terms of the policy. In this event, not only would the owner/manager be financing two law suits (one against themselves for deprivation of a right and the one they would need to bring against their insurance carrier for non-coverage/payment) any and all monetary cost/award would fall squarely on the assets of the policy holder.

Should the business, that the insurance company successfully bails on, be a corporation, limited liability or otherwise the business might be financially challenged or even ruined, but personal possessions of the owners might remain un-effected.

Conversely if the entity in question is a "Sole Proprietorship" or other "unprotected entity" any of the personal property assets of the owner, such as vehicles, jewelry, homes and other personal property would be subject to forfeiture and/or liens.

As evidenced by Chucks book there is important serious consideration that must be done by any property owner/manager when making the decision to post a property as a "Gun-Free Zone" or not.

As far as this issue is concerned I, and every law abiding firearms owner that I know, respect the decision whether it is to allow or deny. That is their Right.

I would suggest that anyone faced with the enormous responsibility of deciding this issue to not take it lightly, read Mr. Klein's book, consult jointly with legal counsel and insurance provider/s for advice and make the most responsible decision possible based on that information.

If that decision is to post "No Guns Allowed" signs and it is grounded in the best legal advice and a WRITTEN GUARANTEE OF COVERAGE conformation letter from an insurance provider then I will respect that.

Should the decision be to not post any signs at all or even post "Citizens legally carrying firearms welcome" signs (as some businesses do), I will respect that as well and show my appreciation for the recognition of a Right by patronizing the establishment.

As a final note I followed the progress of Klein's lawsuit and the resulting open carry walks when all of that took place. It was not until this years Gun Rights Policy Conference when Chuck was one of the featured speakers that I finally got to meet him.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What's a dazzling Urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this Kenn?

Subtitle; GRPC Notes #2

Look over there, eating at the table near the back corner it's a Black man and he has a gun.

No need to worry folks it's only Kenn Blanchard, Firearms Instructor, Gun Rights advocate, Motivational Speaker, Preacher and author of Black man with a Gun.

I had been corresponding with Kenn for several years before I met him in person. If memory serves it started when Kenn reached out to me regarding an idea he had for a firearms education training program.

My wife and I were fortunate to finally meet Kenn several years ago at one of the Gun Rights Policy Conferences.

On the Cutting edge with Kenn

At this years GRPC Kenn was a featured speaker, on the Exploiting New Communications Technologies Panel. Waxing eloquent on Podcasting, Kenn re-iterated the need, using modern technology, to reach out to those that avail themselves of devices like Blackberrys and i-pods. Many of todays younger generation do not read news papers or magazines only getting their information via the electronic media. Since my DNA is only about 36% geek I was understand with the concept, but had not realized its potential.

I guess it goes without saying that he has been producing his own Podcast for nearly a year now. Over the last few days my internet research has been greatly enhanced while listening to past episodes of the Urban-Shooter Podcast. In fact I'm still listening as I write this missive.

Conversations with Kenn

During conference breaks Kenn and I tried to catch up on old news and get current with new. I am sure our conversations sounded like short media sound bites to anyone eaves dropping but we understood what we were saying and covered a lot of gun rights ground.

Some of topics of discussion included Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers and the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson. It seems that we, as are a lot of people are perplexed about their position on gun control.

Concerning the Reverends Al & Jesse, Kenn espouses the same views that I also hold with Senator Chambers. The gist of which is why we haven't been hearing these leaders condemn the actions of minority criminals or stand up for personal accountability in the minority community. Rather they never waste a media opportunity to call for more government control and the disarming of the very law abiding citizens they claim to represent.

Racist roots in Gun Control

In fact most if not all of this nations gun control laws are rooted in racism. I am not unfamiliar with the subject having written The original Gun Control laws were racially motivated and still are in 2004. There are a lot of hard working Americans in Senator Chambers district and if the statistics are accurate, they more than anyone would benefit the advantages of concealed carry laws. Unfortunately Senator Chambers opposes the citizens of Nebraska being able to protect themselves when they are away from their homes.

Kenn tells it like it is and anyone that has an interest in Gun Rights would do well to check him out. Do your self a favor and listen to some of his podcasts while your at it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

GRPC Notes #1

The 22nd Gun Rights Policy Conference was held this past weekend at the Draw Bridge Inn in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky which is just over the Ohio state line near Cincinnati. In following posts I hope to write more commentary on topics addressed by the various speakers.

Gun Control laws Kill people

On Saturday morning Larry Pratt (Gun Owners of America) opined gun control laws contributed to the Virginia Tech tragedy. That observation is confirmed by a number of faculty and students from Virginia Tech. I will respectfully disagree with Larry on one salient point;

It is not the laws themselves that contributed to the event they are only words on a page. Rather it is the people responsible for the creation and enactment into law of those written words that contributed to the massacre.

Of course the Mainstream Media never reported that.

Faculty and Students (over age 21) with legally issued Virginia Concealed Carry Permits affirmed that had they (in different places, at different times obviously) been able to legally posses their firearms on campus any number of lives would have been saved.

You can Monday morning armchair, wail and gnash your teeth all you want to, but these folks lived through it, they were there they ought to know.

Back in April I penned a missive on this blog entitled Reflections on a Tragedy. In it I discussed being aware of what is going on around you and some things to do if you find yourself in a similar situation. In the comments section I was taken to task for a few of the remarks I proffered.

How would people be conditioned to respond to a massacre? should they be given 2 weeks of basic training before, say, high school?

The answer is no and I think I elaborated on that point fairly well throughout the rest of that post. The essence of which is to be cognizant of what is happening around you. Get your eyes off the ground, unscrew that cell phone from your ear and PAY ATTENTION. Paying attention (Situational Awareness) allows you in most cases to spot trouble from a distance and avoid it. No one needs special training.

Quit acting like a victim.

Bad people in honing their craft recognize by repetition certain traits that clue them into who is an easy target and who is not. They didn't have a boot camp to teach them that, it is a skill they develop naturally. (unless they get caught and get a full scholarship to Criminal U.)

Likewise people that refuse to be victims just as naturally develop their own set of skills.

It is called Situational Awareness.

You also said:

"c) They were raised to believe that it is the Governments job to protect them."

Is this not what we pay taxes for?

In answer to the first question it is an absolute and unequivocal No.

I thought the reason we paid for police and military was so that they could "protect the homeland".

The Military may protect the Homeland from foreign aggression but under most circumstances they are prohibited from enforcing civilian law.

As for the Police I have addressed this in the past as well;

Peace Officers are under no legally required duty or obligation to protect citizens as individuals. Law Enforcement organizations by definition exist only to protect the public as a whole. (crowd control, accidents, public disturbances, reckless endangerment).

Bowers v. Devito

(There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let the people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order.); (No duty to protect) = Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss;Cf.

Warren v DC

In a carefully reasoned Memorandum Opinion, Judge Hannon based his decision in No. 79-6 on "the fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." See p. 4, infra. The duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists.

And that isn't the only one folks there is nearly a dozen more.

Note: Again as I have said before, Police Officers are some of the most dedicated, under paid and over worked people I know, and there is not one I know that would hesitate to put their life on the line for a fellow citizen.

There are some caveats that go along with that though;

They have to know you need them - if you cannot complete a 911 call how the hell are they going to know you need help or where you are for that matter.

They have to be free to respond - there are only so many Cops on duty at any one time if they are busy assisting a problem more serious than yours they can't immediately respond until they have control of that situation.

Should I tell my disabled grandmother or my 2 year old niece that it's up to them to stop the next 9/11 or the next VA Tech massacre?

Yes you need to tell your disabled grandmother and the parents of your 2 year old niece that they are without a doubt responsible for their own safety.

Do you honestly think that when you call government sponsored dial-a-prayer (911) that a cop is going to be instantly teleported to your assistance.

Exactly how realistic is that?

Get real folks when something bad happens to you it won't matter whether you are a disabled grandmother or someones 2 year old niece Peace Officers will not be there. The average response time, providing they know where to go, in Lincoln, Nebraska is on the order of 7-15 minutes. If I were to bet on it I would say 10-12 minutes.

Even if you can get a call to a police dispatcher and even if your cell phone is GPS capable how much harm can come to you in 7-15 minutes? Oh and 911 calls do on occasion fall through the cracks.

Chances are you were not practicing situational awareness and never saw it coming. In that case the cell phone you are so sure will receive that teleported Cop will be bitch slapped from the side of your head before you can even dial the 9 in 911.

Then what are you going to do? Bleed? Die?

10 minutes, hell 1 minute alone is a very long time in a violent situation.

Understand this;

Even if you completed a call to 911 you are ON YOUR OWN until any kind of help can arrive. The lives and safety of you and your family depend solely on what you do in those precious moments.

Just Co-operate and you won't get hurt

That may have been good advice a long time ago, but times change and so does advice. Todays robbers, muggers and rapists are becoming more violent. In an increasing number of crimes modus-Operandi appears to be "Immediate physical violence". This is done to establish control, exert dominance and reduce the likelihood of resistance before the demand of credit cards/cash/keys/vagina is issued.

Don't believe me? How about the media? Everyday there are news stories from somewhere in the United States that read (or words to the effect);

The Victim - I was not even aware of the thug until they walked up and stabbed/shot/knocked me.

I fail to see how a potential gun shootout between a killer and one or more usually un-trained vigilantes is going to make schools, workplaces, etc. safer and think this is a totally unrealistic option. It's typical libertarian pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking that has no basis (that I'm aware of) in reality.

I reject the words untrained and vigilante in that statement. Does that mean anyone with a fire extinguisher is a wannabe fireman? A first aid kit a wannabe Doctor? A spare tire a wannabe auto mechanic? The firearm is is just another safety precaution that people with concealed carry permits know how to employ but hope they never need to.

No, citizens that have a state issued Concealed Carry Permit do not have the untold hours that sworn Peace Officers have.

Why? Because they don't need it. DUHHHH!!!!

Peace Officers are charged with RESPONDING to situations that they have too little knowledge of. When they arrive they know not the difference between the good and the bad. The training they receive is what helps them sort the wheat from the chaff.

As private Citizen with a concealed firearm do you honestly and truly believe that you need 100,000 hours of training to recognize the thug/s standing right there in front of you wielding a ball bat/knife/gun belligerently requesting your wallet/vagina/car keys is or is not a danger to your life.

Please tell me you are not that dense. Is it really that hard to understand or do you finally get it now?

On a side note, I hear about the potential for vigilantes to step up and stop these types of massacres, but I'm not aware of it having ever happened. Do you know of any instances where it has actually happened?

It would be easy to slough this one off with;

Since legally licensed law abiding citizens are forbidden from carry on Americas campi and by definition they obey the law and leave their firearms etc...

The real answer is yes it has happened, but almost never mentioned in the Mainstream Media.

Here are three examples of just incidents that took place at schools complete with Lexis-Nexis search results:

Appalachian School of Law - Grundy, Virginia 2002

Pearl High School - Pearl Mississippi 1997 and A Middle School - Edinboro, Pennsylvania 1998

Ever wonder why most of these "School Shootings" end in suicide?

Because it is an integral part of their plan from the start.

  1. Acquire arms and ammunition (usually illegally)
  2. Select a location that will allow for a headline grabbing large body count. (places where no one else will be armed schools/posted malls/concerts etc..)
  3. Commit suicide either by own hand or by cop.
  4. Die knowing that if not in life in death 15 minutes of fame will be achieved. (Just to insure that fame next day express papers and video to the media prior to commencing the act) (Gee thats never happened has it?)

Peace Officers as a rule can not stop something like that.

Not that they don't want to, because I know every single one of them does. Unless the "shooter" attacks a Police Station it is almost always over before they get there. To survive it is up to the people there to defend themselves until Peace Officers can arrive.

It always seems to me these issues are dealt with by gun freaks from a hypothetical viewpoint (not based in actual history or reality). If you can give me a couple of examples where gun owners have actually been able to repel a mass murderer as he was engaged in a killing spree, I'd be very interested in hearing about them.

There are lots more examples based in actual history or reality, I just gave you three and they all involved Schools. Now you didn't know that because you didn't see it in the Mainstream press. Like so many people you must believe; If it isn't on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN etc.. that it can't, didn't or won't happen. Honest law abiding citizens with firearms use them to protect themselves and families everyday in the United States, but since most of the Press is so bias against guns they will not report that. They can't. It goes against every thing they believe in.

Now I have a question for you;

How can they (the Media) justify their anti-gun mantra in they report the over one million times a year that firearms in the hands of private citizens save lives, stop crimes and bring mass public shootings to a screeching halt?

So much for gun freaks with hypothetical viewpoints aye?

I hope you paid particular attention to the results of the Lexis-Nexis search in those stories. You never knew those incidents were stopped by armed private citizens because the Media in order to protect their agenda REFUSED to tell you. Fair and Balanced? I think not.

The Mainstream media is largely anti-gun and it should be obvious from just those few examples that they are loathe to report on anything that puts firearms in a positive light.

I hope that some what lays to rest the idea that Law abiding citizens with concealed carry permits are untrained vigilante gun freaks with hypothetical points of view.

I also hope it opens some eyes to the fact that;

Peace Officers WILL respond to your rescue, even though they are not required to, as soon as they know where you are and what the problem is. But from the onset of the crime committed against you until they arrive, which in some cases can be minutes or even hours, you are on your own. For the continued well being of yourself and family you must be prepared to act.

Laws do not stop anyone from committing a crime.

Laws are obeyed only by those that are predisposed to societal conformity anyway. They exist then ONLY as a punishment for those that are not so inclined.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I have been to the Muzzle Loading Mecca

For those of you that have read this Blog from the beginning you know that since about 1970 I have been an "on again, off again" Muzzle Loader. But then again I am "on again, off again" on various other types of firearms as well. It really boils down to the time of year and season.

By way of explanation

When the weather starts to change the call of the wild goose, the cackle of the Great China Bird (Pheasant) and the whistle of the Bobwhite Quail stirs the soul I am "on again" with shotguns. Later when the air chills, the leaves turn color and the woods begin to reek of the rut I get "on again" with deer rifles forsaking for a time the scattergun.

Shortly after the regular firearms season I break out the black powder gear and begin to get ready for those cold crisp December mornings afield with my Front Stuffers.

Muzzle loading takes a certain level of constant dedication that I do not always have time for during the rest of the year. I particularly enjoy hunting with my "Smoke Poles" though. The idea that I can take to the woods and harvest food for the table with the same tools used by the Frontier Folk that settled this great Country is like stepping back in time.

Even though I generally hunt the same land with my black powder firearms as I do my "regular deer rifle" it is a vastly different experience. When I am out hunting with my .54 caliber caplock muzzle loader I often wonder if I am trekking the same paths, seeking to harvest direct descendants of the same food source that some similarly armed early settlers were a couple of hundred years ago.

For nearly 75 years

Headquartered in Friendship, Indiana I have long been aware of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. Since 1933 the NMRLA has promoted the preservation of our frontier heritage that is the foundation this Nations generations since have built on.

It has always been my desire to visit their shooting range in Friendship.

For the past few years or so I have been friends with NMLRA's treasurer Ralph Walker. Through his and many great NMRLA members efforts I can now say that I have been to Friendship.

Friendship we have a problem!

I want to go back.

More on the GRPC later I promise

It is no big secret that I am one of the usual suspects in attendance at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference (held at Fort Mitchell, Kentucky this year). Being less than an hour from the conference, which was held at the Draw Bridge Inn, the fantastic folks at Friendship sponsored a range day on the fourth of October for conference goers.

Folks let me tell you the hospitality was next to none. The NMRLA along with providing transportation to and from the event, laid out more food than we could eat. The NMRLA had their various ranges set up with a host of muzzle loading shotguns, rifles and pistols along with all the powder and ball we could shoot.

There were at least four full 12 passenger vans that the NMRLA rented for the occasion. Several others, including the wife and I provided our own transportation. We have a friend who is a Customs Agent at the Cincinnati Airport whom we rode with. Thanks again S.O.S. we don't get to see each other near enough.

Safety and Education first

The NMRLA also had on hand plenty of members to educate and promote the safe handling of Americas first firearms for those that were experiencing the smell of black powder smoke for the first time. Many of these members are professional firearms instructors I am sure. They patiently answered all questions posed and relished in the pleasure of introducing their hobby to a number of "Greenhorns".

The center piece for the day was a period cannon that was loaded to belched smoke and flame about every half hour.

I would like to personally thank Ralph and the entire NMRLA membership for opening their range to us and at their expense providing the transportation,food, firearms and ammunition for what has for many years been a desire of mine ... to visit and shoot at the Mecca of Muzzle Loading, Friendship, Indiana.