Want to Protect Yourself? Turn a Pistol Into a Rifle.


              So, to make sure that none of their supporters make the mistake of thinking that they are doing anything to restrict or soften 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ today the GOP majority on the House Judiciary Committee voted to roll back a new ATF rule that would require owners of handguns with stabilizing braces to register those guns.

              A stabilizing brace is a plastic accessory which attaches to the grip of a handgun ans effectively turns the gun into a rifle because now it can be shot with the gun braced against the shooter’s shoulder instead of having to control the gun and its recoil just by using the shooter’s hands.

              “The stabilizing brace isn’t a gun,” said one of the GOPers on the Committee, “it’s just a mechanism that will allow a disabled individual to protect himself with a handgun.”

              Isn’t that nice?  This member of the GOP caucus is concerned about wanting disabled Americans to feel the same sense of protection and strength by carrying a gun that gun owners feel when they walk around with a rifle, except that a handgun is so much easier to conceal.

              What my friends in Gun-control Nation probably don’t understand, nor did I hear a single member of the Democrat(ic) minority on the House Judiciary Committee attempt to explain, is that what makes an assault rifle like an AR-15 so lethal is not the length of the barrel, but the fact that the gun loads from beneath its frame, which allows the shooter to use a high-capacity magazine which might hold 30 or more rounds, plus an empty magazine can be dropped out of the gun and a new, loaded magazine inserted in a second or less.

              These design features have nothing to do with the gun’s barrel length, which is how a gun is defined as either a handgun or a long gun. And many of the gun companies who today manufacture and sell assault rifles, are also making and selling handguns which incorporate the design features described in the previous paragraph and are pictured above.

              The attempt by the gun industry and its GOP cheerleading squad to present and define this issue as just another way to help the disabled among us behave just like normal, ordinary folks is a complete and total ball of sh*t. If I want to bring a gun into a public space and blast the hell out of everyone I could see, I’d buy an assault-style handgun, attach a stabilizing device to the grip and I’m good to go.

              One of the GOP jerkoffs on the Committee, Rep. Wesley Hunt, shot his mouth off in the usual, pro-gun fashion by saying “it’s not the gun, it’s the homicidal maniac” using the gun.

              Did it ever occur to this brainless individual that making it easier for the ‘brainless maniac’ to walk into a public space with a concealed assault-style weapon will just make it easier for the ‘brainless maniac’ to kill as many people as he can?

              Of course, this didn’t occur to Congressman Hunt. Before the hearing he no doubt asked a staff member to give him something to say in favor of the stabilizing brace. The staffer contacted the local NRA rep who immediately handed him this gem of a statement and Congressman Hunt had what he needed to say.

              The NRA has basically been saying the same thing for the last forty or so years. ‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.’ You still occasionally see that bumper sticker on the rear fender of an F-150 or another small truck.

              People also kill other people with knives, sometimes with a good, hard klop over the head. But why make it easier for someone to kill or injure someone else?

              Oh, I forgot! It’s not a homicide to defend myself when I’m attacked by someone else. Wasn’t that what the guy was doing who shot and nearly killed a teenager named Ralph Yarl who knocked on the guy’s front door by mistake?

Should Stabilizing Braces Be Regulated By The ATF?


In his wonderful history of the Spanish Armada, Garrett Mattingly describes the Spanish Monarch, Philip II, as sitting at his desk in the Palacio Escorial, poring over documents “eyes red-rimmed, fingers aching, hard at work at his self-appointed task as Chief Clerk of the Spanish Empire.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think my little shack outside of Amherst, MA qualifies as a latter-day Escorial palace, but I do Iike to think of myself as the Chief Clerk of the Gun Violence Prevention empire, whose jobs it is to explain to all my friends in Gun-control Nation what things mean and don’t mean when it comes to guns.

In that respect, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has just released a proposal to regulate a gun accessory called a ‘stabilizing brace,’ a piece of plastic which when attached to a handgun allows the user to shoot it like a rifle, even though the short barrel means that it should be regulated as an NFA gun.  What does that mean?

It means that in order to purchase a stabilizing brace, the prospective owner has to go through a very extensive background check (actually two background checks), pay a substantial licensing fee to the U.S. Treasury, and then sit around for a couple of months until all the paperwork is processed, and he can go to the gun shop and pick up his brace.

Here’s what a standard, Glock pistol looks like:

And here’s what the same gun looks like with a stabilizing brace:

Get it?  With the brace attached to the gun, you get more stability, particularly when you are banging off a lot of shots as fast as you can. More stability means more accuracy, more accuracy means more injuries if you walk into a public space with your brace-equipped gun and start banging away. In fact, guns with stabilizing braces were used in several mass shootings over the recent months, including a shooting in Colorado this past March.

The ATF initially begun looking at the stabilizing brace issue back in December, issuing a notice that was withdrawn five days later after the usual gaggle of NRA-loving members of the GOP caucus started to squawk. Now the notice has been republished and will no doubt generate the usual pro-gun noise but Trump’s out, Joe’s in and that’s the end of that.

The stabilizing braces were sold and promoted as a device that would allow disabled military veterans to shoot their handguns even if they only had full use of one arm. Nobody really paid attention to the issue either way, and of course the moment that any product hits the market that is designed to make life easier for our wounded warriors, who would dare raise a dissenting peep?

I will if you don’t mind. And if some of my readers mind, bully for them.

First of all, anyone who has to point and shoot a handgun using only one arm is doing something which is foolish and unsafe, I don’t care whether the gun is equipped with a stabilizing brace or not. Aiming a handgun with any degree of real accuracy is difficult enough with two arms and two hands, never mind one arm, one hand and a plastic gizmo resting against your chest.

Second and more important, a gun being held in one hand that gives a pretty good kick when it goes off is a gun that is likely to be dropped on the ground or on the table in front of the bench rest.  Know what happens when guns are dropped? No matter what all the advertising says, sometimes they go off. And a gun that discharges a 9mm round at 1,200 feet per second in a direction that isn’t under the shooter’s control is a gun that isn’t safe. Period.

I used to have a collection of model trains. Sometimes I waited more than a couple of months to add a certain car to a model train. So, I waited. So what?

I would give any disabled veteran a pass on paying the NFA license fee, but what would be so bad if all the guys who want to shoot their pistols like rifles have to wait a few months before they can use their new toy?

Sandy Hook: A Man Sold A Gun (Guns in America Book 7) – Kindle edition by Weisser, Michael R.. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

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