In The News

Fact vs. Fiction: AR15

Today I’m starting a new series here on the BLD blog (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about that promised article on weapon selection) entitled “Fact vs. Fiction”. We’re going to debunk or affirm various myths and rumors about firearms and self defense.

In the wake of the horrible events of the past week, the AR15 rifle has come under attack in the media. Therefore, let us take an honest look at the facts and fictions surrounding the AR15 platform.

Rumor: “AR” stands for “assault rifle”.
Status: FICTION
Reason: The AR15 rifle was developed by Eugene Stoner, who was working for the ArmaLite corporation at the time. “AR” stands for nothing more than “ArmaLite”. All firearms developed by the ArmaLite corporation have a model number starting with “AR”. Once the AR15 platform was sold to Colt (who then sold it to the military), Colt needed to make up a new definition for “AR” to avoid using the name of their competitor. Hence, Colt said it stood for “automatic rifle”.

Rumor: The AR15 is an automatic weapon / machine gun.
Status: FICTION
Reason: The standard AR15 is a semi-automatic firearm. One pull of the trigger fires one round. Only the military variants of the rifle (e.g. M16, M4) have select-fire capabilities, and those rifles are not available to civilians without extensive federal and local background checks, registration, and regulations, along with costs that are out of the practical range of most firearm owners.

Rumor: The AR15 was originally designed as a military rifle.
Status: FACT
Reason: The AR15 was developed under the United States military’s search for a new rifle which started with Project SALVO. However, it should be noted that even bolt-action “hunting” rifles were originally designed for military use. The AR15 is no different in this regard.

Rumor: The AR15 fires a “high-power” round.
Status: FICTION
Reason: Actually, the AR15 fires a .22 caliber round, the .223 Remington or NATO equivalent 5.56x45mm. This round is small enough to be prohibited for deer hunting in some states (it is legal for deer hunting in our home state of Minnesota).

Rumor: The AR15 can have a bayonet fixed on it.
Status: FACT
Reason: There is indeed a bayonet lug on the AR15.

Rumor: It is simple to turn an AR15 into a fully automatic rifle.
Status: FICTION AND FACT
Reason: The mechanics of the change are simple enough, but I won’t provide them here. However, just buying or making the parts and changing an AR15 into an automatic rifle is extremely illegal, with probable penalties of 20+ years in federal prison. You can go to prison for simply owning the parts without the proper paperwork and registration. It is often stated in the media that you can find the parts you need for such a conversion at gun shows. I’ve been to more gun shows than I can count, and I have never seen any of the restricted parts for sale…not a single part, not even once.

The truth: Rifles that are accepted as “hunting” guns today had their time in the military just like the AR15. The AR15 is considered to be a modern sporting rifle. The caliber is effective for deer hunting with a properly placed shot, and the buffer system reduces the recoil to make the rifle extremely comfortable and safe to use for even young shooters. Ammunition is inexpensive compared to the higher-powered calibers, meaning that target shooting and hunting become more affordable.

The features that are touted in the media as dangerous are either cosmetic or simply for the comfort of the operator (e.g. adjustable stock, pistol-style grip). The inclusion of the bayonet lug in the 1994 assault weapons ban is silly to me. I’ve yet to hear of a murderer yelling “fix bayonets” before committing a crime. It was included by politicians to ensure that the maximum number of firearms would qualify for restriction under the ban.

You will continue to see half-truths and full falsehoods spread through the media and even within the gun community about the AR15. Feel free to use the above points to have meaningful and truthful conversations about this extremely versatile and useful platform. We just ask that you give Blue Line Defense copyright credit if you quote directly from us.

As always, if you have questions or would like to discuss training on the AR15 or any other platform, please call or email us.

Entirely Necessary

I’m supposed to be finishing an overdue article for this website about weapon selection for permit holders. Today’s events have caused me to postpone that yet another day. I write this on the evening of December 14th, 2012, a day with senseless violence in two nations. Children are dead in these United States and in China at the hands of monsters, and four children in Tennessee lost their mother to a thug’s bullets simply because she was a police officer.

We live at the height of human civilization to date. The majority of our citizens in the US live in cities, not in rural America. Most of us will never know what it means to live away from food, shelter, health care, and law enforcement. We live under a blanket of safety provided by society…but sometimes, the monsters under the bed are real, and they are hungry.

For those of us who choose to own a gun as a tool of self defense, today’s events will make things difficult for awhile. We will be faced with politicians who believe that they can stop such tragedies by banning the tools used by the monsters. A fallacy, yes, but emotion is a difficult force to match with fact. We may also be faced with friends and loved ones who do not understand why we choose to own a device designed for violence.

I fully expect the anti-gun lobby to exploit this next part for their own ends and means…if that’s you, let me remind you that copyright law does apply to online writings, especially when written for a commercial entity.

Violence is what we are talking about when we discuss self defense. Let’s not beat around it. Some guns may be designed specifically for target shooting, but guns are weapons. A weapon is a tool meant for the implementation of violence. The problem is that some people believe violence to always be the wrong answer.

Every instructor at Blue Line Defense has worked or does currently work in law enforcement, public safety, corrections, federal security, or the military. We are people who are expected to run toward the monsters while everyone else flees for safety. Our priority is stopping the monster from hurting anyone else. We’re ok with that. It’s how we are wired. It’s what we are paid to do. We don’t use strong language or legislation to accomplish that goal once a monster has shown its true colors and is actively attacking others. Our holsters don’t contain negotiating tools.

A permit holder need not do any such thing. Your safety and the safety of your loved ones is your priority; unfortunately, sometimes the monster makes escape impossible. When that happens, you have two choices. You can die, or you can fight. If you own and carry a gun, you’ve given yourself the tool to fight.

Violence isn’t something to be idolized. It’s a horrible, brutal, cold-hearted thing. It rips children from parents and husbands from wives. It leaves humans broken and shattered, both physically and emotionally. The sad truth, however, is that violence is sometimes entirely necessary. You cannot reason with a monster, nor plead with it, nor cry and hope your tears will soften its hatred. There is no emotion in a monster’s heart, nor feeling in its soul. If you cannot flee the monster, then it must be destroyed. That means bringing violence onto it, with all the strength and resolve you can muster.

Some would ask how that makes us any different from the monster itself. It’s simple. We stop when the monster stops, and we only use violence as the final option, when all other options are no longer available to us. “We shoot to stop the threat.” I’ve uttered those words in front of more students than I can accurately remember. That is what differentiates us. We don’t look for violence, but we can bring it to bear when we have no other choice.

We aren’t monsters because we carry a gun. We carry a gun because we realize that today could be the day when we meet a monster.

More information about obtaining your permit: MN Permit to Carry.

KDWB: From the Radio to the Range

Members from KDWB’s Dave Ryan in the Morning Show put down their microphones and picked up handguns today in a private class with Blue Line Defense. Crisco, Ashley, Katie and Jenny spent time with Blue Line Defense instructors and learned about practical uses of firearms and firearm safety. In the BLD classroom they received an overview of the Minnesota permit to carry program, legal use of force and handgun fundamentals. The morning show members were introduced to several different firearms, including handguns, shotguns and tactical rifles.

After their classroom education we brought them into the gun range to shoot a variety of handguns and apply the information they learned. Many of them hadn’t shot a firearm before but after instruction from Terry, Paul and Mark, they were hitting targets like seasoned marksmen. Crisco said the time he spends playing Call of Duty is what made him a good marksman. It’s tough to say who had a better time, our staff or the staff from KDWB. It’s a great feeling to see the progression of someone who has never fired a handgun into the thrill they have while consistently hitting the mark. The excitement and smiles they showed are just proof that we have the best job in the world.

We’re lucky enough to train some amazing people and we’re happy to welcome The Dave Ryan in the Morning Show to part of the Blue Line Defense family. We’re such big fans of what they do and appreciate that they took time out of their busy schedules to spend the day with us and see what we do.To see more photos from KDWB’s Dave Ryan in the Morning Show, click here.

 

U.S. Gun Sales on the Rise

According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks were run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on customers looking to purchase firearms last December, which is a record high! Almost 500,000 of those checks occurred during the six days before Christmas. It looks like some people got a good Christmas gift!

Some speculate that President Obama played a role of this and some even call him the “best gun salesman of all time.” The FBI reported a 49 percent rise in NICS background checks during the 2008 election week compared to the same week in 2007. This is not the start of the rise in gun sales. According to Field and Stream Editorial Director Anthony Licata, “gun sales have been up significantly over the past 9 years.”

Recently when I have gone to purchase a new firearm, they have been backordered, and I had to wait up to 3 months. That may be because of an increased demand for firearms over the past decade. U.S. handgun production has tripled over the past 9 years, and firearm productions are up over 2 million units in those years, according to Fox Business.

Author: Terry Pretzloff

Former DEA Agent Loses Appeal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MeGD7r6s-zU

Those of you who have attended our Permit to Carry class have seen the video that we show of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent who shoots himself in the foot while giving a lecture on gun safety to children.

The former agent, Lee Paige, sued the DEA after this video appeared in the news and went viral on the internet. As you can see from the video, Paige shoots himself just after he says, “I’m the only one in this room professional enough, that I know of, to carry this Glock 40.”

Paige claimed that the video, taken by a parent in attendance, invaded his privacy, ended his ability to work undercover, and his ability to give motivational speeches. Additionally, Paige claimed that he received humiliating comments from his friends, family and from people who recognized him when he was out in public.

So you all want to know the outcome? In December 2010, a U.S. District court judge ruled that Paige was not able to prove who released the video. It was also founded that the video contained no private facts about Paige, because the lecture occurred in an Orlando community center, which was open to the public. The appellate judges found that the DEA’s handling of the video as part if the investigation was “is far from a model agency treatment of private data.”

What can we learn from this?

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS! FOLLOW THE FIREARMS SAFETY RULES!

Treat ALL guns as though they are loaded, and ALWAYS preform a clearance check every time you pick up a firearm!

Most firearm accidents occur with firearms that the user thought was unloaded. You can never be too cautious when handling a firearm. ALWAYS make sure you perform a clearance check to prevent an accident from happening.

Never point your firearm at anything that you are not willing to destroy!

Your gun has to point somewhere, so make sure that somewhere is in a safe direction. A safe direction means that the firearm is pointed so that even if it were to discharge it would not cause injury or damage. A safe direction could vary depending on the circumstances. Be aware of where the front end of the firearm is pointed at all times.

Keep your finger OFF the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are on target and have made the decision to shoot!

When you hold a firearm, you should NEVER put your finger on the trigger until you are on target and are ready to fire. This is an extremely important rule!

Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it!

Be 100 percent sure that you know your target and what is beyond your target. Depending on your firearm and ammunition, the bullet has the potential to travel a great distance. Observe the area before you shoot. Make sure there are not people or anything you are not willing to destroy behind your target.

Author: Terry Pretzloff

The case for self-defense

I’ve been asked by several friends about my thought on the self-defense shooting of Darren Evanovich. I’ve been soaking up the various news reports, and have some initial thoughts, but will reserve full opinion until official reports are released.

First, a little background

Darren Evanovich confronted a 53 year old woman in the parking lot of Cub Foods, on the 2800 block of 26th Avenue South, last Thursday at about 10 p.m.

The 23-year-old Evanovich, of Minneapolis, allegedly took her purse and beat her in the head with his gun.

A (so-far) unidentified man who witnessed the robbery chased Evanovich. There was then a confrontation, and shots were fired, killing Evanovich. The unidentified man then called police, and remained at the scene until they arrived. Investigators say they found Evanovich’s gun near where the shooting took place.

When police arrived, the witness told officers he had a permit to carry. Officers detained the man for questioning and then released him without charges. The case is currently in the hands of the Hennepin County attorney, who will will either decide whether or not to file charges, or impanel a grand jury to do so.

Last night, Evanovich’s sister, Octavia Marberry, was arrested and charged with aiding and abetting.

Evanovich was on probation for a 2009 attempted first degree robbery, and another simple robbery charge.

Not all of the facts are out, but there is some intense debate about whether or not the shooting is justified or not.Most of the debate seems to centered around the duty to retreat in Minnesota, and the expectation of being a “reluctant participant”.

The “duty to retreat”, and “reluctant participant” in Minnesota comes from case law (State vs. Austin, State v. Basting). It sets the precedent that law abiding citizens to retreat, if practical, to avoid a lethal confrontation. It does not require you to turn your back on an armed assailant. The expectation of “reluctant participant” is defined as the absence of aggression or provocation on the part of the defendant.

Here is a scenario where I can see self-defense being not only legal, but unavoidable.

John Doe hears a scream, looks up, and see 2 people beating a woman.  John Doe attempts to intervene, and the assailants take off.

John Doe pursues the thieves in order to identify them for police.

Evanovich then commits another felony by drawing his illegally-carried gun and threatening John Doe’s life.
In fear for his life, John Doe defends himself by drawing his legally carried gun, and firing in self defense.

Again, this is just a potential scenario that fits the facts we presently have.

As every permit holder knows, a Permit to Carry doe s NOT grant you any law enforcement powers.  You have the same rights and responsibilities as every other citizen; you have simply been permitted to have a firearm on your person.

It similarly does not remove your rights, or cripple you to inaction or apathy to injustice.

Minnesota does have a “Good Samaritan” law (604a.01), which states:

A person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Reasonable assistance may include obtaining or attempting to obtain aid from law enforcement or medical personnel. A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

Minnesotans also have the power to make a citizen’s arrest (629.37).

A private person may arrest another:

(1) for a public offense committed or attempted in the arresting person’s presence;

(2) when the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the arresting person’s presence; or

(3) when a felony has in fact been committed, and the arresting person has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.

In the scenario above, John Doe was well within his rights to make a citizen’s arrest. While many, myself included, would not risk the dangers of chasing a felon into the dark to attempt to ID or arrest, it’s not illegal.

It was not until Evanovich turned his gun on John Doe, that the situation went from identify and detain to a fight for life.

To the claims of vigilantism:

The nearly 90,000 permit holders in Minnesota are law abiding citizens. They have spent their time, their money and their effort to pass the multiple background checks, attend the rigorous training, and purchase the necessary tools and permissions to make sure they can defend themselves lawfully. They have passed local, state, and federal criminal background checks, and have no history of gang affiliation, drug abuse, or mental health dangers. Every permit applicant is verified by their county Sheriff to pose no danger to self or others.

With this exceptional background, and a high level of respect for the rule of law, it only stands to reason that permit holders are motivated to aid victims of injustice.
This is not symptomatic of vigilantism, rather concerned citizens standing up for justice.

Author: Rob Doar

Senate leadership kills Stand Your Ground

From GOCRA

We have received word that the Republican leadership in the Minnesota Senate has decided to kill The Defense of Dwelling and Person Act by not bringing it to the Senate floor for a vote.

The Senate leadership did not sacrifice SF 1357 for other priorities. They made a deliberate, political decision to refuse to put the bill on Governor Dayton’s desk.

The Senate leadership was not forced into this retreat by the DFL or anti-gun groups. They decided, unilaterally, to give up on this important civil rights legislation.

The Senate leadership did not run out of time. The Senate doesn’t have to finish before Monday at midnight. They could still hear the bill if the leadership does their job.

Please call and email the Senate leadership NOW, and respectfully demand that the bill get an immediate hearing.

You might also want to email and call your own senator, especially if he/she is a Republican, with the same message.

Tell them that Minnesota gun owners vote — and that they have very long memories.

Author: Rob Doar

Defense of Dwelling and Person Act Ready for Floor Vote

GOCRA E-Blast

The Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011 has passed through the House and Senate committees and is ready to be voted on in both chambers.

Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011 Summary

HF1467/SF1357, the Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011, brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, restores the presumption that a person using self defense is innocent until proven guilty, enhances Castle Doctrine, prevents the state from seizing guns during an emergency (remember Hurricane Katrina?), improves carry reciprocity with other states and requires the government to do its job to serve law-abiding citizens.

Adds Stand Your Ground
SF1357 brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, removing the requirement that an intended victim of violent crime must retreat from a place where he has a right to be before using deadly force in self defense.

Enhances Castle Doctrine
The bill also strengthens Minnesota’s “Castle Doctrine,” clarifying when and under what circumstances individuals can legally use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes and vehicles. In addition, it creates a presumption that, when faced with an apparent home invasion, carjacking or kidnapping attempt, a person may use deadly force in self defense.

Prevents Gun Seizures During a State of Emergency
Taking a lesson from the problems in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the bill also bans government agencies from seizing guns or ammo, revoking permits to purchase or carry, closing gun shops, or otherwise suspending our constitutional rights during a civil emergency. It also prohibits law enforcement officers from seizing a person’s gun, unless the person is arrested, or the gun is evidence of a crime.

Adds a Robust Appeals process to Purchase Permits
The bill also borrows a page from the Permit to Carry law, providing a more robust appeal process for denied purchase permits, and requiring that police chiefs and sheriffs whose purchase permit denials are overturned must pay the applicants’ legal costs.

Adds Universal Carry Permit Acceptance
Of particular interest to carry permit holders, the final article of the bill updates our carry permit reciprocity standards, allowing people holding carry permits from any other state to carry in Minnesota (under Minnesota law, of course). This should result in a large increase in the number of states where Minnesota permit holders can carry, since many states allow other states’ permit holders to carry on a reciprocal basis.

The full text of the bill can be found here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S1357.0.html&session=ls87

Author: Rob Doar

HR1467 Hearing

This is probably the biggest leap in advancing gun owner’s rights in Minnesota since the Personal Protection Act.

Tony Cornish’s (Rep – Good Thunder) bill addresses several gaping holes in MN gun laws, and addresses real concerns that are affecting civil rights.

A note from my friends at GOCRA with email addresses is attached below, but in a nutshell, Cornish’s bill addresses the following:

Adds “Stand Your Ground”:- Removes the obligation to attempts retreat before defending yourself
Enhances “Castle Doctrine”:- Clarifies use of deadly force in your home, leaves less up for interpretation.
Prevents Gun Seizures:- Gov’t cannot seize guns, or suspend gun ownership as we saw in Katrina.
Forces MN DHS to make all records (e.g. Mental Health) available to NICS :- Strengthens NICS background Check system with current MN data.
Extended Permit to Purchase to 5 years:- Lightens the administrative burden on Police, updates time frame to coincide with “permit to carry”.
Universal Carry Permit Resiprosity:- MN will accepts all other state’s carry permits, and MN carry permit holders will be able to carry in more states.

GOCRA Eblast:

The most important piece of gun legislation since the MCPPA gets its first hearing at the Capitol next Thursday, and we need you there!

Tony Cornish’s HR1467 brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, enhances Castle Doctrine, prevents the state from seizing guns during an emergency (remember Hurricane Katrina?), extends purchase permits to five years and improves carry reciprocity with other states.

Here’s some more info about the bill, in case you missed it last week:

“The most important update to Minnesota gun law since the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act.”

That’s what GOCRA president Joseph E. Olson had to say about a sweeping set of reforms introduced today in the Minnesota House.

The full text of the bill can be found here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H1467.0.html&session=ls87

The bill expands our rights in many ways. Here’s an overview.

Adds Stand Your Ground

HR1467, authored by long-time gun rights advocate Representative Tony Cornish (R – Good Thunder), brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, removing the requirement that an intended victim of violent crime must retreat from a place where he has a right to be before using deadly force in self defense.

Enhances Castle Doctrine

The bill also strengthens Minnesota’s “Castle Doctrine”, clarifying when and under what circumstances an individual may use deadly force to protect themselves and their homes and vehicles. In addition, it creates a presumption that, when faced with an apparent home invasion or kidnapping attempt, a person may use deadly force in self defense.

Prevents Gun Seizures During a State of Emergency

Taking a lesson from the problems in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the bill also bans government agencies from seizing guns or ammo, revoking permits to purchase or carry, or closing gun shops, during a civil emergency or for any other reason. It also prohibits law enforcement officers from seizing a person’s gun, unless for the person is arrested, or the gun is evidence of a crime.

Extends Purchase Permits to Five Years

The bill also extends the validity of handgun purchase permits from one to five years, adds an annual background check for people holding those five-year permits. It requires the Minnesota Department of Human Services and state courts to make their background check records available electronically to authorized agencies, including the National Instant Background Check system (NICS) — a process that was supposed to have been in place 16 years ago! This should reduce purchasing delays as well as ensuring that state and federal checks produce the same results.

The bill also borrows a page from the Permit to Carry law, providing a more robust appeal process for denied purchase permits, and requiring that police chiefs and sheriffs whose purchase permit denials are overturned must pay the applicants’ legal costs.

Adds Universal Carry Permit Reciprocity

Of particular interest to carry permit holders, the final article of the bill updates our carry permit reciprocity standards, allowing people holding carry permits from any other state to carry in Minnesota (under Minnesota law, of course). This should result in alarge increase in the number of states where Minnesota permit holders can carry, since many states allow other states’ permit holders to carry on a reciprocal basis.

GOCRA is proud to have worked with Representative Cornish in the creation and polishing of this bill. Joined by the NRA, we shared our advice and experience, lending a historical perspective and suggesting beneficial statutory language. This bill is an excellent example of cooperation between legislators, local activists, and our national partners to support and extend our civil rights.

We’ll be talking much more about the details of the bill in the coming days.

Author:Rob Doar