After a long and busy holiday, the tree is down, the decorations are put away, the houseguests are gone, and the stories are piled up. So without further ado, let’s jump right back in with another round of “Is it an arsenal?” Police on Vancouver Island seized 19 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition after executing a search warrant on drug-related charges. This is not really a story, but there’s a photo, and in the photo is a gun that won TTAG’s readers’ choice award for best rifle this year. It’s now in the custody of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia. Sorry, guys. . . Oh, and go Tigers!
Several businesses just a block from the White House were hit by bullets from a drive-by shooting early last Saturday morning. Yes, Virginia, there are guns in Washington, D.C. despite great efforts to the contrary. Thankfully, since it was 2:30 a.m., no one was injured, but a couple bullets went through the windows at Brewood Engraving, and a couple more took out one of the big plate glass windows at Caribou Coffee on the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania, a popular Secret Service hangout. A total of 6 properties were damaged, and police are looking at video and searching for clues. Because I know you’re concerned, the President was never in any danger. He was in Hawaii.
A story out of Knox, New York is in the running for the best, briefest headline that I’ve ever seen. An alcohol-fueled domestic dispute escalated when a man grabbed a gun, threatened self-harm, and fired a shot. The rest of the family in the house fled, cops showed up, the man surrendered and was jailed. The headline? Gun fired, kin fled, man jailed.
Despite the bleating of the civilian disarmament movement that gun ownership is on the decline, records for firearm-related background checks were set all across the country in 2013. Florida had the largest number I found, with 823,653 by December 15th, already more than 3% over last year’s total. Virginia had a total of 479,253 for the year, an 11% increase over 2012, and Colorado had run 354,880 checks by the end of November, handily beating 2012’s total of 335,940 with December still to go. Finally, Alabama had 486,506 checks through November, up nearly 13% over last year’s total, and they also have December still to add in. This is not a conclusive list, just the ones that came across my screen in the last few days.
A new measure took effect on January 1 in Illinois that will have [consults crystal ball] precisely zero effect on crime in The Land of Lincoln, where Illinois gun owners are now required to check their buyer’s credentials with the state before transferring ownership of their weapons. Gun owners in the Prairie State have long had to keep records of their private sales and check that buyers had FOID cards, but if the FOID had been revoked, a seller would have no way of knowing that, a situation that the new law was designed to ameliorate. However, Richard Pearson, director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, aptly points out that, “It’s, of course, aimed at people who transfer guns illegally. But people who transfer guns illegally are still going to transfer guns illegally. I can’t imagine too many gang members have FOID cards.”
I learned something today. Apparently in Germany it’s only permitted to set off fireworks for 48 hours a year, December 31st and January 1st. So slingshot master Joerg Sprave decided to get a little more bang for his buck, by making a a slingshot rocket launchtower. “Two meters fifty” high (that’s 8.2 feet for you ‘Muricans) with two big rubber bands and a foot-operated trigger. First the video where he introduces and demonstrates it with an unlit firework (because he’s not allowed to light it yet)…
and then the one from the following night, when things get… interesting about halfway through.
Let’s Bring ‘Em Home finished out the year strong, raising just over $97,000 and flying 133 servicemen and women home for the holidays, from nearly 8,000 miles away to just a few hundred. The two highest tickets this year were over $2,100 to bring a zoomie home from Fort Wainwright, AK to Rochester, NY, and nearly $1,900 to bring a Marine home to Harlem from Okinawa. Thanks to all of you who supported the effort. They’ll be back next year with the unofficial kickoff on Veteran’s Day, and the official one on Thanksgiving.