Huffington Post: Night Vision Technology is Too Dangerous to be Owned by Civilians

The Huffington Post is huffing and puffing about civilian ownership of high-end quality optics. Writer Sascha Brodsky has apparently discovered that some deplorables out there enjoy hog hunting and wrote a breathless piece using a particularly flimsy straw man to support his argument that this kind of gear is simply too dangerous to be publicly available.

In his article, he recounted how a Chinese national attempted to purchase and export three pairs of night vision optics that may have been ultimately bound for North Korea. He was arrested in a DHS sting operation for violating the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In his hit piece, Brodsky writes:

If Kim had an export license, very little would have prevented him from sending the equipment to North Korea, which is a major concern for experts who warn that military-grade night vision gear could fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue states.

While the Las Vegas massacre rekindled the debate over the millions of assault-style rifles owned by American civilians, there’s been much less public scrutiny of all the gear designed for military operations that is now marketed directly to civilians.

Brodsky aims to increase that level of scrutiny.

Night vision equipment is a useful tool for civilians, advocates say. “When employed properly, night-vision equipment will open your eyes to the times usually dominated by four-legged critters and two-legged ne’er-do-wells, giving you the advantage,” claimed a May article in Shooting Illustrated, a publication of the National Rifle Association, on how to use the gear for “hunting and defense.”

ATN Optic on FNAR 7.62x51mm Rifle, courtesy of A. Valdes.

I own night vision and thermal optics and agree with the NRA article. I have an ATN X-Sight II HD night vision scope and a FLIR Scout TK thermal handheld monocular. The ATN scope was actually a Christmas gift from the wife, but that’s a story for another time.

My FLIR Scout TK monocular.

Brodsky paints ownership of such devices as a clear and present danger in a civilized society. He supports that by getting the virulently hoplophobic Ladd Everitt, director of George Takei’s One Pulse for America gun control operation, to say that night vision and thermal optics could be used in a criminal act and that they therefore should be regulated by the BATFE.

Everitt even goes so far as to claim that:

Night vision equipment is “not the tool of sportsmen,” Everitt said. “It’s the tool of people who are seeking to kill as many people as possible in as short amount of time as possible.”

Really Ladd?

courtesy Huffington Post

HuffPo raises the specter that terrorist organizations could get their hands on the gear if it’s widely available to the public. Adam Routh, a research associate with the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the left-leaning Center for a New American Security, a Washington, DC-based think tank, says:

“There is no practical use for the high-end night vision stuff for regular people,” Routh said. “If ISIS has these things, the concern is that our troops would be at a disadvantage because they are not as protected by the cover of darkness.”

On the contrary, there is very much a practical use for high-end optics by the civilian population. It’s a fantastic tool for both hunting and self defense.

I use night vision and thermal when hog hunting. It makes it much easier to find that hog or deer that just ran into the thickets. It prevents game from suffering and going to waste because you can’t find a wounded animal after spending hours trying to track a blood trail in the dark.

It’s also a great tool to keep an eye on my lab when he’s out in the swamp and sawgrass while I’m setting up decoys before dawn for duck hunting.

As for self defense, being able to see in the dark is invaluable. I only recently got power back after Hurricane Michael and when the lights go out, it is another world. Criminals, looters, and robbers love prowling in the darkness. Night vision and thermal optics gave my wife and me the ability to check on that suspicious noise or loud bang at 3:00am and find out that it was just the dogs (Malcolm & Stimpy) instead of a burglar.

So now civilian disarmament types are targeting higher end optics. But if history is any guide, we know they’ll eventually shift their sights toward more common scopes and hunting rifles. After all, they’re really just sniper rifles, weapons of war equipped with military grade optics that have no place in a blind or deer stand.

Ruger M77, HK SLB 2000, Remington 700, Browning BLR, & CZ 527M, courtesy of A. Valdes.

So if your hunting rigs look anything like this, don’t delude yourself that no one will ever come for your hunting rifle. You aren’t safe from the gun banners’ insatiable desire to eradicate of firearm ownership. They’ll get to you eventually, too.

comments

  1. avatar L says:

    Not entirely sure about thermal/NV optics being useful for defense (hunting though? for damned sure). It adds weight and complexity to your weapon that a simple mounted light could achieve. The only advantage over a light is that it doesn’t alert your target. That could even be a disadvantage in a defense situation, think about it.

    Great article though. We’re helping terrorists if we sell optics to people? Ladd is a complete idiot.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Right after the U.S. military was ordered to withdraw into their bases there was a purge of Iraqis as former Iraqi military and police went rogue and killed those who didn’t. They had suppressors, NVs, ARs, Humvees, body armor, etc. They used this equipment, which was given to them by the U.S., to do some very intimidating operations. These guys started to retake the area and create ISIS. Now they have GoPros and small drones, to go along with their U.S. gear, so they can make surreal propaganda videos.

      Yet people want to ban Americans from having the same things the U.S. gave to terrorists and still do to an extent. Why? Because an American civilian might give a terrorist or government some U.S. market stuff? ROFL. Get the fuck out of my face with that bullshit. The U.S. government trains and equips terrorists and foreign governments anyway they see fit with or without a license. Get back to me when American civilians can buy a stealth helicopter or plane and export it to some terrorists or hostile government.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        What CZ said. Best comment ever.

      2. avatar Tom says:

        CZJay says: +1

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      they’re against anything that would enhance your ability to protect yourself…some of this stuff is quite pricey…some, not so much….

  2. avatar Gman says:

    Since these devices are listed as ITAR regulate they are considered arms. Arms are protected by the 2nd Amendment. Military grade arms are protected as found in Miller (1939).

    1. avatar E Gleaton says:

      Correct.

  3. avatar MeRp says:

    Wouldn’t banning night vision (etc) scopes entail also banning night vision cameras? Wouldn’t that make security cameras once again pointless at night and in dimly lit areas?

  4. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    Yep ninja assassin squads with night vision and silencers will conduct mass shootings that no one can see or hear, whole communities will just disappear, the victims won’t even realize they died for a good week or two, such is the power of scary night vision.

    Again, thanks Mom and Dad Big Gun Control, for knowing what is safe and useful to use, I wouldn’t want to have to be a grown up and decide for myself, glad you are taking care of us! Back to watching cartoons then, you can have the scary guns and gear.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      I have it on good authority that we’re all already dead from the 100s to 1000s of mass shootings every day. The last person in America died from Gun Violence ™ sometime in 2014.

      1. avatar Southof16 says:

        Shit! Why am I still going to work everyday then?

        1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

          You’re in purgatory, baby.

  5. avatar RCC says:

    He would positively hate my friends hunting 4wd. It has night vision plus remote control roof mounted infa red spotlight. This goes video screen for driver. Backed up by regular spotlights if needed. Similar to and probably better than 1990’s tanks.

    Passenger is the shooter though can be used by one person. Really effective on pigs at night.

  6. avatar DaveL says:

    Thermal cameras are increasingly used in civilian contexts completely unrelated to hunting or defense. Case in point: industrial maintenance. Look at a whole machine and see that hot bearing before it fails. Heck, basic night vision is so ubiquitous in surveillance cameras that I use it to keep watch on my sheep during lambing season – less intrusive than bathing them in light 24/7 and more energy-efficient too.

  7. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Next thing this guy just looking for something to write about. Will say a peep sight makes a rifle to easy and aqurite to shoot. Idiots of this I’ll are to be ignored. Just as is the Huffington Post.

  8. avatar GunnyGene says:

    I hope no one is surprised by this. I’ve been expecting optics and other system accessories to be targeted for years. The ultimate goal of the left is the total elimination of anything that could possibly be lethal. Firearms and associated gear and ammo are just the low hanging fruit. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the UK knife regulations.

  9. avatar Shire-man says:

    To recap: hearing protection and being able to see in the dark are to be kept from the citizenry.
    These asshats are caricatures of themselves.

  10. avatar Sich says:

    Has to do with Spectrum of Light Night Vision Devices produce. “Blue” Light will Induce Sleep twice as fast as “Green” Light. And “Green” Light plays tricks on the mind (i.e. Depth Perception) over prolonged usage. And “Red” Light will “Dilate” the Eyes, so when removed were tends to see Bright Spots that aren’t there. I prefer “Yellow” Light, though Yellow Light Viewers are nearly impossible to obtain…

  11. avatar Sheer Hawai'i says:

    In addition to the excellent points made above, I’d be truly surprised if North Korea didn’t already have a warehouse full of the latest and greatest NODs.

    1. avatar Red in CO says:

      Right? I mean, it’s not like China is famous (infamous?) for its cavalier attitude toward intellectual property. They also certainly haven’t been very visibly pouring money into military tech to make their forces competitive on a 21st century battlefield. And they also very much DONT support North Korea at all…

      This writer demonstrates a truly remarkable degree of stupidity and ignorance in a whole smattering of subjects. Then again, he’s a writer for the “legacy media”, so that’s par for the course

      1. avatar Sheer Hawai'i says:

        Yep.

        It must be nice to be a pompous writer that can print ignorant things without an immediate response to how stupid those things are.

  12. avatar Heartbreaker says:

    Journalism is being used by far too many mentally ill people for dangerous purposes. There should be strictly vetted licenses and rules for performing such activities and an option for revoking it if family members or friends start to see signs of mental problems.

    See how this works?

  13. avatar LarryinTX says:

    OMG! What if they find out about our flashlights!? OMG!! OMG!!

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      i’m sure they have the same views on body armor…

      1. avatar xtphreak says:

        Shhhhhhh!!!!!!

      2. avatar Rich Zellich says:

        They _do_ have the same views on body armor. Possession is illegal for “civilians” in some states.

  14. avatar CZJay says:

    Why does anyone need a stock that is used for range entertainment by a few people? Why would a person need a .50 BMG at a public range if they are not taking out vehicles and aircraft? Why do people need impractical drum magazines, belts and extended magazines for fun mag dumps at the range? Why do people have to have flash hiders if they only shoot at targets at the range during the day? Why is it necessary for people to use infrared or thermal devices to shoot at the range?

    Most people don’t have or need these things. So why shouldn’t they be banned along with the bump fire stocks? Let’s just have guns with no attachments, require thin barrels for semi automatic long guns and regulate the calibers/rounds for specific purpose use that isn’t combat. Since we are at it, let’s make it illegal to have any pistol that can fire a bullet over the speed of sound.

    These tyrants are very predictable. It’s not hard to figure out their strategy, thus their tactics. I was very young when I caught on to their manipulation. I have been resisting their BS since elementary school. Maybe I am unique in that regard.

    They tell me I can’t bring a skateboard to school. I bring a skateboard the next day and tell my friends to do the same. They demand my parents buy school uniforms and I wear them or else. I reject their threats and demands by wearing whatever I want and I argue with them that it’s a waste of our money to purchase clothes solely to be “uniform” with the rest of the students. They threaten to discipline us if we don’t look at the flag, put our hand over our hearts and pledge allegiance to the U.S. I didn’t appreciate being coerced into promising something to a group of government workers who don’t fulfill their promises to the people. So I started silently protesting by sitting in school during the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem because I should openly display disapproval and I am at liberty to do so in the most triggering way.

    Of course I was punished for my rebellion against their system, but eventually they realized it only made me more potent. So they decided it’s best to leave me alone in order to stop the resistance from spreading to a lot of students. They can’t have a lot of people always asking why, thinking for themselves, having a spirit of resistance and criticizing those in charge.

    Some of you will simply consider that being an asshole, others will consider it as the live free or die/don’t tread on me attitude. At least I didn’t grow up willfully submitting to stupid rules…

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Well, people do not need skateboards so we can ban them.
      Long live Jan and Dean! I think they are dead now, but anyway.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      CZ, let’s face it, what you describe *IS* being an asshole, the point is that being an asshole is your right, and is not always a bad thing.

  15. avatar Michael Buley says:

    Every attack, every incremental victory on their part, to regulate anything to do with guns, finally will justify banning guns and gun confiscation. It won’t be immediate, but it won’t be that far off, either, that the SHTF in a much more violent way. The powers-that-be, the communists, are eager because they can see their victory not that far off now.

    Every regulation only weaves more thoroughly the lie that ‘the government’ has the right to infringe on our right to bear arms. Since the masses rely on the b.s. lying mainstream media — the communist propaganda arm — they become all the more comfortable with ‘guns are bad, get rid of guns, people who have guns are bad, take their guns, put them in prison.’

    It’s not about night vision. It’s about justifying the regulation of arms. Communists attack, attack, attack. They destroy, and destroy, and destroy. That is all they do. Ultimate, complete power is their goal, much like happened after the Bolshevik coup — not revolution — in Russia. It’s funny how the 60+ million killed under communism in Russia, is rarely mentioned even in passing. The number is likely much higher.

    Today, it’s night vision. Tomorrow, a trigger assembly. The next day, a scope … a silencer … a certain magazine … endless, until we are disarmed. It will get messy. But they don’t care. They just don’t want to be taken out themselves in the process.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      “It’s not about night vision. It’s about justifying the regulation of arms.”

      Spot on. This is exactly what they are doing and why every time they ‘discover’ something new that smells like too much freedom they jump on it and try to get rid of it. It is clear that the gun control advocates and their fellow travelers simply hate other people’s freedom. Vast libraries of regulations of everything from guns and arms to lip balm and saltine crackers have been created in this country, largely since FDR, in what is nothing more than an attempt to get everyone to bow down before the almighty power of the government.

      1. avatar Jim Bullock says:

        “It’s not about night vision. It’s about justifying the regulation of arms.”

        It’s not about night vision. It’s about any capability you might exercise on your own.

        Everything not compulsory is forbidden.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Right. Also, UBC is not about background checks or preventing crime. It is about enabling the regulation of arms.

        1. avatar xtphreak says:

          it’s about criminalizing the private sale of firearms WITHOUT the government’s approval (and their knowledge).

          If they pass enough laws, you can’t help but break some (maybe without knowing it).

          They’ve made you a criminal, so now they have power over you.

  16. avatar 22winmag says:

    Armchair cranks love bashing Gen 1 Night Vision and dismissing it out of hand.

    Get yourself an Armasight Vampire 3x for around $800 if that’s around your budget allows. It’s a rock solid Gen 1 with DOUBLE THE RESOLUTION of the next closest Gen 1 and has battery life measured in days! Really solid unit!

  17. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Night vision equipment is a useful tool for civilians, advocates say. “When employed properly, night-vision equipment will open your eyes to the times usually dominated by four-legged critters and two-legged ne’er-do-wells, giving you the advantage,”
    Heck with Bambi, I want something like this on a HUD in my car!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      If you live out a lonely country road, sure, but I’d think headlights would wash them out in regular traffic.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        You’re missing the point, here. It doesn’t take much knowledge to put a switch under the dash to cut off all taillights, then a 40 gallon tank replaces the back seat, and we’re ready to run some serious moonshine, the revenooers don’t have a chance!

    2. Actually they do have them for cars, since at least 2007!

      http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aw1ZcDNXs0M/UYwPg1dKJKl/AAAAAAAAaW0/ONopCsOiaDw/s640/jl436142a.jpg

      I’m waiting for Synthetic Aperture Radar, which can see through Rain, Snow, Fog and Smoke to give the wearer a Crystal Clear Image of whatever he/she is looking at…

  18. avatar Mark N. says:

    NV devices are legal in California–except for hunting.

  19. avatar Fudds Mckenzie says:

    Ugh. By explaining “legit” uses you’re taking the bait. The correct answer is it’s great Ladd and the other one don’t like private night-vision ownership because screw them, they can gag on it.

    Pick your battles, this issue was won without saying a word.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      Agree, we need to stop accepting that the terms of the argument require us to justify our ownership or use of something – anything. “FU, I don’t owe anyone an explanation, I can and I will do what I please.” should be our first response to this kind of stupidity.

  20. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Apparently pigs are people too.

  21. avatar Rich7553 says:

    “Night Vision Technology is Too Dangerous to be Owned by Angry Democrats”

    Fixed it for you.

  22. avatar Draven says:

    no one pointed out to them that one of the major night vision manufacturers is based in Russia and will sell to whomever they can?

  23. avatar Hannibal says:

    I’m pretty sure NVG available on the civilian market is not exactly unknown to nation-states. If they really want to buy them and import them over, let’s hope they buy enough that they can’t afford artillery shells.

  24. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    Automobiles are used in 100% of drive by shootings and hit and runs, ban automobiles.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      Pretty sure all criminals drink water, ban water.

    2. avatar Iillinois_Minion says:

      Printing presses are mis-used to spread lies and false information. Lets ban printing presses.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Criminals *exist* to commit crime, let’s (you knew it was coming) ban CRIME!!

  25. avatar Bob999 says:

    What BS. FLIR systems are everywhere being used for all kinds of purposes. They have thermoimagers on large boats to see objects in the water at night that would not have been seen via spotlights. They have these cameras on cars to see pedestrians at night and sound collision alarms. I have a professional video camera that can see infrared. One of the biggest companies in the business of manufacturing consumer and commercial thermoimagers bought a competitor in Europe so they don’t have to follow US export laws…and yes, they sell to China. Leftists are such idiots. Leftists are forcing the legalizion of a hallucinogenic drug, yet, they want to outlaw one of the most innovative technologies ever conceived because they are afraid that the American people may become powerful enough to take back the country.

  26. avatar RGP says:

    My personal NVG (night vision gizmo) is a flashlight. The only reason I wouldn’t get real NVG stuff is because I am NOT going to spend that much wampum.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      No one who isn’t a criminal needs a flashlight. You should just stay inside when it is dark. Ban flashlights.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Need light for something? Morning is just hours away.

  27. avatar Bob15 says:

    If HuffPo folks didn’t drive cars, text on cell phones, or surf the Internet on MacBooks they’d say those too are tools for terrorists. Here’s an idea – ask HuffPo writers if they own power tools. No? Those could be terrorist implements too!!

    1. avatar Bob999 says:

      if liberals understood the amount of explosive material in an average car, would they ban them too.

  28. avatar CNS says:

    Next week, Huffington post will print an article declaring eye glasses are too dangerous for civilians to own because they aid terrorists in seeing their targets. Also shoes are too dangerous for civilians to own because they aid terrorists in walking to their targets,

  29. avatar Adamanter says:

    No one needs a car that might go 100 mph, it’s too dangerous. Therefore and henceforth only unicycles and pogo sticks will be permitted to be used by the proletariat

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Can we still ride our unicorns?

  30. avatar B.D. says:

    Seriously?

    It’s the huff post… why even bother posting this shit here?

    What is this, facebook? Next time, use no words unless they are on the pictures themselves.

  31. avatar Trooper Sam says:

    Ladd Everitt is a dick and a troll. He goes around bashing pro-gun posts on Facebook as a hobby. Hardly seems like he’s doing anything useful if he has the time to be a Facebook troll.

  32. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    One could make the argument that the free speech exercised by the original writer is antithetical to a civilized society. It’s certainly been argued before and eliminated in most of the world. The United States, uniquely among nations, is intended to be made up of free peoples. Laws punish those who use their freedoms to harm others. No laws prevent crimes. Most laws create systems that make society function better (like traffic laws). To criminalize ownership of property that isn’t harming anyone else is suppressing human rights and should be resisted in every instance.

  33. avatar willford says:

    This proves it “PUFFINGTON post” to stupid to post any news, JUST doltness. SHOULD go broke?

  34. avatar OldRed says:

    Thermal vision is a great tool for home defense. Just gather up your family in one place, turn off the power and look for and either wait for them to come to you or go looking for them without them being able to see you. I works ever better outdoors.

    Having farmed most of my life I don’t know it would have saved me, the grain elevators and cotton gins I did business with by finding bearing a day or two before they went out instead of after the froze up and ruined a shaft.

    Either Terminal Vision or simple Infrared Vision would have been a great help stretching the day length into night on the farm during time critical periods when dealing with cattle and other livestock.

    There are seriors federal laws against exporting anything arms related that reaches right down to computer hardware and software. You don’t want those folks after you.

  35. avatar Ghost of the Impaler says:

    If you stop and listen….the leftists will always tell you what they’re up to next. And they’ll use one of their useful idiots to do so….like this candy-assed writer at HuffyPoo Post. That’s how it starts. Yet, it won’t stop until they’re all removed from the planet. That’s the only way this will ever stop. The problem most 2A supporters have is they don’t understand we are already at war with these cretins. It isn’t a matter of whether civilians should own NV or suppressors or bump stocks or AR rifles. It is a matter of having the 2A intact.

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