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Illinois State Police Revoke FOID Cards Without Due Process; Gov. Hasn’t Nominated A Single Member For the FOID Appeals Board

Image courtesy Illinois State Police

Illinois remains a screwed up state, with politicians blaming law-abiding gun owners for the crimes committed almost entirely by gang members who illegally acquired their firearms.  Why, the politicians even redirect attention from the gang violence on our streets by calling it “gun violence” instead.  And now Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Illinois State Police, under new ’emergency rulemaking,’ are revoking FOID (firearm owners identification) cards for the thinnest of reasons.

As for those who have their FOID cards revoked, they have lost their fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  The FOID Appeals Board is set up to hear those appeals, however the governor hasn’t nominated anyone for the state review board that’s supposed to hear those appeals.  Without members, there can be no quorum.  Without a quorum, there’s no business. There’s no board.

This summer, in order to cover for the failure of the FOID gun control scheme to prevent the Independence Day massacre in Highland Park, the Illinois State Police filed for emergency rulemaking to allow them to revoke FOID cards more easily. WREX had a story back in July about the change that explains it nicely.

SPRINGFIELD, Il. —The Illinois State Police (ISP), under the direction of Governor Pritzker, submitted an emergency rule change to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office implementing broader use of clear and present danger reports that can bar applicants from receiving a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card or revoke a current FOID card.

The rule change allows for the use and maintenance of historic clear and present danger information even if the subject was not actively seeking or holding a FOID card at the time a Clear and Present Danger report was made and allows for use of these reports in possible future evaluations. 

Since 2013, administrative rules have unnecessarily limited and complicated the ability of the Illinois State Police to consider Clear and Present Danger information over time. For example, the former administrative rule required a Clear and Present Danger to be “impending”, “imminent”, “substantial” or “significant.” Clear and Present Danger under state law however is more broadly defined requiring “physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior…”

Clear and present danger reports are made by physicians, clinical psychologists, qualified examiners, school administrators, and law enforcement.

This emergency rule will now allow the Illinois State Police to consider a broader range of information by simply applying the statutory definition of Clear and Present Danger. These emergency rules also will clarify ISP’s authority to use and retain Clear and Present Danger reports to the fullest extent allowed by state and federal law.

So, “allowing” the ISP to “consider a broader range of information” has been aggressively used by J.B. Pritzker’s state cops to revoke a whole lot of people for stuff ten, twenty and even thirty-plus years ago.  Some might even say they’re abusing their newly created “authority.”  How, you ask?

How about the fact that a Decatur, IL police officer, recovering at home after being shot in the line of duty early this year, got one of those revocation letters.  Why?  Because she sought treatment for an eating disorder years ago while in college.

Thanks to the governor not naming a board to hear appeals from her, she and thousands of other people stripped of their gun rights without one bit of due process have little real process to reclaim those rights.  So they wait.

News of this has gotten out and some media outlets are picking up on this.

The Center Square was first to investigate after I mentioned this in a radio interview.  They then published this story.

(The Center Square) – There are no members appointed to the board that is set to field appeals from Illinoisans who have had their gun privileges revoked by the state.

Illinois law requires anyone who wants to buy or own guns or ammo to have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card issued by Illinois State Police. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said state police have been busy confiscating FOID cards from those the state determines can’t have one…

ISP said earlier this month they have conducted more than 200 FOID enforcement details with more than 1,000 individuals surrendering their FOID cards and weapons.

But John Boch, with the gun-rights group Guns Save Life, said while there’s a FOID appeals board in state statute, the governor has not appointed anyone to field challenges to revoked privileges.

“Governor Pritzker and his friends in the legislature that are leading our state have done a fine job basically taking people’s FOID cards away without any due process at all,” Boch told WMAY.

State law says an aggrieved party can appeal to the ISP director. Starting Jan. 1, 2023, they can appeal to the FOID Card Review Board. The board was created by state statute Jan. 1, 2022. But nobody has been appointed to the board. Pritzker didn’t say why he hasn’t appointed any board members when asked about the issue Thursday. 

The bottom line is gun owners in Illinois have good reason not to trust Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and under Pritzker’s leadership, they may not trust the Illinois State Police either.

Fortunately, thanks to the Bruen case coming down, I think we’re going to have a very satisfactory resolution to this mess long before we’re all eating tapioca pudding in a nursing home.


First Uvalde School Massacre Lawsuit Names Daniel Defense, Firequest International, and a Local Gun Shop

uvalde police school shooting
Courtesy Austin American-Statesman

Lawyers seeking a massive payday have filed the first lawsuit in the aftermath of the Uvalde School Massacre earlier this year.  The attorneys have employed the “sue in depth” strategy, naming ten defendants including AR maker Daniel Defense, as well as the maker of an aftermarket trigger that was installed on the killer’s rifle, as well as naming the gun shop where the gun was purchased it the lawsuit.

One defendant not mentioned was the source of income which allowed a kid working part-time in a fast food restaurant to accumulate enough money to afford thousands of dollars in guns, magazines, ammo and holographic gun sights.

The New York Post has the news of the latest lawfare being waged against the gun community:

The families of three children who survived the massacre at Robb Elementary School have become the first to file a federal lawsuit in connection with the mass shooting, which left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in Del Rio, Texas, names 10 defendants in total, including the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Pete Arredondo, the district’s since-fired chief of police, and Robb Elementary School principal, Mandy Gutierrez. It also takes aim at gun manufacturer Daniel Defense LLC, Firequest International Inc., which designed an accessory trigger system the gunman used; and Oasis Outback LLC, where the alleged gunman, 18-year-old [Scumbag’s name redacted] purchased his firearm…

“We are after accountability and damages, and because my plaintiffs are young, they will have to deal with the trauma of what they went through,” attorney Stephanie Sherman said. “It’s just a perfect soup of lack of care, and I can’t help but think this poor community was not protected in any way.”

“Not protected in any way,” she said. In other news, water is wet. At the same time it wasn’t Daniel Defense’s fault, nor that of the gun shop where the gun was legally purchased.

Whether people realize it or not, Texas law allows school staff to pack heat.  However, the Uvalde School District chose to make their properties “gun-free zones.”  (And even after this spring’s massacre, they’ve retained the policy for the 2022-23 school year that worked so well in the past… see page 63.)  Hence, no one inside that school had the tools to mount a defense of the children who were there.

And then there’s the matter of the Uvalde Schools PD standing around waiting for “resources” while the killer continued to massacre kids, and then for a while longer to let many of the wounded bleed to death.

Apparently the legal team representing the three victims thought they had an easier chance to score big bucks suing a gun manufacturer than the officers who watched – literally watched – the killer walk into the school carrying a long gun and then stand around as he killed his victims.

Notice at the very beginning of the clip the two Uvalde PD officers standing around on the right side of the frame, not challenging the rifle-toting kid. Not drawing their weapons and shooting at him, but standing there as the killer walked inside.

The whole thing is sickening. Which is why it’s in our best interests as parents to take a proactive approach with our own kids’ schools to make sure they have the best practice policies and procedures to mitigate the risk and protect our kids from another lunatic like the one in Uvalde.  Again, the life you save by doing so might be your son’s or daughter’s.

Meanwhile, ambulance-chasing lawyers will no doubt file additional lawsuits relating to the utter failure of school security in Uvalde, Texas.


Gusterson: All Gun Owners Should Bear the Cost of Shooting Victims’ Medical Expenses

cash money hand


Gun owners have managed to externalize the medical costs of their gun ownership to the rest of us.

This is not a gun control proposal, but a proposal to more fairly distribute the costs of America’s love affair with guns. It might even have beneficial implications for gun safety: By increasing the costs of gun ownership, it might encourage Americans to buy fewer guns. And it might encourage gun owners, seeking discounts, to take more gun safety classes, or to buy gun safes for their homes, in which roughly 4.6 million minors live with unsecured guns. 

Gun insurance would probably not have averted the carnage of Uvalde or Buffalo. But it may mitigate the other 99 percent of gun accidents and violence in this country. If Americans have indeed decided, as a matter of principle, that they want to live in a society with more guns than people and few restrictions on who can own them, then the least we can do is make fair provisions for the innocents who will inevitably suffer the consequences of this choice.

— Hugh Gusterson in Shooting Survivors Shouldn’t Pay Their Own Medical Bills

Gun Meme of the Day: Gun Vote Edition


Posting this one today as it’s related to this article from a couple hours ago. You gotta gun vote, y’all!


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Asked About Hurricane Ian Looters, Notes ‘You Loot, We Shoot’ Warnings

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has his hands full with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. It pretty much trashed southwest Florida and damaged homes all the way across the central part of the state.

As business owners and residents begin the massive cleanup process, he’s stressing law and order. And when discussing those who would take advantage of the destruction, the Governor noted that property owners had written “You loot, we shoot” on the plywood used to board up their buildings.

Florida Politics covered it . . .

As Florida recovers from Hurricane Ian, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a moral plea against looting that appears to have some firepower behind it.

Speaking near Fort Myers in the leveled community of Matlacha on Friday, the Republican Governor relayed one sight he saw in Punta Gorda in neighboring Charlotte County the day prior.

“They boarded up all the businesses, and there are people that wrote on their plywood, ‘you loot, we shoot,’” DeSantis said. “At the end of the day, we are not going to allow lawlessness to take advantage of this situation. We are a law-and-order state, and this is a law-and-order community, so do not think that you’re going to go take advantage of people who’ve suffered misfortune.”

You don’t hear many Governors mention “you loot, we shoot” these days. But DeSantis isn’t like many governors and given the reality on the ground, there’s no reason to play around with vultures who would take advantage of a mass tragedy.

Alleged looters in custody in Ft. Myers. Screen capture by Boch via Twitter.

The story continued . . .

The Governor also commented on the grit and resilience of the community and called for “all hands on deck” regarding the rule of law. However, his dispatch was choppy, making the overall statement unclear.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said he had spoken at length to Attorney General Ashley Moody, who was also on the scene.

 “We are not going to tolerate — and I mean zero tolerance — when we say anyone that thinks they’re going to thrive on the residents of this county or state when we just took a horrific hit, I can guarantee you that is not going to happen,” Marceno said.

Scam artists will likely not get off easy either, judging from the law-and-order tone from the state officials.

The snowflakes writing the story to wrung their hands over DeSantis’ choice of words.

“You loot, we shoot,” isn’t even new in the hurricane context, used when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But others see the phrase as stoking violence and division.

Violence and division? The only division will be between looters and law-abiding residents and business owners.

Silencer Review: Dead Air Sierra-5 5.56 NATO Suppressor


Launched this spring at the NRA Show, Dead Air’s new Sierra-5 silencer is a compact, heavy-duty suppressor designed for hard use on .223/5.56 firearms. Available from Silencer Shop with either a KeyMo mount system or a Xeno mount system, I got my hands on one of each and ran them through their paces over the last couple months.

With a pinned and welded KeyMo flash hider already installed on the muzzle of my Radian Weapons Model 1, it was the perfect host to test out a Sierra-5.

I visited The Range at Austin to do some initial testing with the new Atibal HYBRID12 1-12x scope and the Black Collar Arms forged carbon fiber cantilever scope mount, and put a bunch of rounds through the Sierra-5 at the same time.

While ear pro is necessary at the indoor range whether suppressed or not, I was still able to recognize the nice tone and solid suppression of the Sierra-5 along with the complete and total lack of concussion normally associated with firing 5.56 indoors.

As you can see in the photo above, the nice little Dead Air silencer maintained the excellent accuracy of this rifle. Despite popular myth it’s rare that a silencer degrades accuracy and, actually, more common that they improve accuracy. The Sierra-5 wasn’t an outlier.

Both of Dead Air’s mounting systems also provide a fully repeatable return to zero should you remove and re-install the suppressor. Any shift to your point of impact with and without a suppressor can vary wildly depending on the host firearm, but as long as any shift is perfectly consistent you won’t encounter issues. The Sierra-5 is consistent.

At least that’s the case with Dead Air’s mounting systems (Xeno seen above). A great feature of the Sierra-5 is that it’s threaded at its base with the now near-universal “HUB” mount aka 1.375×24 aka 1-3/8×24 thread size. There are many dozens of mounting systems available for this thread pitch, from QD to direct thread to pistol boosters and so much more.

Frankly, I wouldn’t complain if Dead Air also sold the Sierra-5 completely sans mount. Or maybe with just a 1/2×28 fixed mount. Though I’m a perfectly decent fan of both their KeyMo and Xeno systems, I’d rather not be forced to pay for one of these systems if I’ve already standardized my gun collection on something else.

If you’ve really standardized, there’s a pre-drilled hole at the base of the Sierra-5 that can be used to pin and weld a mount to the silencer. Presumably most people doing this would also be pinning and welding said mount to their firearm in order to use the Sierra-5 as legal barrel length (e.g. my Radian seen in this review has its KeyMo flash hider welded to its 14.5-inch barrel to meet the 16-inch legal length).

There’s space inside the base of the Sierra-5 for lots of different muzzle brakes, compensators, and flash hiders. The suppressor’s blast baffle is nice and beefy with interesting ribs down the sides that I don’t think I’ve seen before.

With Stellite baffles fully welded in a 17-4 PH stainless steel body, the Dead Air Sierra-5 is full-auto rated with no barrel length restrictions. And, yes, I fired a few mags of full-auto .223 through a 14.5-inch upper on the Xeno Sierra-5 and it shrugged it off like a champ.

Worth noting, the Xeno mount also didn’t seize up. Once the suppressor stopped smoking and cooled down I was able to unscrew it — righty loosey! — from the flash hider without issue. It’s clear that the taper section in front of the threads sealed up flawlessly and kept the threads perfectly clean.

At the same time, over the course of three or four full heat cycles across as many range sessions and one hunting trip, the Sierra-5 never came loose on me.

Last weekend both the machine gun and the Radian Model 1 accompanied a few friends and me out to Lonesome Boar Adventures in Mountain Home, Texas for some hunting. My buddy Peter chose to run the Radian most of the trip and he took a nice hog from about 140 yards.

Out on the hunt, in a deer blind, and behind the ranch house, the Sierra-5 sounded great. For a compact suppressor it performs extremely well and it has a solid, pleasing tone to it with no high-pitched pinging like many 5.56 suppressors have. If it weren’t for the supersonic crack of the projectile, the sound would be all low and dull and about as good as it gets.

Front caps are compatible with all of Dead Air’s R-Series caps including their E-Brake.

The flash hider front cap included with every Sierra-5 proved itself highly effective. In some slow-mo video I took at The Range Austin as well as out at Lonesome Boar Adventures shooting in near-dark conditions, no flash was visible.

Apparently the Sierra-5’s knurling is a topic of some debate, but I love it. I think it looks great, plus it stays looking great — much better than smooth Cerakote, which always looks dirty, scuffed, greasy, and uneven once you start using a silencer decently hard — and it provides truly fantastic grip on the silencer for removing and installing. Dead Air also says that the increased surface area improves and speeds up heat dissipation compared to their tests of the same silencer but without the knurling.

One more benefit to the knurled texture: it better secures suppressor heat covers. As someone who has experienced a suppressor wrap walking off the front of a silencer quite a few times, this is a welcome touch.

A couple months and a couple hundred rounds later and I’m a big fan of the Dead Air Sierra-5. It’s everything you want in a hard-use, minimalistic AR-15 silencer and nothing you don’t.

The Sierra-5 is compact, yet big enough to be quiet. It has no rate of fire or barrel length restrictions. It has the universal HUB (1.375×24) mount size. It’s quite modest in how it increases backpressure on a gun like my Radian, which does not have an adjustable gas system. The Sierra-5 also looks good and feels good in the hand. Plus it’s backed by a solid warranty.

If you’re looking for a dedicated .223/5.56/AR-15 silencer, the Dead Air Sierra-5 is a rock solid choice.

Specifications: Dead Air Sierra-5 (KeyMo and Xeno)

CALIBER RATING: 5.56 NATO, 224 Valkyrie
ENERGY RATING: 2200+ ft lbs
LENGTH (NO ADAPTER): 4.87 inches
LENGTH (W/KEYMO): 6.27 inches
LENGTH (W/XENO): 5.72 inches
DIAMETER: 1.5 inches
WEIGHT (NO ADAPTER): 10.8 ounces
WEIGHT (W/KEYMO): 15.4 ounces
WEIGHT (W/XENO): 13.3 ounces
MATERIALS: Stellite® baffles, stainless steel
FINISH: Black Cerakote®
USAGE: Ideal for heavy firing schedules
MSRP (KEYMO): $929 (much less via Silencer Shop)
MSRP (XENO): $859 (much less via Silencer Shop)

Ratings (out of 5 stars):

Overall  * * * * 1/2
I have no complaints. This is an absolutely fantastic AR-15 suppressor. While I’m sure there’s a reason this isn’t the case, I’m going to go ahead and say anyway that I’d have given it 5 stars if it were tubeless. I.E. if the Stellite baffles were welded together and became their own tube, rather than doing a baffle stack with a tube over the top. It would, in theory, be lighter as well as quieter (more internal air volume). Yeah, I’m grasping at straws to come up with some way it could be improved for that perfect rating.


High Speed Gear Announces the New Better Inner Belt With Magnetic Buckle


From High Speed Gear . . .

High Speed Gear has announced the release of the Better Inner Belt, which provides the security of a traditional inner belt with the comfort and modern design of the Vigil EDC Belt.

Similar to the HSGI Vigil EDC, the Better Inner Belt comes with a low-profile magnetic buckle, that is designed to fit through most traditional belt loops. Available in both hook or loop with outward facing material; depending on the user’s preferred equipment. This feature makes it easy to don an outer belt.

HSGI continues to develop the highest quality products with end users in mind, to include law enforcement professionals, military service members and responsibly trained civilians. With the hook and loop outward facing material, the Better Inner Belt will prove a universal option for those looking to attach their full belt rig with ease.

“We left no stone unturned,” said Bill Babboni, Chief Operating Officer for High Speed Gear. “The market for an inner belt has needed something better for a long time, and we listened to our users. The team has worked diligently to ensure we’re releasing a long-lasting, superior product to what is already on the market. We’re excited for our customers to get their hands on the Better Inner Belt.”

The Better Inner Belt features multi-line stitching to ensure durability. All HSGI products are Made in the USA and Berry Compliant. This product will be offered in sizes small through 3XL and is available on the High Speed Gear website.

Price = $40

CNN Surprised By What We All Know: New Firearm Owners Are Heavily Liberal, Female, and Minority


As we’ve covered fairly heavily since the start of COVID times, lockdowns, pandemic insecurity, escalating crime, and the handcuffing of police put an afterburner on first-time firearm purchases. The last couple years have shattered all previous records for gun sales, but the story behind the story is a tough pill for The Left to swallow.

The anti-gun side of the body politic has always pushed a narrative that all those hundreds of millions of firearms in the U.S. are actually owned only by a small, extreme portion of the population that just keeps buying more and more and more guns.

This was never anywhere near as true as they wanted, but the tide has shifted so hard since early 2020 that even left-wing media outlets are admitting the truth: record gun sales have been driven by first-time gun owners who are heavily skewed female and/or minority.

From a September 27th article titled “Liberal, female and minority: America’s new gun owners aren’t who you’d think:”

[Mendez] convinced her wife to join her for a training session with Nguyen, who began LA Progressive Shooters in 2020.

“I never intended to become an instructor, but the need from the community was there,” Nguyen said. “And there’s also folks from my own liberal community who see me as, ‘oh you like guns you must be a gun nut.’ But that’s not really it at all.”

Nguyen says his clients are mostly liberal and from all backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations. He prides himself on creating an inclusive student base.

“The more I educate those who are formally anti-gun the more they actually realize that there’s more nuance to it,” he said.

Both Mendez and Regalado now have their own guns and are working toward getting their concealed carry permits. But they avoid talking about their guns with friends, who they say are firmly anti-gun.

“They’re really not open to understanding,” Mendez said. Adding that she feels more comfortable discussing her same-sex relationship with friends than her guns. “I definitely am more closeted being a gun owner, for fear of retaliation.”

Finding common ground at the range

Both Mendez and Regalado at first worried about the type of people they encounter at the gun range, many of whom, they say, advertise their conservative politics in what they’re wearing or listening to.

“It’s mostly all men, mostly all white men, older men like 70s, 80s,” Mendez said. “Seeing people looking at us, and kind of just staring… It always makes us more uncomfortable. Because we’re like, ‘oh my God are they going to come and tell us, like, get out of here… you don’t belong here.’”

Instead, they’ve gotten a different reaction.

“They’re like, ‘Hey, you’re doing well, but can I show you something that might help you more?,” Mendez said.

Mendez says not only has it changed her impression of those individuals, but she also believes it’s given some a different perception of people like her.

“When I (came) back the next day, (one of the men) was like, ‘Hey! I saw your wife out there – she looks nice. Tell her I said ‘hi’.”

Yeah. Welcome. The Second Amendment is for everyone and in my experience the “Pro 2A Community” is about as friendly, accommodating, welcoming, and helpful to folks interested in exercising their 2A rights as could be possible. I’ve never been exposed to a group of humans less concerned with the race, religion, sexual orientation, or other background or personal beliefs of people who want to join their group.

Exercise and protect your natural, unalienable, and constitutionally protected right to self defense. Improve your skills. Be safe and responsible. Be more self-sufficient and capable of protecting yourself, your family, and your community. Nobody cares who you date or what shade your skin is. Welcome. Help us stand up for the Second Amendment and individual liberty.

Nobody on our side of the aisle is surprised here. America’s new gun owners are exactly who we’d think, CNN.


Hunting Lessons Re-Learned in Africa

Image courtesy JWT. All rights reserved.

The shot looks great in the video.

A trio of Mountain Reedbuck rush up a steep hillside; the border of South Africa and Lesotho.

Image courtesy JWT. All rights reserved.

A man drops, oddly crouched with a rifle on the opposite side of the canyon.

“Last one, last one!,” a rushed whisper from the PH.

“I need a distance,” from the man with the rifle.

“200, 220, 230,” from the PH.

Just 10 seconds had passed from the moment they saw the animal. The females are already out of sight, the lone male soon to follow.

A shot.

The reedbuck tumbles down the hillside and rests, still, white belly up.

The PH smiles with joy. Congratulations. Hand-shaking. They both stand up.

The camera turns off.

Then everything turns to shit.

Image courtesy JWT. All rights reserved.

While Jacques, my PH with Ndloti Safaris, and I are celebrating, Ron, the owner of Tactical Fitness and my hunting companion on this trip, puts down the camera and stares in the distance.

He’s the first to see the reedbuck get up and run.

The reedbuck was more than 500 yards away by the time I got back into the glass. We all saw the same thing.

The massive red gaping wound was obvious. A strike from the 28 Nosler cartridge created an exit wound so large we could actually see the bones of the shoulder articulate as the animal ran.

And run it did. Impossibly fast, impossibly far, right over a hill and out of sight.

No more smiles of joy. No more congratulations. Hand-shaking turned to hand-wringing.

We had just lost the last animal of our safari.

Mistakes were made. The first one started before the shot even occurred.

The distance call didn’t account for the high angle. I didn’t change my holds for the 6,500ft higher elevation than my original zero, and I didn’t know the round I was shooting for this one shot was moving 100 FPS faster than I had programmed for.

That series of beginner’s mistakes from a seasoned hunter meant that a shot that would have been a bit high was now 4” higher than that.

The bullet struck the baseball-sized no-man’s land between the top of the lungs and the bottom of the spine. The temporary cavitation had knocked the animal down, but clearly not out.

The next mistake was the biggest.

It’s not dead until it’s dead. I should have stayed in the glass and watched it lay there in case I needed to put another round in it.

Image courtesy JWT, All rights reserved.

Given the size of the property and our position on the other side of the canyon, it took some time to drive over to the last place we had seen the reedbuck. Once there, and with less than an hour of daylight left on my last full day in the country, we realized the animal could have gone a number of directions without us seeing it, including through a portion of the property that would likely fence in the cattle, but would do little to nothing to hold in our quarry.

If he went that way, he was likely in Lesotho, and gone. If he went any other way, he was fenced in. Fenced into a single high fence pen spanning thousands of acres.

Jacques came up with a plan. We’d take the half hour to drive back to the lodge, get a quick dinner, and return to hunt the night with thermal optics.

If you’ve never been on the southern African plains at night, it’s a treat. The diversity and sheer amount of wildlife moving at night is unparalleled.

But not this night.

The south wind blew hard, dropping the temperatures and blasting anything unprotected with gusts near 30mph.

Everything was hunkered down for the night, and nothing but the wind was moving.

The weather forecasts gave us much of the same throughout the night, so we decided to get a few hours sleep and get back at it in the daylight.

It was 6 hours from the moment we woke up until the time I had to be on a plane back home.

But now, at least we had the right direction.

A couple of years ago, I taught Ron my method of tracking. Whereas I forgot my own teachings, Ron didn’t. He went back to where we saw the animal last, got down on his hands and knees, and found one single drop of blood among the stone and grass.

Image courtesy JWT. All rights reserved.

That single drop of blood gave us the reedbuck’s direction, and told us he was almost certainly still in the Free State of South Africa.

We all spent the next 4 hours walking up and down the hills in that direction. With the wound we saw, he was very likely dead, his small and well camouflaged body tucked into the bushes.

Image courtesy JWT. All rights reserved.

With five men now looking, we covered a lot of ground, but to no avail. Half an hour is all we had left.

My shame at losing the animal did nothing to strengthen my hope, but Jacques’ doggedness and his supreme confidence that we would find the animal lifted my spirits.

I was checking for a dead reedbuck behind some bushes when Jacques stopped walking and brought the binoculars to his eyes. Turning to me, wide eyed, he said, “It’s him.”

And it was. From 150 yards away, the red wound on his shoulder was a beacon, if, yet again, a quickly fleeing beacon.

Image courtesy JWT. All rights reserved.

Jacques dropped to the ground and I dropped beside him, using his leg for support.

The reedbuck was running downward this time, back into a different portion of the same canyon as before.

“Now Jon. There’s no time!” from Jacques.

A shot.

The reedbuck tumbles down the hillside and rests. This time upside down, caught by the base of a small tree.

I chamber another round, and watch.

The animal that was impossibly alive is now, to my mind, just as impossibly dead.

Yon, our young Zulu tracker sprinted up the canyon wall, hoisted the prey on his shoulders, and was back up by our side even before we could get the rig over.

We all admired the animal with awe. He had run a full 3 miles from the point of impact to this spot, with a massive chunk taken from his shoulder. I put a bit of sweet forb in his mouth and said a prayer of thanks.

Image courtesy JWT. All rights reserved.

Many large, beautiful, and expensive animals would fall during that safari, but none made me doubt, or smile, like that Mountain Reedbuck.


SAF Sues to Block Connecticut’s ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

ar-15 assault weapon AK
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

From the Second Amendment Foundation . . .

The Second Amendment Foundation today filed suit in federal district court, challenging the ban on so-called “assault weapons” in Connecticut, and asking for declaratory and injunctive relief.

SAF is joined by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and three private citizens, Eddie Grant, Jr., Jennifer Hamilton, and Michael Stiefel. Named as defendants are Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, plus James Rovella, commissioner of the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection; Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin and several other officials. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Doug Dubitsky of North Windham, Conn., Craig C. Fishbein of Wallingford, Conn., and Cameron L. Atkinson of New Haven. 

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. 

Connecticut’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” dates back to 1993. The state criminalizes the possession, sale or transfer of such firearms—about 160 guns named in four subsections—even though many of these guns are in common use across the country. 

“The ban was previously upheld, but that was before the Supreme Court handed down its Bruen ruling earlier this year,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “That landmark decision eliminated the ‘two-part test’ which included an interest-balancing provision that didn’t pass constitutional muster.”

According to the lawsuit, the current ban deprives “responsible citizens of their Second Amendment rights under the guise of providing a panacea for social problems that Connecticut remains unable to solve.” 

Gottlieb said there is no historical foundation for such a ban, and the complaint actually details the historical development of firearms including repeating rifles developed and manufactured in Connecticut and elsewhere. The lawsuit also mentions incidents in which modern semiautomatic rifles were used by private citizens to stop violent crimes.

US Senate Candidate Mandela Barnes ‘Could Not Care Less About a 2nd Amendment ‘Right”

Mandela Barnes
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, a classic millennial, loves social media.

Indeed, Barnes — a Democrat challenging Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron  Johnson — has tweeted more than 18,400 times since joining Twitter a decade ago, an average of nearly five tweets a day…

“We should drastically reimagine society, our communities, and what quality of life actually means in a moment like this,” Barnes tweeted in March 2020, just as coronavirus was starting to spread.

Barnes once said he “really could not care less about a 2nd Amendment ‘right’” to bear arms.

— Daniel Bice, Bice: On Twitter, free-wheeling Mandela Barnes called Trump a ‘Russian spy’ and rejected George Washington as a top president