Can’t Make It Up

Stuff You Probably Didn’t Know, And Other Tales
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Some of what follows will be unbelievable, Dave cautions.
That’s because it’s true.

When’s the last time you heard of a sheriff getting an award for not enforcing the law?

It happened last month in Livingston County, Mich. According to WILX News, which suspiciously did not identify him by name, Sheriff Michael Murphy and other county officials were honored at an event in Howell for — are you sitting down? — refusing to enforce the state’s restrictive gun control laws championed by Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Adding to the oddball nature of this news, the sheriff reportedly didn’t even attend.

It all began last year when, according to the report, Livingston County “declared itself a ‘constitutional county’.” The board of commissioners took the vote after Whitmer proposed a “red flag” law (also known as Extreme Risk Protection Order, or “ERPO”). Livingston is also a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.” Sheriff Murphy reportedly said he would not enforce what WILX called “gun safety laws,” which — as Insider readers know — translates to gun control laws.

A few years ago, when Democrats took control of the Virginia Legislature, lots of towns and some counties declared themselves 2A Sanctuaries. The gun control crowd and their media mouthpieces freaked. But more than three years later, the nation is still here, those sanctuary announcements did not result in spikes in crime, and the good guys all behaved themselves.

9th Circuit Panel Smackdown

More than a year ago, the Second Amendment Foundation and several other groups did something the establishment media didn’t want to recognize for what it was. They filed a federal lawsuit against the State of California for trying to enforce an anti-First Amendment law.

The statute prohibited advertising firearms in a publication titled Junior Shooters, on the grounds that these ads would be “attractive to minors” and therefore raise their desire to own guns.

SAF is joined in the case by Junior Sports Magazines, the California Youth Shooting Sports Association, Redlands California Youth Clay Shooting Sports, California Rifle & Pistol.

Association, CRPA Foundation, Gun Owners of California and Raymond Brown, a private citizen.

The appeals court panel sided with the gun rights groups. Circuit Judge Kenneth K. Lee, a Donald Trump appointee, wrote the opinion, noting, “This case is not about whether children can buy firearms. (They cannot under California law.) Nor is this case about whether minors can legally use firearms. (California allows minors under adult supervision to possess and use firearms for hunting, target practice, and other activities.) And this case is not about whether California has tools to combat the scourge of youth gun violence. (It does.)”

“Rather,” the judge continued, “this case is about whether California can ban a truthful ad about firearms used legally by adults and minors — just because the ad “reasonably appears to be attractive to minors,’ … Under our First Amendment jurisprudence, states can ban truthful and lawful advertising only if it “materially” and “directly” advances a substantial government interest and is no more extensive than necessary. California likely cannot meet this high bar.”

In a concurring opinion, Judge Lawrence VanDyke, another Trump appointee (elections do matter), added this: “California wants to legislate views about firearms … They may dream that someday everyone will be repulsed by the thought of using a firearm for lawful purposes such as hunting and recreation. But just as surely some of California’s citizens disagree with that view. Many hope their sons and daughters will learn to responsibly use firearms for lawful purposes … And the State of California may not attempt to reduce the demand for lawful conduct by suppressing speech favoring that conduct while permitting speech in opposition. That is textbook viewpoint discrimination.”

Fact Checking

Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler has a good reputation for not playing favorites. He goes after everybody. He skewered Joe Biden over repeated claims the Second Amendment prohibited people from owning cannons at the time of the Founding.

So, when he recently went after Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for claiming more children die by gunfire than in car crashes, it was worthy of attention. Long story short, Kessler wrote, “When you focus only on children — 17 and younger — motor vehicle deaths (broadly defined) still rank No. 1, as they have for six decades, though the gap is rapidly closing.”

He continued, noting, “By including 18- and 19-year-olds, excluding infants under age 1 and comparing firearm deaths with only vehicle crashes, Johns Hopkins reports that in 2021, there were 4,733 firearm deaths of “children and teens” compared with 4,048 deaths from motor vehicle crashes.

“But by counting only children 17 and under,” he explained, “including infants under the age of 1, and comparing with all motor vehicle deaths, the CDC data shows that in 2021, there were 2,590 firearm deaths of children, compared with 2,687 motor vehicle deaths.”

Take Their Word For It

Emma Brown, recently installed executive director of the Giffords gun prohibition lobbying group, was profiled by The Guardian, and you better pay attention.

The British news organization noted, “If Biden and his party prove successful this year, gun-safety advocates are hopeful that those victories will soon translate into legislative change. In 2022, Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, marking the first time in nearly 30 years that a major gun-safety law was enacted at the federal level. The law enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21 and expanded gun restrictions for those convicted of domestic abuse while investing heavily in community violence intervention programs.”

Translation: Anti-gunners (they are not “gun safety advocates”) have gotten some of what they want from Biden. They want more.

A recent mountain lion attack in Dave’s region reminded him
it was time to hit the range and re-check the accuracy of his two
favorite trail guns, a Model 57 S&W in .41 Magnum and a
Model 19 snubby in .357 Magnum.

Several months ago, this column discussed relatively rare mountain lion attacks, with attention to possible calibers and loads for defense against wild felines.

Those of us living in the West accept the increasing possibility of an encounter with a four-legged predator. And sure enough, it happened again last month, in essentially the same general area as a fatal attack in May 2018, both within a few miles from where I live.

A 60-year-old woman, one of five cyclists riding along a forest trail, not far from the gun range where I do much of my shooting, was attacked by a young cougar. One of her companions trapped the cat under a mountain bike (very gutsy move) until wildlife officers arrived to shoot the cat. She was taken to a Seattle hospital and released.

It was stunning how many people came out in defense of the cat, arguing the critter should have tranquilized and moved to another area, rather than killed.

As American Handgunner’s Massad Ayoob reminded an audience at the Gun Rights Policy Conference last fall, self-defense involves more than just fighting back against violent criminals. Nowadays, it could also involve defense against an animal.

Coincidentally, one of my neighbors recently reported, and photographed, a good-sized bobcat walking down a road a few hundred feet from my backyard. Well, it was back to the range to check the sights on a couple of my favorite trail guns.

At 15 yards, Dave put five shots into this cluster. He was shooting 215-grain hard cast LSWC bullets from Rim Rock over 16.5 grains of Alliant 2400.

Rare Attacks, But …

Whenever there is a fatal, or at least injurious attack by an animal on a human, it’s become almost obligatory for the state wildlife agency — regardless the state — to make sure to get this right up front: “Attacks on humans are rare.” This is correct.

I did a little homework and found a listing of fatal cougar attacks in North America dating back about 150 years. The earliest recorded fatal attack was in August 1868 when an unidentified 3-year-old was killed, according to an old newspaper report.

Out of a 4-inch barrel, this velocity is adequate for
stopping bad behavior in four-legged predators.

It’s not just a western thing. They’ve had black bear problems in New Jersey. Down south, wild hogs are a headache. A Montana hunter was mauled by a grizzly last year and in 2021, a woman was killed by a grizzly near the town of Ovando.

Cause and Effect?

Hunting mountain lions with hounds in Washington was outlawed by citizen initiative in 1996. It has been illegal to hunt cougars in California for decades. Cougar populations have rebounded.

Many in the outdoor community recommend making lots of noise, waving arms, yelling and/or using bear spray. But what if that doesn’t work? The victim in this story was with four other people. That many humans in close proximity should (theoretically, anyway) spook a big cat. Sometimes cougars make up their own rules.

Look closely. Five rounds here including two through
one jagged hole. That’ll have to do!

In my 54 years in journalism, I cannot recall a single incident in which anyone who killed an attacking wild animal or a vicious domestic dog ever faced criminal charges. It would be hard to imagine a jury bringing back a guilty verdict against someone who killed an animal in self-defense or defense of another person, especially if the victim is a child.

Montana Mail

“Dave Workman, I like what you have to say. I have very similar views on practically every gun/shooting subject you write about. I don’t know why I feel the way I do, but I like revolvers more than I do the autos. The revolvers feel better in my hands. But I have shot the autos, that I own, so much I am confident in an emergency with either type firearm.

My church is a large church, and it has a large parking lot. For some reason I am thinking that if someone comes to harm those of us present and the shooting begins in the parking lot, I’d rather have my 4 inch, M-66 Smith than either my .40 cal. Smith or the .45 cal. 1911 because I think I could be more accurate at a distance with the revolver than I could with either of the autos. Some days I wear an auto and some days I wear a revolver. Since the chance of ever using one of the carry guns is so small, maybe it doesn’t matter which one I have.

I too am a fan of the Rem .41 mag. I have two Smiths and one Ruger Blackhawk in that caliber. All three have 6” barrels. I have killed two deer with one of the M-57s. I shot one deer with a hard cast bullet and one with a JHP. The one shot with the JHP was a large mule deer at about 50 yards. That deer did not take one step after being hit. It “somersaulted” down the hill head over rear end, nor rolling on its sides. Craziest thing I think I have ever seen in the woods and mountains.

I live in western Montana, so our weather is not that different from yours. Sorry you live in such an unfriendly state. Come on over to (Montana). You will be welcomed here.

Keep on writing the stuff you write. I like it.

— Philip Gregory

Dave replies: Phil, you cover a lot of ground here. I really enjoy western Montana and I’d love to spend more time there. As for revolvers over semi-autos, I’m known to carry one or the other, depending upon the situation. My fondness for the .41 Magnum dates back decades, and I’ve never been disappointed in its capabilities. Thanks so much for your generous remarks, and for reading American Handgunner and GUNS. Stay safe and shoot straight!