Tuesday, July 18, 2006

From the Pages of Not the Boston Globe

Needless to say, this is not exactly typical of stories you're likely to find gracing the front page of the Boston Globe's website, boston.com:

Annie, get your Glock

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Devon Chester, a petite 24-year-old in a pink sweater and designer jeans, plants her white Puma sneakers a little more than shoulder-width apart, squares her body, leans back slightly, aims her targeting laser, and empties the magazine of her Glock 9 mm pistol -- bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang! -- into the paper target 10 yards away.


It's Sunday evening -- Ladies Night at the Manchester Firing Line -- and Chester and Armstrong-Levanthal are here to take advantage of free range time from 5 to 8 p.m. The Firing Line, a bunker like facility across from a little league field on a quiet residential street, started Ladies Night in 1999 to attract women who may never have visited a gun range or pulled a trigger before .


Thanks largely to the popular Ladies Night promotion, women now represent about a quarter of the Firing Line's business, says owner Jim McLoud -- a veritable coup for the testosterone-driven gun range, where the only woman on a staff of six full-time and five part-time employees is a back-office accountant.

"Very few women were coming in before," McLoud says. "Now, a lot of the women are police officers and security guards. More women are going into that market. A lot of women bring in their children [Gasp! Oh, the horror! - ed.] because they want them to learn [how to shoot] right; they don't want them to learn from their friends at school."

Wow. Parental responsibility and educating one's children about the safe and responsible use of firearms...what a radical concept!

Naturally, the spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Ownership has nothing intelligent to say on the subject. So, as is the norm, he spouts out something mind-bogglingly idiotic and meaningless instead.

Zach Ragbourn , a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence , the country's major gun control organization, calls outreach efforts like the Firing Line's Ladies Night cynical attempts to expand the market.

"We don't think it's a gun issue and we don't think it's a gender issue," Ragbourn says. "[The gun industry] is selling a commodity, and they'll do whatever it takes. My boss likes to say that next year they'll target left-handed midgets and have Left-Handed Midgets Night at the gun range."

If that's your best game, Zach, bring it. I'm here all day.

And, of course, the Globe has to ruin an otherwise well-written piece with a sizeable dose of their own idiotic blather.

It's no accident that the Firing Line is in New Hampshire and so many of its customers are from Massachusetts. New Hampshire has some of the most permissive gun laws in New England, while Massachusetts prohibits any "assault weapon or large capacity feeding device [more than 10 rounds]."

No mention of lawfully-owned "pre-ban" high-capacity magazines (or fixed tube-fed magazines that can hold more than ten rounds and are entirely legal). I find it simply shocking that the writers at the Boston Globe would miss those points.

(The Brady Campaign gives Massachusetts an A- for its gun laws. It gives New Hampshire a D-.)

Needless to say, these silly "grades" are not based on the rates of gun-related crime in their respective states.

That means no AK-47s and definitely no M-60s.

That's strange, I've fired a 100% lawfully (and privately) owned, fully-automatic AK-47 in Massachusetts before. And, there are several Class III-licensed ranges in the state, as well, where the public can rent and use such weapons. Again, I'm stunned that the Boston Globe would prove themselves to be factually incorrect when reporting on this subject.

If you want target practice, stay in Massachusetts; if you want to play Rambo, go to New Hampshire.

Yeah, if you want target practice, stay in Massachusetts where it will cost you hundreds of dollars to get the State to grant you permission to even go shopping for a target shooting pistol. Only to find out, when you get to your local gun shop, that most target pistols are barred from being sold in the Commonwealth, on account of Attorney General Tom Reilly's need to "protect" you from such dangerous killing machines.

As Ladies Night draws to an end, the crowd at the Firing Line starts to thin out, but the Somerville couple who had never fired a gun before are still in their lane, having traded out their medium-weight Smith & Wesson revolver for an Uzi -- an Israeli submachine gun that was illegal in the United States from 1994 to 2003, when President Clinton's assault weapons ban, which prohibited most automatic weapons, quietly expired.

OK, do I have to state the obvious?

The federal "assault weapons" ban that expired in 2004, had no bearing whatsoever, on the sale or possession of automatic weapons.

And, as for the Globe's claim that this ban "quietly" expired? I'll wager no one at the Globe watched the "eloquent discourse" of Senators Kennedy and Feinstein on the floor of the senate in the days leading up to the vote that allowed the ban to sunset. There wasn't much "quiet" about it.

So, what started out as a well-written, and entertaining piece about firearms safety and the sheer fun that goes along with responsible firearms handling, deteriorates quite rapidly into the usual pack of lies and misinformation one would expect to find in a Brady Punch press release - kinda like frosting a cake with horseshit. Sure, the cake's in there somewhere, but who wants to eat it now?