Prague Twin

Friday, March 30, 2007

The 2nd Amendment

On my last day in the United States, I exercised my 2nd Amendment right to posses firearms. My uncle took me out shooting, and it was a blast (no pun intended). Here is what we shot...

This is the classic Smith and Wesson Model 15 revolver. It is a fine gun with a very smooth trigger. It is like butter.

Next we fired this CZ 52. It is a lot harder to squeeze the trigger on this semi-automatic pistol than on the Model 15, but I really liked it.

Moving on to the rifles, we started with the WWI era M95 Styer. It is Austrian made but is engraved with "Budapest" across the barrel. That is testament to it's age. The cartridges were as old as the rifle and huge. Oh, what a kick this baby delivered. I scared the hell out of myself every time I fired it, and that is with ear protection.

The M1 Garant was the standard issue rifle for American servicemen in WWII. The simplicity of design is matched only by the Kalishnikov or AK 47.

This Yugoslav SKS is the precursor to the AK 47. Still widely used by militias world wide.

Finally, we got to try out the classic M16 which is what U.S. servicemen are being issued today. The one we fired was actually an A 15 (civilian version) with an M 16 upper. The cartridges were the smallest of all the rifles, but the velocity of the bullet makes up for the lack of size. I was able to hit a bowling pin at 100 yards on my third shot. Not bad for a rookie. This rifle is light, accurate, and rather attractive if you ask me.

What impressed me about all of this was the lengths that my uncle had to go to to keep these guns in compliance with California gun laws. For example, the M 16 had to have a permanent magazine in the receiver and it had to be loaded from the top. How that stops crime, I have no idea. I can see why gun enthusiasts are against gun laws. They accomplish nothing but they sure do make life difficult for those of us who believe in the the 2nd amendment and the exercise thereof.


  • Welcome back. I don't think gun laws accomplish much in the way of crime prevention. I'm not interested in guns at all personally, but I think cracking down on guns instead of criminals is totally backwards.

    The State of Washington is probably about as liberal as California, but I think their gun laws are a lot looser.

    By Anonymous Tom Harper, at 8:21 PM  

  • Thanks Tom.

    I think you are right, although my uncle claims to have some statistics that prove that guns work for crime prevention.

    Just remember, guns don't kill people, Chuck Norris kills people!

    I can't believe Washington is as liberal as California, but what do I know?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:29 AM  

  • From what I heard, garand was a sweet weapon as far as shooting goes, but reloading if you didn't fire everything, was a bi0tch.

    I will take ak47 over m16 any day. ^_^

    By Anonymous romunov, at 7:20 PM  

  • Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. Let me add some comments. I really like the CZ 52 which is a very powerful handgun and stylish still. The M95 you pictured is a cut down version of the WWI rifle. I find it unpleasant to shoot as well. The Garand was a good weapon but the M 14 perfected it with a box clip for the magazine. I still can't score well shooting either, but then again I rarely practice. I think the AK 47 is the Kalishnikov, at least that's the guy the K stands for (the inventor of the AK) but perhaps I didn't interpret correctly your 'or'. The SKS is not a design along the way to the AK but the last of a line of semi auto full power rifles of which the best (before the SKS) was the Tokarev SVT 40. Nice shootin', Tex with the AR 15. I still think the little bullet is too little. If you can't legally use it to kill a deer, you shouldn't use it to kill a man. Finally, guns don't kill people, it's the bullets. Hope you had a safe trip back.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 11:18 PM  

  • Romunov,

    I didn't actually get to fire the AK so I can't make a decision on that. I've heard that criticism of the Garand as well, but I can't figure out why you need to reload if you still have cartriges in the gun.


    Yes, the AK 47 is the Kalisnokov. I should have written "otherwise known as." Thanks for the clarification, I'm pretty hopeless with the history of weapons.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:50 AM  

  • Of course, there is no doubt about it, that the personal protection and the safety of a person increases when arming him or her. And it's just not on a personal level where this blessed situation can be achieved.

    Take, for instance, all those nations that wisely invested in peace by buying all the guns and what nots to lead us into the peace and traquility. I am so relieved, that the U.S., China and Russia provide us such a feeling of security.

    Unfortunatly, there is stil work to be done to get every todler in America immediately with the arms programme. It is reckless to the extreme to leave them without adequate fire power during these dangerous times. What are those poor babies supposed to do if left totally unarmed and when their parents have all be gunned down by their neighbours. Give them enough at least to survive, bacause who's gonna keep this viable gun manufacturing going if the babies are gunned down before they are even able to lift up a shot gun?

    By Anonymous pekka, at 1:13 PM  

  • I think that former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani and former NYPD commissioner William Bratton (now LA police chief) would disagree with you about gun laws. They would say that gun laws, coupled with community policing techniques and the COMPSTAT system that helped track criminal activity, brought huge decreases in crime in NYC (and in particular, gun crimes.) I know that gun advocates argue that gun laws do nothing but keep guns out of the hands of honest people, since criminals can always get guns off the black market. But when access to guns is cut off by strict gun control in particular areas, it takes guns out of the hands of criminals as well.

    I think gun laws should be peculiar to the particular area. If people in Oregon or Missouri want to have few or no gun laws, that's cool. And if people in NYC want to have very strict gun laws, that's cool too. One thing I would have to say as a long-time New Yorker. The city is a helluva lot safer since the gun laws were strengthened. Now you could argue that the city is safer despite these measures (as some gun advocates do), but common sense and the statistic on gun crimes wouldn't bear that argument out.

    Peace. Good to have you back, pt.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 2:56 PM  

  • Pekka,

    Bawhahahahaha. That was hilarious! I see your point. However, keep in mind that during the cold war, when more weapons were available to both sides than any time in history, there was relative peace. It is the imbalance of power that leads to conflict.

    Also, I would ask if the Finns were armed when they fought off the Russians (with a little German help) and then the Germans in WWII? That is an honest question because I really don't know.


    Again, very good point. I don't think that unlimited access to guns is what anyone is after. It is the arbitrary gun laws in places like California that infuriate the enthusiasts. That and the hypocritical actions of people like Dianne Feinstein who has a concealed carry permit in her possession (and the pistol to go with it) as she marches into S.F. city hall to try to prevent others from getting the same thing.

    I wonder if Rudy is packing?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:27 AM  

  • Wow. Lots of comments on this subject. I enjoy firing on the range too. I had never fired a weapon before the army but found I had a talent for it. I trained first with the very nice but very heavy M14 automatic rifle which fires the 7.62 size round (like most did in the late 60's army). We were then introduced to the M16, much lighter with a smaller round - 5.56 I think and very accurate. I was rated expert on both.
    Later, in Vietnam I was able to use the M60 which also fires the 7.62 and even the M79 grenade launcher. I carried an M16, a small 32 caliber snub nose and even a CO2 bb pistol to kill rats!

    When I got home I felt naked without a gun so I bought a 22 pistol but that eventually was stolen and I have never owned a gun since.

    As far as the 2nd amendment, at this point in US history it doesn't really matter. Guns are so easy to get there that people will own them regardless of what the laws are. The borders are so wide open that keeping them out is impossible, even state to state. By the way, in a previous post on guns, I had done some research and found that most guns used in crimes are not purchased on the black market, but are from family, friends and gun shows. In any case, it is totally out of control there.
    I agree that guns do not kill people, the crazy assholes who use them do. I strongly disagree that gun ownership by private citizens actually reduces crime. I have never seen any stats to back that up. There are over 200 million guns in the US, mostly owned legally. If legal gun ownership reduced crime, your streets would not be as unsafe as they are.
    I prefer Singapore which has no guns and has very little crime (see my most recent crime post). It is much easier to control and enforce that here, and it makes for a much more civilized society.

    By Anonymous expatbrian, at 9:05 AM  

  • Brian,

    Thanks for your thoughtful and thought provoking comments.

    I guess the problem with gun laws is that people like my uncle would give up his guns should they be made illegal because he is law abiding, whereas the gang-bangers accross town would not.

    Also, I'm going to have to visit Singapore someday!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:07 AM  

  • PT, we were caught our pants down with Russians when they paid their unexpected visit. It was almost a scandal how unprepared Finland was to meet military challenges coming from anywhere else than maybe from Estonia. When I see your boys peppering the enemy with absolutely horrendous fire power and comparing that what the Finns had, I have to shake my head. Funny things is, though, that we eventually lost just as you certainly will. That is, if you haven't already.

    Having a big and powerful army might be good but it surely makes the military option so much more tempting to iron out your foreign policy wrinkles than if you didn't. On a personal level, you piss a Yank off and chaces are that he/she will do a Dick Chaney on you. In Finland, you just get a good old fashioned fist to your face. Call me a white flag waving Euro faggot but I prefere the fist.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 1:27 PM  

  • That's a good point about the hypocritical pols packing the firepower. I remember when a gun control advocate/liberal columnist was caught shooting an intruder in his house at night w/ a gun in D.C. (I think it was Carl Rowan and I think he shot the intruder, which was how the authorities nailed him w/ the illegal handgun.)

    You have to put your money where your mouth is. I own no guns, I don't like shooting them (though I have done so in the far distant past) and I pretty much like the way the laws are in NYC. As I say, if other people in other municipalities or states feel differently about the 2nd Amendment, that's absolutely fine w/ me.

    I never understood why Dems couldn't take that tact w/ the gun issue. I know Kerry did (though I doubt the gun people really believed him.) The current up and coming people in the Dem party like McCaskill, Tester, Webb and Sherrod Brown are all pro-gun anyway, so maybe this will be an issue that doesn't resonate so much like it used to.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 1:45 AM  

  • , we were caught our pants down with Russians when they paid their unexpected visit.

    My reading of the 2nd amendment tells me that is the situation we are trying to avoid. In fact, my interpretation is that the citizenry should be armed so that the Fed doesn't have to be. The Fed (and it's army) is currently out of control.


    I think people like Feinstein and Rowan have destroyed the gun-control argument with their hypocrisy. As you mention, the new Dems are almost all pro-gun. The very idea of state-wide or nation-wide gun control is political suicide for the Dems at this point. They would be smart to let it go.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:03 AM  

  • PT, you know that I like you a lot. You are a thinking man with need to enquire and learn. This time, however, your answer seemed a bit light weight.

    If there ever was an aple and orange comparison, that must be the one between the world's mighties country,the U.S.A., and a little frozens piece of shit like Finland. There's nothing that could make any sort of a military comparison either necessary or meaningful.

    I think, you are hinting that the handgun toting citizens of the U.S. are the source for the American Folk Sturm to defend your borders against those blood thirsty Canadians. Oh yeah, the need to arm is also purely based on your famous patriotism to make sure that your democracy will not be stolen from you by the sinister royalists. If you kill each other with guns at the yearly rate...I don't know 25 000 ?, that's just the price to pay to keep up your democracy. You know what, PT, you guys are nuts!

    By Anonymous pekka, at 10:35 AM  

  • Sorry to disappoint you Pekka.

    You know I like you too and appreciate you comments.

    I wasn't trying to compare the militaries of the two countries whatsoever. There are two seperate issues here: personal gun ownership, and military strength. These are completely seperate in my mind. What my original question was getting at was if the Finns were armed personally. Obviously, their military was no match for the Germans or the Russians, but somehow they managed to stay independent and not get swallowed up by the Russian state like the Balitics did. What I was wondering is if personal gun ownership had anything to do with that.

    Yeah, we are a bit crazy, us gun-toting Americans, but a majority of us does believe in the right to own guns. Now, having said that, we have our independent reasons.

    First and foremost, it is guaranteed by the constitution, which, for better or for worse, I strongly believe in. It may be an imperfect document, but I think it is the best constitution on the face of the planet (okay, I'm biased perhaps). At any rate, I don't like it when people on the left pick and choose which parts to uphold. I don't like it when people on the right (including our president) see it fit to throw out whole sections.

    I remember when I was at University working on an environmental campaign and the leader of the group revealed to everyone that I believed in the 2nd Amendment (blasphamy!). They all looked at me with disgust as the leader explained that I was of the belief that without guns, they would have us marching in the streets. It never ceases to amaze me that the very people who distrust the government the most are the very ones who think we should turn in our guns.

    As far as potential foreign invaders go, I think the idea is that we could fend off, well, anyone. My thinking is that because a ground invation of the U.S. is impossible, we shouldn't need such a big Army. That is the problem.

    Yes, there are a huge number of gun deaths in the U.S. There are also a huge number of auto deaths, but no one is talking about banning cars. It is not the guns, but the crazy people that are responsible.

    I hope I've made myself more clear. I'm afraid I haven't at all. But at least you can't call the response lightweight. :)


    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:01 PM  

  • PT, I am sorry to have offended you with my "light weight" remark! I recognize, that our little dispute might be cultural one. It horrifies me that somebody out there is carrying a concealed weapon. No warm and fuzzy feelings here, in the fist country.

    I am amazed, though, that after a long period of time and tremendouse changes in your society, your Constitution remains
    chicelled in stone. Amending the document to perhaps suit the present situation better is no go?

    The car vs. gun comparison is less than brilliant. Did you attend to a white supremacist Spring training camp while in the States? :->

    By Anonymous pekka, at 9:20 AM  

  • No offense taken. Again, my point is this: don't blame the weapon (tool, instrument, chemical etc.), blame the crazies that use them improperly.

    LOL on the white supremacy thing BTW.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:06 PM  

  • praguetwin -- nice shootin' irons.

    Though I live in New York City, I spend time every year in Idaho. In fact, I'm heading there in a couple of weeks. Visits usually include shooting, though I don't have access to such an interesting arsenal.

    You wrote:

    "For example, the M 16 had to have a permanent magazine in the receiver and it had to be loaded from the top. How that stops crime, I have no idea."

    This is what happens when politicians attempt to become engineers. Morons on parade.

    The big worry about quasi-military weapons relates to the capacity of the clip and reloading. Politicians believe that 30-shot clips, like those designed for the M-16 cause crime. Thus, they legislate some goofy action like the one you described.

    For some reason politicians behave as though a clip is a complex object that no gun enthusiast could make at home.

    Senator Schumer, here in NY, spent many hours decrying "assault weapons", as though a rifle with a military stock and other non-sporting features were more lethal than a fine Remington semi-automatic with a stock of walnut construction and a hand rubbed oil finish with checkering.

    By Blogger no_slappz, at 11:08 PM  

  • pekka, are you a Finn?

    If so, what are your thoughts on Karelia and other real estate taken by the Soviet Union.

    By Blogger no_slappz, at 11:21 PM  

  • reality et. al., Professor John Lott, recently at Yale, claims that crime is lower in areas with high concentrations of legally owned handguns.

    Criminals are forced to consider the possibility that their intended victims may be armed.

    While Rudy and Bratton may publicly disapprove of private citizens blasting criminal attackers, it happens in NYC regularly.

    Owners of small stores often keep some firepower below the countertoop. After blasting robbers, they are rarely prosecuted, though a city leader or two usually offers some muted public criticism of vigilante justice.

    Nevertheless, we don't need more guns on the streets of the city. But frankly, I think criminals already know they have to use care when identifying victims. There are neighborhoods in Brooklyn, like Windsor Terrace, that are home to lots of cops. I lived there for a number of years and knew or met quite a few.

    Crime in Windsor Terrace is low. Cars are sometimes burglarized, but muggings almost never occur.

    Professor Lott has the data to back his claims.

    By Blogger no_slappz, at 11:36 PM  

  • Politicians believe that 30-shot clips, like those designed for the M-16 cause crime.

    If it is spring loaded, like those that fit the receiver of an M16, it is called a magazine, not a clip.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:11 PM  

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