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Member since: Thu Mar 3, 2016, 06:20 PM
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Open Carry America: Report from a Cross Country Road Trip

Open Carry America: Report from a Cross Country Road Trip

Not the classic 'cross country' from (east) coast to (west) coast, these two trips (six months apart) were from New York to Maine and New York to Georgia.

Besides New York (our home state) my wife and I drove to or through ten American states. It was a rural trip, so we avoided Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York City, Maryland and DC.

Now I like to treat my wife to these trips form time to time, and part of the fun of preparing the trip is for me to do due diligence on all things important, such as car rental, hotels, places to stop, scenic locations, etc.

I put everything in a binder, leave the binder in the trunk, and make the trip 'seem like' we are just getting in the car and heading down the road.

I also research the firearms laws of each state, I have a wallet full of non-resident licenses. Once in the car, my sidearm is casually on my hip, and not much is said of that issue from there on.

But in my mind (and in the binder) I know the law by heart, state to state.

By having a NY license, and avoiding the states as listed above, I was able to casually carry my sidearm on a cross country trip. Granted, I make a distinction between three types of carry: Open, lightly-concealed, and deep-concealed.

Sure, there were times when I would throw my shirt-tail over the butt of the gun (open carry to lightly-concealed) as not to gather too much attention (especially when I saw license plates from non-gun states outside the location I was entering) but for the most part my wife and I just came and went without anyone saying (or noticing) anything unusual, strange, odd, etc.

The map (courtesy of Opencarry.org) should be slightly amended as such:

- New Jersey should be red
- Maryland should be red
- Massachusetts should be red

- New York is a patchwork of local laws, but I don't have to worry about open carry in New York on this trip, because my first breaks were in neighboring states.

Now you may respond with 'why do you have to be so paranoid' or 'I drive all across the nation without a gun' or 'what are you afraid of.....' The answers are: I am not, good for you, and nothing at all.

I responded to a post recently about someone with a $35,000 truck. Well, the Blue Book on my vehicle is $3,500 if I have just had it washed, less if it's dirty. He does not need a truck ten times what mine is worth unless it has some very fancy attachments such as an overhead line bucket or outriggers.

He just has one. Say what you will, but it is still his right to drive a big truck. No, I don't like the smell of big trucks, the same way you may not like the sight of my legally carried, licensed handgun.

I carried 'cross country,' some open, some lightly concealed, without incident, without objection, without any problems whatsoever.

I did it because I am an American and I love freedom.

Link to Part Two: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172191775

Posted by CompanyFirstSergeant | Tue May 3, 2016, 07:09 AM (30 replies)

Why "Call it, Skinner" May Very Well be the Wosrt Idea That We Will Come to Regret

The idea of a Trump presidency makes me very unsettled.

I don't like Clinton, and I cannot say if I would or would not vote for her, because I have not considered that issue while Sanders is still technically in the race. I know. Do the math. Not yet.

I would NOT vote for Trump. 3rd party, perhaps. But that is not the issue here.

That being said...

A Trump presidency.

Worst case scenario? Well, we had better get ready.

Better to have a plan and not need it, than, well you know how that saying goes...

If that happens (Trump), nothing that has been discussed here, nothing about Sanders, nothing about Clinton, nothing...

...will matter anymore.

Talk about bringing the party together.

- The environment

- A path to legal residency/citizenship


Etcetera, etcetera.

We cannot afford to jettison ONE PERSON, we cannot afford to lose ONE CONTRIBUTOR...

Who believes in the issues that are important to us.

Two pipelines and several (very toxic) compressor stations were planned to run from PA to VT via upstate New York.

All of the above projects were either cancelled or suffered a major setback due in part to...

Community involvement.

There is a thread parallel to this one, in which a poster insists that DU is not an influential source of information.

I don't believe that for a minute.

To borrow a term from my Navy brethren...

It's time for all hands on deck.

Have a good 'what's left of the weekend' (raining here) and think about keeping as many contributors under this tent as possible.

Happy Sunday

It's May 1st. While you were sleeping, November just got one month closer.

Posted by CompanyFirstSergeant | Sun May 1, 2016, 07:50 AM (154 replies)

Can Our Society Implement a De-Escalation of Force? Part Three

Can Our Society Implement a De-Escalation of Force? Part Three

By CompanyFirstSergeant

Link to Part One: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172189947

Link to Part Two: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172189973

Reader please note: the following topics were promised for Part Three, but will appear in Part Four:

* Implications for Personal Self Defense
* The Militarization of Police
* Summary and Suggestions

Part Three – Debunking Myths

Anti: “If we ban future sales of (insert model here) - currently owned weapons will eventually wear out and/or rust away, thereby leaving our cultural landscape clean of weapons.”

With modern technology, they most certainly will not.

A company in Arizona will, for about 300 to 500 dollars, apply a coating on a firearm that will enable it to pass what is known as a ‘Thousand Hour Salt Spray Test.”

In other words, a firearm with this technology could be carried under the harshest environmental conditions possible, for forty-hour work-weeks, be cleaned and oiled once every six months… and last forever.

Pro: “The Bushmaster AR-15 is not a military grade weapon.”

If you are talking about compliance with the Technical Data Package, no, it’s not. If you are talking about a Bushmaster lasting as long as a Colt under battlefield conditions, again, no.

If you are talking about functionality, about rate of fire, about compatibility with military ammunition and magazines…. if a military service member would pick up a Bushmaster and spend a day at the range…

…it most certainly is.

Also note, the Colt AR-15 is TDP compliant/military grade right out of the box. It just does not have the select fire option.

Besides, the differences between the Bushmaster and the Colt are very minor technical details, mostly having to do with the quality of the bolt carrier.

Anti: “The AR-15 should be banned.”

Only a small part of it can be banned. Only a relatively small part of the AR-15 is legally considered to be a firearm. This is the part that contains the trigger, the hammer and has the serial number printed on the side.

This part is known as the ‘lower receiver.’ The entire remainder of the firearm – the upper receiver, the buttstock, forward handguards, barrel, gas system and bolt carrier group – most of the gun - is considered parts.

And…. The lower receiver can be obtained as a separate component, and stored – often in quantity – in anticipation of an assault weapons ban. The parts listed above can be purchased after the ban, for a completely legal rifle.

Besides, how do you effectively ban something whose name can be changed from AR-15 to Sporter Rifle, and whose illegal features can be removed with a screwdriver or a wrench?

Pro: “I have hunting rifles that are semi-automatic and can deliver the same rate of fire.”

Do they have 30-round magazines?

Anti: “The Second Amendment is a collective right, and anyway, it should be repealed.”

Despite the fact that this is thrown out there a lot, it does not really matter.

Say for a moment, the Second Amendment was actually set to expire – like the assault weapons ban was - right here and right now. Municipalities would need to enact entirely new legislation to remove the right to bear arms – via the democratic process. Politicians would need to appeal to constituent’s wishes – or lose their careers.

There are municipalities today which have very little to no respect for the Second Amendment, such as New York City and New Jersey. Other states – most of them, actually - have a deep abiding respect for it.

What they really have, is a respect for an individual right to self-defense that transcends even the Constitution.

Repeal of the Second Amendment would most likely result in a political landscape very much like it already is today.

Pro: “The Second Amendment enables me to participate in an overthrow of government.”

What the Second Amendment does is to enable a private citizen to join forces with a legitimate government in order to repel invaders and suppress insurrection. In America, we overthrow government by voting.

Anti: “After banning them, we should confiscate them.”

You want to go first?

Are you willing to send a law enforcement officer, acting on your behalf, through the door into a home known to have weapons unless they absolutely have to?

Are you willing to risk the lives of innocent men, women and children who have done absolutely nothing wrong - until the law you advocated for - retroactively declared the gun owner in the family a criminal?

Even if the gun owner and his family are not home, are you advocating giving the government more power to destroy a man’s property and with it his family’s sense of security?

Pro: “What about the zombie apocalypse?”

Following a natural disaster, victims are proven to be very responsive to competent authority. Following Katrina, a lack of competent authority was the problem. Following Sandy, a combination of civilian volunteers, city, state and federal authorities hit the ground running and minimized chaos.

If you are worried about a zombie apocalypse, keep some phone numbers around for the Occupy movement. They did a phenomenal job after Sandy.

You can volunteer to hand out granola bars and water bottles. Leave your AR-15 home.

To be continued...

Posted by CompanyFirstSergeant | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 12:18 PM (6 replies)

Some Good News about the Environment (For a Change)

A pipeline and a compressor station, scheduled to be built on the northern edge of the New York City watershed, was cancelled yesterday (Friday). It was to be known as the Constitution Pipeline.

That is several days after the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline was cancelled.

Thank you, New York State DEC and Governor Cuomo.


This pipeline was to be routed under many streams and required the cutting of hundreds of thousands of trees.

In other news, the same group that fought the pipeline will be continuing efforts for Bernie Sanders, and I will be joining them on several road trips starting this week.

Thank you to the members at DU, those who were cordial, and even those that were less than cordial. Involvement is better than apathy, even if I disagree with your position.

Going forward, please note that censorship, in any form, simply stifles the democratic process. It is not healthy. The real world is not a 'safe space.'

I mean that in the most positive sense. I would be lying if I said that you will be in my prayers, because I will be too busy praying that Trump does not become president.

Best Wishes...


Posted by CompanyFirstSergeant | Sat Apr 23, 2016, 10:03 AM (0 replies)

Can Our Society Implement a De-Escalation of Force? Part Two

Can Our Society Implement a De-Escalation of Force? Part Two of Four

By CompanyFirstSergeant

Link to Part One: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172189947

Part Two –

• Background information on the AR-15
• Federal Assault Weapons Ban 1994-2004


Technically, the AR-15 rifle is described as a lightweight, intermediate cartridge, magazine-fed, air-cooled, semi-automatic rifle with a rotating locking bolt.

The AR-15 rifle is was first built in 1959 by ArmaLite for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the design to Colt. After some modifications, the redesigned rifle was adopted as the M16 rifle. In 1963, Colt started selling the semi-automatic version of the rifle for civilians. Although the name "AR-15" remains a Colt registered trademark, variants of the firearm are made, modified, and sold under various names by multiple manufacturers. (Wikipedia)

The term Assault Weapon is attributed to firearms industry advertising:

Phillip Peterson, the author of Gun Digest Buyer’s Guide to Assault Weapons (2008) wrote:

The popularly held idea that the term 'assault weapon' originated with anti-gun activists is wrong. The term was first adopted by manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and dealers in the American firearms industry to stimulate sales of certain firearms that did not have an appearance that was familiar to many firearms owners. The manufacturers and gun writers of the day needed a catchy name to identify this new type of gun.

So the origin of the term assault weapon is attributed to gun-industry hype. Let’s take a look at a real term, ‘assault rifle.’

The similar but technical term assault rifle refers to military-issued rifles capable of selective fire - automatic (full-auto), semi-automatic, and burst fire. Assault rifles are distinguished from battle rifles (such as the M-1 Garand) in that they are lighter, more maneuverable and lend themselves better to a transition from woodland to urban combat and vice versa.

The military version of the AR-15, known as the M-16/M-4, fulfills this definition.

You callin’ my gun ugly?

To sell these guns, the gun industry had to get past a major sales problem – customers did not want them at first. In a gun store, the ‘old-school’ deep-blue steel and darkly stained walnut firearms of years past – which evoked awe in the eyes of a potential buyer – were not selling very well anymore.

Hunting, nationwide, was on the decline, and self-defense was of primary importance to most customers. Gun stores had become, in effect, mini-museums of old-looking rifles in which to spend some time while purchasing a handgun.

Compared to the (in the eyes of gun enthusiasts) beautiful old-style rifles on the store's shelves, modern military weapons (or their civilian counterparts) are, for the most part, very unattractive pieces of hardware.

They do have two things going for them, however…

• They are endlessly re-configurable:

Scopes, flashlights, lasers, forward grips, etc. Once a gun-store sells an AR-15, they can expect return customers to spend two to three times the original price on accessories. For example, an ACOG scope costs more than any AR-15. These rifles have earned the nickname ‘the Barbie doll for men.’

• They are everywhere in the media:

Photos of police officers guarding Wall Street after 9/11, National Guard soldiers on train stations, cops in Ferguson pointing their rifles directly at protesters. Will Smith’s character carried an AR-15 every time he left his house in I Am Legend, full-size cardboard cutouts of soldiers holding M-4s grace the lobbies of military recruiting offices across the nation.

Pushing these things to the customer became easy. And lucrative.

The Shoulder Thing That Goes Up.

If an inanimate object is ugly and menacing looking, but we don't really know what it does... let’s take a look at what makes it so ugly.

It came down to a handful of relatively useless features.

The definition of an assault weapon became one of cosmetics, not of functionality. Parkerization (a military grade rust-resistant coating) may cause a rifle to become an unattractive dull gray, but it does not increase its deadliness. Same for aluminum anodizing, and cheap plastic handgrips.

What really matters are the features that make this a truly deadly weapon. Can you legislate against these features...?

Semi -automatic? No, many hunters use semi-automatic rifles (one trigger pull = one bang) for quick follow-up shots.

Detachable magazine? No, many fine sporting rifles have detachable magazines.

Let’s take the above two, and add the following…

Assault weapons – as defined by law: rifles and shot guns that had the above two features were considered assault weapons if they also had any two of the following: folding stocks, pistol grips, bayonet mounts, attachable grenade launchers, flash suppressors, or threaded barrels designed to accommodate a flash suppressor.

So pistol grips, which just make the rifle more comfortable, were considered an evil feature. Same for bayonet mounts. Bayonet mounts? Are we re-fighting the Civil War?


The Federal Assault Weapons Ban, enacted in 1994, had a 10-year ‘sunset clause,’ in that it was a law destined to expire in ten years if not renewed. The ban restricted the manufacture, transfer, and possession of semi-automatic ‘assault weapons’ except for those already in lawful possession at the time of the law's enactment. It also ‘protected’ a list of firearms and features that fell outside of the definition, some by name, some by feature.

The ban also defined the term "large capacity ammunition feeding device," which is commonly shortened to "large capacity magazine," or high capacity magazine. These were defined by the assault weapons ban as magazines, belts, drums, feed strips, or similar devices with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.

I will leave it to factcheck.org to bring you the results...

Both sides in the gun debate are misusing academic reports on the impact of the 1994 assault weapons ban, cherry-picking portions out of context to suit their arguments.

* Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, told a Senate committee that the “ban had no impact on lowering crime.” But the studies cited by LaPierre concluded that effects of the ban were “still unfolding” when it expired in 2004 and that it was “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”

* Conversely, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has introduced a bill to institute a new ban on assault weapons, claimed the 1994 ban “was effective at reducing crime.” That’s not correct either. The study concluded that “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”

Both sides in the gun debate are selectively citing from a series of studies that concluded with a 2004 study led by Christopher S. Koper, “An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003.” That report was the final of three studies of the ban, which was enacted in 1994 as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

Whatever the case may be...

AR-15s have become the largest selling model of firearm in the United States. 1.5 million sold in the past 5 years. Over 30 companies manufacture them. The market for AR-15s and accessories is over one-billion dollars per year.

The AR-15 is notoriously difficult to write legislation around. The 'lower receiver' is machined from a block of aluminum approximately 5 inches by 9 inches. On it, are the model name and serial number. This part is the legal firearm, so the majority of the rifle is just parts, unaffected by law.

The AR-15 has been re-branded as 'America's Firearm' or the 'Gun of the Good Guys' despite it's frequent use in notorious and tragic mass shootings recently.

To Be Continued...

Up next in Part Three:
* Implications for Personal Self Defense
* The Militarization of Police

Posted by CompanyFirstSergeant | Sun Apr 10, 2016, 11:11 AM (10 replies)

Can Our Society Implement a De-Escalation of Force? Part One

Can Our Society Implement a De-Escalation of Force? Part One of Four

By CompanyFirstSergeant

Part One - The Escalation of Force - 1970s and 1980s



NICOLI staggers down the stairs to the street, unarmed.
DOYLE is waiting at the foot of the stairs.
NICOLI sees him, turns in desperation to run back up.
DOYLE has his .38 drawn. He fires three shots into NICOLI's back.
NICOLI stiffens and falls backward coming to rest at DOYLE's feet.
DOYLE collapses next to him.


I know what you’re thinking: 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?

The 1970s

The Godfather. All The President's Men. Dog Day Afternoon. Serpico. Jaws. Arguably some of the best films ever made were made in the 1970s.

Directors and cinematographers used new small, light, hand-held cameras, and had as much disdain for rules of on-location film-making as their on-screen characters had for the rights of the accused.

Does anyone old enough to have seen The French Connection when it first came out not remember having an ‘I’ve never seen anything like this’ reaction to the chase scene? Did you also know that there were no permits for that scene? And that many of the vehicles in the background were part of normal traffic? (Don’t worry, the baby carriage was empty and pushed by a stunt person.)

Does anyone old enough to have seen Dirty Harry when it first came out remember thinking: 'there should be at least some cops around like Inspector Callahan?'

From the streets of New York City to the hills of San Francisco...

and everywhere in between this beleaguered nation of the 1970s...

it was cops…

…gritty, street-smart, rule-bending cops...

that created that thin line between the bad guys and the rest of us.

Or at least that’s what Hollywood wanted us to believe.

And there is the crux of the question at hand…

Does: 1) Popular imagery in media, and 2) the weapons commonly carried by law enforcement…
…have a ‘normalizing’ effect on our perception of which firearms do and do not ‘belong’ in society?

THE 1970S AND 1980S

Murderers, robbers, rapists, pimps, pushers. High quality heroin from south-east Asia flooding the market. Targeted assassinations of police officers. Double-digit unemployment and inflation devastating the economy for the nation’s poor.

Crime was rampant, and the cop’s job was a tough, thankless task.

During that time, the revolver was king.

Police officers throughout the eastern United States were issued, by and large, six-shot fixed-sight .38 Special revolvers. Police officers on the west coast of the United States preferred the option of adjustable sights on their .38s. In the mountains, where four-legged critters outnumbered the two-legged variety, the .357 Magnum was the cartridge of choice.

Sure, military guys had an affection for the Colt 1911 semi-auto handgun - ‘the .45’ - and some old timers still even carried single action revolvers in some western outposts.

But for the most part, the .38 Special revolver was the go-to sidearm for our nation’s law enforcement, and that set the tone for our nation’s firearms enthusiasts, and the media, as well.

Civilians purchased so many revolvers back then, that both Smith & Wesson and Colt were chronically backordered. Snub-nose five-shot .38’s were carried by detectives, Model 10’s were carried by beat cops, and six-inch barrel .44 Magnum revolvers were carried by… well… nobody.

And also, incidentally, the biggest ‘bragging right’ of police officers back then was that ‘I never fired my service revolver outside of the range in 20 years on the job.’


The 1986 FBI Miami shootout was a gun battle that occurred on April 11, 1986 in an unincorporated region of Dade County in South Florida between eight FBI agents and two serial bank robbers. During the firefight, FBI Special Agents Jerry L. Dove and Benjamin P. Grogan were killed, while five other agents were wounded. The two robbery suspects, William Russell Matix and Michael Lee Platt, were also killed.

The incident is infamous in FBI history and is well-studied in law enforcement circles. Despite outnumbering the suspects 4 to 1, the agents found themselves pinned down by suppressive rifle fire and unable to respond effectively. Although both Matix and Platt were hit multiple times during the shootout, Platt fought on and continued to wound and kill agents. This incident led to the introduction of more powerful handguns in the FBI and many police departments around the United States. (Wikipedia)

Actually no…. more powerful handguns were not the ultimate result of the Miami shootout.

Originally blamed was the supposed inadequacy of .38 Special ammunition, and later, the inability of the six-shot revolver of any caliber to keep up with the increased firepower of the criminal element. As a result, the FBI led the nation on a ‘one size fits all’ quest to upgrade the firepower for their agents, and ultimately, the nation’s allegedly ‘outgunned’ police officers.

At first, the FBI explored the possibility of more powerful handguns, but ran into similar problems as to why the ‘.45 Colt’ was never adopted by law enforcement.

Large caliber semi-automatic handguns are tough to shoot. At first, the ‘ten millimeter’ was seen as an upgrade in power, but officer trainees developed ‘flinches’ that would interfere with accuracy, and more importantly, simply hated shooting guns that big.

From there, the FBI went to the .40 S&W (for Short and Wimpy) and many departments took a cynical view of this untried specialty cartridge and settled for…

The 9mm (nine millimeter) semi-automatic handgun.


The 9mm cartridge – originally known as the Parabellum – was invented in 1902 by George Luger, a German inventor. It has marginally more power than the .38 Special, so over the next few years of the mid-to-late 1980s, it will take a panel of experts to distinguish this new technology from the old school hardware.

That’s why the world called upon an Austrian curtain rod manufacturer with an expertise in polymer technology to solve its most pressing problem in the war on crime.

Gaston Glock’s handgun was supposed to appeal to law enforcement agencies as being a dead-nuts basic firearm – or in the vernacular of the time ‘revolver simple.’

Ugly as a bar of steel, and made half of ‘plastic,’ Glock’s new development appealed to no one, and satisfied pretty much everyone. It had no external safety to flick on-and-off, field-stripped to a few basic parts, and was cheap. Police departments love cheap.

It also – in its most popular law enforcement model (the Glock 19) held sixteen rounds without reloading. Nearly the same amount of ammo was onboard a Glock that used to be carried in the gun and on the belt of a police officer with a revolver. And the typical officer carried two extra 9mm magazine of ammo, each carrying 15 rounds apiece.


In training, officers (and armed civilians) who carry revolvers are taught that ammo conservation is paramount. After six shots, your gun is ‘dry’ and will require a reload. Even with the advent of speedloaders, reloading a revolver – especially under pressure – is a stressful event. For those precious seconds, the gun is useless, the reload procedure is filled with audible clicks of the gun opening and closing, and worst of all - six 'bangs' is not a very big number to count to, even for bad guys.

With the Glock (or any other semi-auto, for that matter) the reload process is only required after fifteen or so rounds are expended, and a reload can be accomplished with a loaded gun.

Training- and culture – changed.

No longer was ammunition conservation of paramount importance. Getting lead downrange was.
Nor was marksmanship stressed much either. The old style of training was to start off close-up to a target, and only after proficiency was developed at short ranges, would the officer trainee move to greater distances.

Following the Miami Shootout, training, or so it seemed, was designed to re-fight that very battle.

Trainees would begin in a vehicle. Shots (in the form of banging on the car’s roof) would be fired. Suppressive fire over the fenders would come next. Then the trainee would move ever closer, for more and more accurate shooting, until the final shots – two to the body and one to the head – would be administered for a definitive kill.

To be continued...

EDIT: Please note I have re-formatted this essay to be spread over 4 installments, not 3.

Link to Part Two: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172189973

Posted by CompanyFirstSergeant | Sat Apr 9, 2016, 10:04 AM (7 replies)

First Trump vs. Sanders Presidential Debate @Midnight

It's the only time I have seen this show, maybe because by midnight I've been asleep for four hours already.

It's hilarious.

NSFW/Adult/offensive language/etc.

Posted by CompanyFirstSergeant | Sun Apr 3, 2016, 02:33 PM (6 replies)
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