Educate Others

I have been reading a lot in the media about helping out the LGTB community arm and train themselves. The plea has gone out to touch base with LGTB organizations and offer training for free or a reduced cost. This call has gone out to the sport shooters as well as Certified Instructors and those weekend plinkers.

I think this is great, and we need to take it a step forward. We are in an election cycle that will define how our country is shaped for many years to come. It’s not just four or eight years. It’s for decades in the future. We have the chance of our leaders selecting the next one to four Supreme Court Justices.

We need to be talking up the 2nd amendment. We need to be educating and training “all” American’s  we can have a civil discourse with. If you are an American, the 2nd amendment pertains to you. People need to wake up and recognize how near we are to loosing this right. It Is a right, don’t for get!

There are always people we can talk to. You may feel like you have talked to all of your family and friends. It’s time to seek out new faces. If you are in the Doctor’s office and have a few idle minutes, chat up a fellow waiter. You can usually find out where they stand by just asking if they know what the words are to the 2nd amendment. You will find people who don’t want to discuss GUNS, who are very against any type of gun ownership. Pass those people with a kind word and go on to the next. Many times you will find people who have no opinion or are not sure how they feel.

These are the people you can provide an explanation to how important that 2nd amendment is. These are the people who have an open mind. For every person you inform and who will listen to what you have said, may take the step of voting for our 2nd amendment rights. These are the people you can take to the gun range and share your knowledge with.

Most importantly when you talk to people and they are receptive to the “Gun” conversation you have the opportunity to invite them to the range. Maybe some of their friends or family will come. If they are not comfortable going to the range just yet, maybe a mini gun safety class at your home would be more appropriate (always be safe, as with anyone).

By all means reach out to the various communities. Invite the people who go to your beauty shop or your barber shop or any other group you can think of. If you shoot at a regular time each week, let people know you will be there and you are ready to help.

Some folks are quiet gun owners, they do not necessarily advertise that they shoot, let alone carry. It’s time to take a leap of faith and let other folks know what is important to you.

Reach that hand of friendship and help. Keeping more people trained and safe is a priority in the time that we are living in.

We should not be looking at helping categories; we should be looking and helping Americans.

Doctor’s and Guns

free_217926[1]The other day I was part of a Facebook discussion started by my niece, the Doctor. She is a great pediatrician. She cares about her patients and their welfare. To her it was important to have the “gun” discussion with her patient’s parents. Her agenda was to ensure that firearms in the home were secured and the children did not have access to them. She was concerned about guns and accidental death with children.

In Florida, it is against the law to ask a patient or guardian about firearms. This legislation was passed to prevent the addition of gun data to the Affordable Care Act registry. For many 2nd amendment supporters this is seen as a back door way to gain information on who has guns in their possession and a way for gun confiscation to take place. It is legal and required for Doctors to document “firearms in the home” in many States.

My niece’s only agenda was to make her little patients safe. Through this online discussion folks came up with some really great ideas on how to inform the patients and not infringe on anyone’s beliefs or rights.

The first idea was for the doctor to hand out firearm storage guidelines to all parents. Then hand out “Eddie Eagle” books to all of the children. Encourage the parents to read the books with their children. No one’s rights are infringed, no laws are broken and some education and open conversations have taken place. If you are not familiar with the “Eddie Eagle” program, check it out at https://eddieeagle.nra.org/.

The second idea was a bit more involved but very effective. Have a safety carnival after office hours in the parking lot. Have several safety stations set up. There would be a fire truck and firemen/women to talk about what to do if your house is on fire.

Another station would be to have some Policemen/women with a police car to teach about how they help in the community and what to do if you need a policeman.

Then you could have an “Eddie Eagle” station with an Eddie Eagle (In costume) passing out material on what to do if you find/see a gun. You could also have one of the local gun shops that carry various methods of securing firearms available for demonstration.

Make it a day of safety. You may come up with other additions to the carnival. You could have a nutrition station talking about good eating habits, the list could be endless.

If your focus is on safety for children there are many ways to get the word out without infringing on anyone’s rights.

Children do deserve to be in a safe environment. They do deserve to be educated on all areas of safety in their lives. With a little planning and thought and a whole lot of volunteers you can promote a great day of safety and who knows, the parents may learn something too. Unfortunately I am sure I am preaching to the choir.

 

Guns and Mental Illness, an opinion

handgun-231699_640If you are listening to any type of news these days you are hearing how the government should take guns away from the mentally ill. The pundits say if people have been adjudicated mentally ill, take away their 2nd amendment rights. Maybe the first thing we should do is have an honest talk about mental health. Several people in my family through the years have had mental illness. In the 60’s and 70’s it was barely whispered about. Something we should “not tell the neighbors”. If you were admitted to a facility it was said you were off visiting relatives in another state.

Unfortunately here we are in the new century and we still have the same attitudes as before. Mental illness is still whispered about. In some ways we are even worse off than the 60’s and 70’s. Many mental institutions have closed. Granted some of them needed to be closed. Until we start having honest heartfelt talks with our families, friends and governments, it is going to be status quo. We need to make changes to the mental health system. No matter how many medical advancements come along, I don’t see any changes to our mental health system.

A question you need to ask yourself is if my brother/sister/mother/father/child broke their leg, do they need to have their guns taken away? If they have cancer are they any less safe with that firearm? We would still talk tour loved one about their condition. I know the argument could go: all of the mass shooters were mentally ill. This is true. It must be true, otherwise we could not deal with the horror of murder.

However, if their families had been involved, if they had gotten the care they deserved would their condition have deteriorated to the point that it did. Does the stigma create its own trigger of violence? The inability to talk about their schizophrenia or depression, feelings of isolation only add to the mental illness?

We need to be proactive with friends and family. We need to intervene if we suspect a person is not capable of having a firearm. If nothing else we should keep our firearms safe from children and the mentally ill. Get a safe, Get a lock box. This is only taking responsibility for gun ownership.

I have a daughter, while she is not mentally ill, she does not have the temperament to own a firearm. We realized this was her personality early on. My husband and I are staunch 2nd amendment supporters. However, it is not safe for my daughter to own a firearm. We talked to her about this. She agrees and understands. If we took the time to talk to our loved ones, took the time to explain this to them, you may be surprised how relieved they are. It is love and concern you are showing them.

Maybe the mentally ill should have their day in court. If you are so mentally ill you can not handle a firearm then maybe you need to be adjudicated as such. Go to court, have the facts laid out about why you shouldn’t have a firearm. Then let a judge tap the gavel on your gun ownership. We can not willy-nilly take away a person’s second amendment right.

Think about who you can help in your circle of friends and family. Let’s keep this out of the hands of the government. Intervene with love and treatment.

 

Situational Awareness…What is it?

iStock_000029880850MediumHave you ever been shopping in the grocery store and had someone pull their cart out directly in your path? You scratch your head and wonder how they didn’t see you? This is just a small example of Situational Awareness. You had it, the other person did not.

Situational awareness is the skill of being aware of your surroundings. This skill may save your life! Always be aware of your surroundings. Take stock of what is going on around you. Listed below are the stages of awareness as designed by Col. Jeff Cooper many years ago:

White In condition White, you are relaxed and unaware of what is going on around you.

Yellow In condition yellow, you re mainly relaxed, but are aware of who and what is around you.

Orange In condition orange, you have identified something of interest that may or may not prove to be a threat.

Red If the focus of your attention in condition orange does something you find threatening, you will shift to condition red. Be ready to be attacked. Be ready to respond.

These conditions give you an idea of how and when to react. Try scanning your physical area as much as possible. I know you can’t stay alert 100% of the time, but try to do this when you are out and about. Think about it when you are in transitional areas like getting into and out of the house or the car, leaving or entering the store.

There is a drill that you can use to improve your perspective on Situational Awareness: when you are out shopping. Glance at the aisle next to you. Proceed down the aisle. Think about what you saw on the next aisle. When you get to the end and you turn on the next aisle, do you see what your memory tells you should be there?

Look at the “greeter” at Wal-Mart on your way in, do you remember their clothes colors correctly when you are on your way out of the store?

Always play the “what if?” game. It is fun for your children/grandchildren too. “What if” a bad guy came in the door? Where should you go? What should you do? This is also reinforcing the general plans that you have with the kids on what to do. This will make them feel empowered. If things go bad, this will give them a plan of action and give them some control of the situation.

“What if” we pull up in the driveway and the front door is wide open? You get the idea and the kids will too.

It is not paranoid to play these scenarios out in your head or with the kids. This is being prepared. In this day in the state of our Country, you cannot be too careful. If we are not preparing for the inevitable, someone out there will.

Leather Gun Belts…What do I do?

images

Maybe you are new to Concealed Carry, you just want to change the way you are carrying or you know what you are doing should feel & work better. The answer may be that you need a good, quality gun belt. When you are carrying inside the waistband or outside the waistband, you need a good foundation.

Have you tried the regular “store bought” belts and found there wasn’t much support. Your pants listed to one side or the gun flopped around. These are very typical characteristics of the belt not being right for the task.

For the purpose of this blog we are only going to talk about hand crafted leather belts. There is nothing wrong with a webbed belt. It is the choice for my wardrobe when not carrying on the waist. There are some great webbed belts out there.

The first thing you need to know to get the custom, hand crafted genuine item is “don’t be in a hurry”. Most manufacturers make the belt when you order it. When you place your order, that belt you have picked out is a big sheet of cowhide rolled up upon a shelf in the workroom.

The delivery times vary between about three weeks to twelve weeks. It just depends on the manufacturer and what their situation may be at the time.

A few of the good quality belts can be had quickly, however you sacrifice custom choices for those belts they have on the shelf.

If you have already looked for women’s gun belts, it will be no surprise there aren’t many suppliers. Those who have women specific belts are generally a stock item and are off of the shelf. There is nothing wrong with a belt off of the shelf. However, it will not be custom to fit you.

The fact is that there are very few Women’s gun belts out there may be depressing. There are so many good designs and looks to be had, you are sure to find a style you like. Everything from smooth leather, embossed leather and even cowboy style embellishments.

With true custom belts you select the size. Which can be a huge plus if you don’t wear a standard size belt. The belt is made just to fit you. You can select how many belt holes to have, some even give you the option of hole styles (round vs oval).

There are several great leather color choices out there. One manufacturer will dye your belt leather to a variety of shades. The quality of leather is good with all the manufacturers. The manufacturer will usually say what type of leather they are using on their web page.

You can choose the buckle. Many of the manufacturers have great selections and generally a choice between nickel and brass. With leather rollers on the buckle or not (to reduce leather wear), depending on the style you choose. Nickel and Brass will show less wear over time.

Picking out your thread color further customizes your belt, just for you. Some makers only have a few thread color choices. A few have a large selection. All use a heavy duty thread. Make sure the thread holes are recessed underneath the level of the leather. This ensures the thread will not wear from every day use.

The majority of manufacturers use a stiffener in the belt sandwiched between the two leather layers. The materials seem to be either Kydex or spring steel. Both of these will give you a good stiff, supporting belt.

The price range seems to be from about $50 to about $125. The more custom you get, the more time and money you will spend. But you should only need to buy a belt once for many years of service, some say a lifetime. So when you look at your yearly cost, you are getting off cheap for having the right tool on your waist.

When you are looking at selecting the manufacturer you want to use, be sure to look at the following. Do they have a chart showing you how to measure for your belt. This can be a bit tricky. Do they have a toll free number you can call them on to ask questions you may have that are not answered on the web site. If you get your belt and it doesn’t fit or just doesn’t work for you, is there a return policy?

There are two common ways to measure your belt length. The first is to take an existing belt that fits the way you like/need it to fit. Measure from the end of the buckle to the center hole of the belt. That will be your belt measurement.

The other way is to measure your waist and add four inches. Again, most web sites should tell you exactly how they want you to measure.

Most belts are 1.25 inches or 1.5 inches. If you already have a holster you are satisfied with, make sure you measure the slots in the holster and match the width of those slots to the width of the belt. Some manufacturers also offer leather holsters. That way you can get your belt and holster to match with no problem.

belt-sizing-garret

I have listed some of the belt manufacturers out there. They are by no means the only ones. The web is full of people out there who would love to make you a belt. Make sure you look at the feedback their customers are leaving for them.

Specific to women belts

http://www.nrastore.com/nra-women-s-leather-dress-holster-belts 

www.flashbangstore.com/

www.Ultimate concealedcarry.com

Belt makers

http://www.abetterbeltusa.com/ultimate-gun-belt/

https://www.armourbelts.com/armour-tactical

http://agcustomgunleather.com/store/craftsmanship/belt-construction/

http://www.zachsgunbelts.com/

https://www.galcogunleather.com/1-1-4-belts_8_255.html

http://akerleather.com/off-duty-belts/off-duty-belts/B21/concealed-carry-gun-belt.html

www.mitchrosen.com/products/belts/

http://www.crossbreedholsters.com/HotcakesStore/ProductViewer/tabid/113/slug/Gun-Belt/Default.aspx

http://www.tuckergunleather.com/gun-belts/

http://www.adamsleatherworks.com/product-category/belts/

Pregnancy and shooting

pregnancy-943202_640This topic has about as much controversy as should you carry one in the chamber. I have watched numerous posts with multiple comments show up. I have seen everything from “go for it” to don’t do it at all. I hope this blog will give you some guidance on making the decision that is best for you and your unborn baby.

Let’s talk about lead first. I think this is a topic we can all agree on. Lead can be bad for you and you should limit your exposure to lead. Most ammunition has lead in it.

What are some of the ways to mitigate lead exposure? The first is to wash your hands thoroughly after shooting. It’s a good idea to wash your face once you get home along with changing your clothes. For those children already in the world you may consider washing up and changing clothes before picking them up and holding them.

Another idea to reduce lead exposure may be to use copper clad ammunition. The lead is contained in the copper jacket of the bullet. Continue to carry your chosen self-defense round. You won’t be shooting your self-defense rounds hopefully. And if you do, lead will be the least of your worries.

Next let’s talk about indoor vs outdoor ranges. If you have shot at an indoor and an outdoor range, you know the decibel level is much lower outdoors. There is nothing to trap the sound except the berm and that is negligible. Therefore you are only dealing with the actual decibel level of the ammunition leaving the firearm and some shockwave.

On the other hand, indoor ranges trap and reverberate the sound and shock waves. The sound is amplified exponentially in the indoor range. So it is best to look for an outdoor range. If you have not been to an indoor range, you may want to try it just for the experience. They are great in the dead of summer and winter, but you must have great hearing protection.

I did a fair amount of research on fetal development and hearing. Most studies agree that hearing development begins around 8-weeks gestation, with it fully matured by 24 weeks. You may find studies outside of these times, but I have listed the most accepted.

It is true that the sound is filtered through your abdomen and amniotic fluid so there is some buffer. However, I think you will be surprised at the decibel level for the various ammunitions. The base for hearing at a safe level is 50-60 decibels. There are a couple of charts at the end if this article along with web sites if you would like to read them for yourself.

You may want to think about investing in a suppressor/silencer. This reduces the report a great deal. You will need to plan this in advance. It takes a Class III dealer, document stamps costing $200 and the approval of the sheriff or his designated deputy, and a firearm made/threaded to handle a suppressor. This process can take 6 months or longer. More on this process in another blog.

If you don’t have time for a suppressor process, consider subsonic .22lr ammunition. It may give you some trouble cycling but it may help you have that gun fix. I think about the quietest combination you can get is: an outdoor range, a .22lr rifle and subsonic ammunition.

Shooting is important to us and it may seem during your pregnancy you are already giving up a lot for this little bundle of joy. Take in the facts and make the best decision you can with input from your doctor. If you choose to stop shooting for the time being, remember dry firing is a very effective way of keeping your skills fresh. You can also take the time to consider how you are going to carry your firearm with your new baby. Melody Lauer / Limatunes on Facebook has some great information on this!

Congratulations on this new stage of your life! If you choose to wait until after the birth, I promise you the range will still be there.

DATA

A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB.

Table 1. SHOTGUN NOISE DATA (DECIBEL AVERAGES)

.410 Bore 28″ barrel 150dB
26″ barrel 150.25dB
18 _” barrel 156.30dB
20 Gauge 28″ barrel 152.50dB
22″ barrel 154.75dB
12 Gauge 28″ barrel 151.50dB
26″ barrel 156.10dB
18 _” barrel 161.50dB

Table 2. CENTERFIRE RIFLE DATA

.223, 55GR. Comm load 18 _” barrel 155.5dB
.243 in 22″ barrel 155.9dB
.30-30 in 20″ barrel 156.0dB
7mm Magnum in 20″ barrel 157.5dB
.308 in 24″ barrel 156.2dB
.30-06 in 24″ barrel 158.5dB
.30-06 in 18 _” barrel 163.2dB
.375 — 18″ barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB

Table 3. CENTERFIRE PISTOL DATA

.25 ACP 155.0 dB
.32 LONG 152.4 dB
.32 ACP 153.5 dB
.380 157.7 dB
9mm 159.8 dB
.38 S&W 153.5 dB
.38 Spl 156.3 dB
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB
.41 Magnum 163.2 dB
.44 Spl 155.9 dB
.45 ACP 157.0 dB
.45 COLT 154.7 dB

REFERENCES:

http://www.pregnancyandbaby.com/pregnancy/articles/945349/fetal-development-what-does-baby-really-hear-in-utero

http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/topic/fetal-development/second-trimester

http://hearingguy.com/pediatrics/

http://www.amplifon.co.uk/resources/how-babies-develop-hearing/

http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/fetal-hearing/

http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/ask-heidi/lloud-noises.aspx

http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

http://www.thegunmag.com/silencing-without-silencer-meet-ccis-quiet-22-rimfire/

http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Recreational-Firearm-Noise-Exposure/

http://keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2052

http://www.m1911.org/loudness.htm