Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my monthly print newsletter,
The Lamplighter Report.
This week, we’re going to talk about the National Right To Carry Reciprocity Act, new DHS guidelines, smoked turkey, and LaRue Tactical.
National Right To Carry Reciprocity Act passes the House!
On Wednesday, November 16th, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 822, the “National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act” by a vote of 272-154. The bill, if left intact by the Senate, would cause concealed carry permits issued by any state to be recognized by any other state that issues concealed carry permits—similar to the reciprocity that we currently have with drivers’ licenses.
H.R. 822 would NOT create a national registry, despite what many emails floating around claim. I received several warnings from readers saying how bad H.R. 822 supposedly was, but fortunately the claims made in the emails didn’t match up with the content of the bill.
As a concealed carry permit holder in multiple states and a frequent traveler, I’m excited about this. It has been frustrating over the years to visit the same place a few times per year and have the laws randomly change between visits. Nevada was one particular example of this for me. I’m also excited to see how this pans out in places like California, Hawaii, and Maryland—states that technically have concealed carry permits but who make it difficult for travelers with out of state permits.
The next steps are for it to pass the Senate, for differences to get ironed out in committee, if necessary and then sent to the President. If it gets vetoed, then there’s a chance to override the veto. I’m not sure how long the bill can be stretched out, but I wouldn’t mind waiting until late January, 2013 for it to go to the President’s desk.
One objection to the bill is that it doesn’t give residents of Vermont reciprocity since the bill requires a physical license. Frankly, I’m ok with this. They can keep their “everyone can carry” law, which I agree with, and also issue a permit for ATF and reciprocity purposes like Arizona and Alaska do. This is my opinion, and I’m welcome to comments and criticisms on it.
***This quick section wasn’t in the original article, but was a reply to a comment that I saw as essential to the article***
One important point on whether this bill is catagorically good or catagorically bad–Conservatives traditionally see things as black and white/all or nothing. Liberals see the long war and appreciate the value of incrementalism and compromising in the short term in order to continue making progress towards the end goal in the long term. This, in my opinion, is one of the biggest reasons why the US is as screwed up as it is…conservatives don’t know how to fight a prolonged war. We demand a perfect solution/candidate/law today and whine and reject anything that isn’t a 100% solution.
Since it’s football season, I’ll give an analogy of two teams with completely different strategies. The conservative team throws a hail Mary on every play, even 4th down, saying that if they can’t get a touchdown, why play. The liberal team grinds it out with runs up the middle, sweeps around the end, short passes, and long passes. They start each drive willing to take 10-30 plays to score. In game after game, the same team wins. Can you guess which one? Can you see why?
This bill is only bad if we see it as the solution. It’s not the solution…it’s a single play in a long war. If we’re dancing, celebrating, and heading to the sidelines to pat ourselves on the back after one good play and aren’t willing to keep moving the ball forward a few yards at a time and punch it into the endzone, then you’re right…it was a bad play. But if we see it as a single play, then I’d say it was the equivalent of a 20-40 yard pass. Could we fumble on the next play? Yes. Will we? Time will tell.
Right now, the requirements to get a concealed carry permit in most states are fairly lax. In my mind, this is the worst of all worlds. Permit holders get an official looking document giving them a false sense of ability, and the 2nd Amendment is usurped to a certain extent.
I’d much rather see concealed carry recognized as a 2nd Amendment right and for the requirements for concealed carry permits to go up considerably or for their to be 2 tiers of firearms permits…tier 1 could be a criminal background check and whatever is necessary to waive the ATF waiting period for buying firearms, but would include no training. I see the possibility that this could also double as a “preferred traveler” type document for flying, but it wouldn’t be necessary for concealed carry since that is covered by the 2nd Amendment.
The 2nd tier carry permit would be much closer to an armed security license and I see it including advanced training as well as continuing education. I see this as being a certification that people would naturally want to aspire to. Not required in any way, but a standard of training that firearms schools, shooting leagues, and security companies could use across the country.
Since the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are coming up, and many of you will be traveling, I want to tell you quickly about how I travel with a firearm.
I’ve flown with at least one firearm a few times a month for several years. I travel with a firearm anywhere where it is legal to have a firearm, regardless of whether or not it is legal to carry there or not. This means that I’ve had hundreds of interactions with TSA in numerous airports involving taking guns on planes. To date, I have not lost a firearm, been detained, or harassed in any way. I’ve only had one “snarly” interaction because I put my declaration form inside of my gun case (where the ticket agent told me to) instead of on top of my gun case inside of my luggage. Here are a few of the things that I do. This isn’t necessarily what YOU should do…policies vary from airline to airline and from airport to airport and change over time, so make sure to verify on the TSA website and your airline’s website that what you’re planning on doing is legal.
1. When I’m talking to the ticket agent, I never say “gun”. I either say, “I need to declare” or “I need to declare my sidearm.” Sometimes, I just open my bag with my gun case visible inside and ask for a declaration form.
2. I used to carry ammo in an ammo box, but I don’t do that anymore. I simply load 2 magazines with ammo and put them in the case with my sidearm. If I need more ammo, I buy it where I’m going.
3. I used to run a length of 550 cord through my firearms so that it was poking out of both the breech and the end of the barrel so that it was obvious that there was nothing in the firearm. I don’t do that anymore.
I simply disassemble the firearm and put it into the case. With my Glock, that means that I’ve got the lower, the slide, the barrel, and the spring assembly in the case. The difference is that many ticket agents USED to look at the gun in the case with a little bit of fear from not understanding what they were looking at. With the disassembled gun, the look is more curiosity along the lines of, “What are all of those parts? That’s what a gun looks like?” In short, I haven’t felt even a slight bit of conflict or disdain since I started disassembling my firearms for flight.
4. I try to make sure that I have either a military or law enforcement shirt on the top of my luggage that the gate agent will be likely to see when I’m declaring my sidearm. I’m always very clear to say that I’m not LEO or military if they ask, but I want to give them every possible assurance that I can that I’m one of the good guys.
5. Depending on the airport, you might have to take your luggage to a TSA agent or wait a few minutes until TSA searches your luggage behind closed doors. I’ve gotten into more gun conversations with these TSA agents than I have at ranges during the same time period. These have never been the full-body-patdown goons…they’re oftentimes retired military or law enforcement. I’m not saying this to defend TSA…just letting you know that things will probably go smoother if you go into a conversation about carrying a gun on a plane with the mindset that there is a good chance that the person you’ll be interacting with is a fellow gun owner.
Regardless of whether that’s the reality on the ground for you or not, things generally go smoother with law enforcement when you’re kind and happy than when you’re snarling, defensive, and apprehensive.
INS/DHS/ICE Decides to Focus on “Criminals”?
It’s always bizarre to me when I hear people talk about only wanting to deport ILLEGAL aliens who are criminals. DHS has done it again…saying that they’re going to start focusing on deporting ILLEGALS with criminal records and leaving ILLEGALS without criminal records alone.
Call me crazy, but if someone breaks our immigration laws and is in the US illegally, they’re a criminal.
Keep in mind that my inlaws immigrated to the US. I’m not anti-immigration. I’m anti-illegal immigration. I’d like to either see open borders (not my first choice) or lock down the border and create a simplified process for non-residents to be in the United States legally.
But this current in-between system that we have where laws are selectively enforced and ignored isn’t good for anyone. It teaches both immigrants and our kids that laws don’t necessarily mean anything. If someone’s breaking the law by being in the US illegally, why obey the law and get car insurance? Why worry about breaking the law by drinking and driving?
Most countries have streamlined processes to let people stay in their countries long term if they obey the law and are productive members of society. I’m good with that. At one point in the 60s, when my in-laws immigrated to the US, they had to have a job lined up, a place to live lined up, and $500 cash before they could get into the country. They didn’t have $500, so they pooled money with other friends who wanted to get into the US. Once my in-laws got into the US and on their feet (my father in law was working three jobs by the end of their first week in the US), they sent $500 back to their friends so that the next family could immigrate.
What’s this have to do with preparedness? The connection, in my mind, is that you become known as being a place where non-productive people can come and live comfortably, you create a form of adverse selection where you attract non-producers and repel/penalize productive members of society.
In Central Texas, there is a mass migration every spring and fall. Illegal aliens who do landscaping come up in the spring when the grass starts growing and go back to Mexico to work for the winter when the grass stops growing in the fall. These people WANT to work…and I’d love to have many of them as neighbors in a survival situation.
But when illegal aliens aren’t productive members of society, it strains budgets during good times and creates large groups of helpless people who don’t know how to take care of themselves in a disaster situation—like what we saw at the Super Dome in New Orleans after Katrina.
So this is just one more factor that I keep an eye on…both to gauge strain on government budgets and to anticipate what the general response of the people around me will be to adversity in a survival situation.
We’re only a few days away from Thanksgiving and I’m really looking forward to it. We’re not going anywhere having any guests that we know about yet, but Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.
Revisionist history says that the original Thanksgiving was a celebration of Indians saving a bunch of stupid white men from starvation. Original documents tell a different story…it was more of a celebration of the abundance of crops that the Pilgrims had after embracing free enterprise and abandoning Communism. The first 3 years of experimenting with communal living resulted in a lack of productivity that almost killed them. The difference was stark and the resulting abundance was seen as a gift from God that they were very thankful for.
Personally, one of the things I’m going to do is to smoke a turkey…and while I’m smoking the turkey, I’m going to be smoking cured pork belly right above it to turn into bacon. It ends up being a good combination, with the juices from the pork butt dripping down onto the turkey for the first few hours.
One trick for you if you like to “cheat” on your barbeque and use injections–Store bought injectors always seem to break for me, so awhile back I went to a livestock supply store and bought the biggest gauge needles that they sold and a big syringe. Unlike the store bought injectors, this setup is bomb proof.
If you aren’t familiar with barbeque injectors, it’s a way to inject oil, marinades, beer, citrus juice, etc. into meat before you smoke it. This helps the meat stay moist during the cooking process, so that the flavor is consistent throughout, and help make the meat more tender. Many serious barbequers see this as cheating, because it allows you to get away without tending your meat as often as you need to if you’re basting it to keep it moist.
I’m not a purist and am mainly trying to get the best end product to put on the table, but I do still try to use progressively less injection each time I smoke a particular cut of meat. Keep in mind, that this is the exact opposite of what you want to do if you’re trying to preserve meat. When I cook meat, I try to keep it as moist and juicy as possible, but when I’m preserving meat, I’m trying to lower the moisture level so that the moisture/salt level is too low to support bacterial, mold, fungus, and virus growth.
In the early stages of a breakdown of the grid, I’d cure/smoke/jerk as much meat as I could to preserve it as long as possible.
What are your Thanksgiving plans? My prayers go out to people who are planning Thanksgiving day conversations with friends and relatives about preparedness (both Earthly and spiritual). Remember, some will get it, some won’t, keep trying. What are your thoughts on the National Right To Carry Reciprocity Act? Is it a camel-under-the-tent scenario, or is it as good as it looks?
Are you planning to brave the opening crowds for Black Friday? Are flash mobs or the infantile behavior at the Occupy events influencing your decision at all? How so?
Also, give a shout-out by commenting below if you were at the LaRue Tactical Day At The Range last Saturday. It was a GREAT event in Liberty Hill, Texas with at least 1,000 gun enthusiasts spending the day together shooting tricked out LaRue OBRs (Optimized Battle Rifle). More on the OBRs in future newsletters…
Until next week, God Bless, stay safe, and happy Thanksgiving!