Hey, it was just an innocent question

The Brietbart Web site reported Dec. 5 that Barry Greenfield, an elected Selectman in Swampscott, Mass., “is pushing a measure to give police the
authority to conduct home searches to check proper storage of firearms.”

The site reports Greenfield said “State law requires Massachusetts gun owners to keep their firearms locked away or rendered inoperable.” There are “600 registered gun owners in [Swampscott],” and the selectman “wants police to be able to drop in unannounced, enter the homes of each gun owner, and verify compliance.”

The statist Boston Globe had already raced to the selectman’s defense by then, of course, whining on Nov. 13 that the poor fellow was being singled out for abuse by gun nuts after an innocent inquiry.

“A brief discussion during a meeting last week of the Swampscott Board of Selectmen has sparked outrage among gun-rights proponents and turned one selectman into the target of vitriolic e-mails, threatening phone calls, and online petitions from across the nation calling for his resignation,” the Globe reported.

“Under Massachusetts law, gun owners are required to keep their weapons stored in a locked container or locked in some other way. During the selectmen’s discussion last week, Selectman Barry Greenfield asked the town’s legal counsel to provide an opinion on whether that provision could be locally enforced.

“‘We need the ability to enforce the state law,” Greenfield said, according to the online (Swampscott) Patch’s coverage of the meeting on Nov. 6. He “asked if police in Swampscott, a town of about 14,000 people on the North Shore, would have the authority to inspect gun storage. Would it be legal, Greenfield asked, for police to make sure gun owners are complying with those standards?

“The Board of Selectmen soon moved onto other topics, tabling the weapons discussion until town counsel can provide an opinion, but the talk surrounding Greenfield’s questions was far from finished,” the Globe reported. “Several gun-rights blogs picked up on Greenfield’s comments and launched an impassioned crusade against him. In the past week, he has become the target of online petitions calling for him to resign from his selectman’s position. He said he has also received hundreds of phone calls and thousands of e-mails, many of them threatening, from across the country.

“I never suggested that anyone would have access to someone’s home without due process,” Greenfield claimed in an interview with the Globe — without explaining how mere ownership of a gun could possibly generate “probable cause” for a home search. “People took what I said and spun it to say: This selectman wants to invade your home and steal your guns. I simply asked the question. I’ve got two kids in public schools; I’m just trying to protect them. What’s the point of having a law if you’re not allowed to enforce it?”

Indeed. Yet the Selectman wasn’t calling for the repeal of the hard-to-enforce law, was he? Nor did he or the Globe note that back in 1775, when residents of Massachusetts still valued our freedoms above the myth of gun-free, government-imposed “safety,” local leaders responded somewhat differently when General Gage marched his Redcoats north from Boston precisely to determine whether the locals’ supply of arms and powder were “safely stored.”

“I’m a volunteer elected official,” Greenfield wrote in a response to one of the blog posts. (Just for the record, do we have any involuntary elected officials?) “I’m trying to do what I can to prevent (last year’s school shooting at) Sandy Hook happening in my town. And, for that, I get threats to my family and home and person. . . . Whatever happened to civil discourse?”

In real life, of course, the innocent daytime knock on the door probably envisioned by Selectman Greenfield all too often turns into late-night SWAT raids by combat-armored cops who toss in flash grenades and then proceed to handcuff anyone who moves — assuming they don’t just open fire at the first sign of protest or resistance. But most importantly, please note the selectman’s reference to his list of the 600 “registered” gun owners in his town.

This is the big problem with gun registration. Proponents always say “Just sign up, that’s all we want.” Then what do they use their list of registered gun owners for? Note Mr. Greenfield didn’t call for RANDOM home searches to find out who has UN-registered guns (though he’d probably get around to that, eventually.) No, far easier to start with his list of those who complied with the REGISTRATION scheme, sending police to their homes to make sure they’re complying with the state’s unconstitutional requirement that they “store” their weapons in a way which makes them inaccessible, and therefore useless to resist any warrantless search!

(As usual, we may let you “keep” a firearm, but we’re certainly not going to let you “bear” it!)

Of course the “storage” law is unenforceable without violating the Fourth Amendment (except by arresting or suing those whose guns are stolen, of course, thus discouraging the pointless ownership of guns which are useless if kept locked away, which is the whole point.) But this is merely another reason why any such law should be immediately repealed or tossed out by the courts.

And yet another reason why the NRA is wrong in their standard call for “enforcing all existing gun laws.” Enforce them HOW? The better solution, as ever, would be to “repeal all existing gun laws” . . . as the Founders intended.


Walking into a gun store is an increasingly odd experience for this old-timer, these days. Since I collect them, I always ask if any used battle rifles have come in — pre-1960, you understand, in 6.5 or 7.92 or .30-caliber.

The young clerks try to refrain from treating me like a crazy old coot, but come on — get with it, pops. The walls are full of sexy-looking clones of the M-16/M4, all in .223. If I’m lucky I may be shown one old British .303 Enfield. At least they’re still cheap.

Actually, my most accurate shooting, over the years, has been with a 1917 U.S. Enfield in 30.06. But I digress. I was beginning to think I was merely stuck in the past, unable to shake loose of my feeling of horror when I first heard Marine Corps and Army top brass, typical Washington buffoons, insisting back in 1965 and ’66 that the new M-16 was the greatest weapon ever, that the boys merely had to do a better job of keeping them clean, even as returning Marines broke their silence to talk softly about buddies who’d died on their knees in the hill fights around Khe Sahn, trying to use their cleaning rods to get ruptured shell casings out of the brand new M-16s that they dutifully cleaned every night, crying out for the reliable M-14s that had been taken out of their hands and locked up in the rear.

After all, the problems were fixed long ago, right? They couldn’t produce enough of the recommended propellant in time, so Pentagon procurement bought ammo loaded with inappropriate Olin ball powder that tended to clog the gas system while also increasing the cyclic rate of the weapon from 800 to 1,000 rounds, right? So they just added a buffer to slow the weapon down and a forward assist (what?), then chrome-lined the chambers, and everything was good to go, right? I’m just being old-fashioned to worry that .223 ammo, while it may be light to carry, won’t stop anything much bigger than a squirrel unless the projectile tumbles or fragments, that if you want stopping power you need at least the 6.5 Swede that the assassins used in Dallas in 1963, right?

Not necessarily. The post may be a few years old now, but check out www.chuckhawks.com/ar_disgrace.htm.

“The Army has been eerily silent about it. The shooting sports industry, in large measure, has failed to address the matter. Yet the best evidence available points to how the United States has failed and is currently failing our young men and women placed in harm’s way,” writes Randy Wakeman.

The troubled old M16 platform has had its problems from the beginning, Mr. Wakeman notes. Jim Sullivan of the original design team has commented,

“They’re right exactly where they were when we gave them the M-16 in 1960. They haven’t advanced an inch. That AK-74 out-hits the M-16 by two to one on full automatic.”

The U.S. Army’s own testing, provoked by the efforts of Senator Tom Coburn, showed that the current M4 finished dead last in sandstorm reliability testing versus three other rifles. The M4 had more stoppages in the November, 2007 test then all three of the other rifles combined.

CBS News reported on Oct. 12, 2009, “M4 Rifles Causing Problems for U.S. Troops: Independent Study of Wanat Battle by Military Historian Finds Widely Used Gun Can Jam at Worst Time.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), a leading critic of the M4, said at that time the Army needs to move quickly to acquire a combat rifle suited for the extreme conditions in which U.S. troops are fighting. . . . U.S. Special Operations forces, with their separate acquisition budget and the latitude to buy equipment, have already replaced their M4s with larger-caliber FNs.

Wakeman cites a report by Dr. Gary K. Roberts titled “Time for a Change U.S. Military Small Arms: Ammunition Failures and Solutions.”

Dr. Roberts wrote: “The United States made several major missteps in its search for the ideal combat rifle caliber. In the late 1920s, the U.S. Army selected the .276 Pederson caliber produced by Frankford Arsenal as the best caliber for a new semi-automatic rifle. . . . Ordnance trials determined that John Garand’s new .276 caliber T3E2 rifle was an ideal combat weapon”

But development of the .276 rifle was halted in 1932 because of the large remaining stocks of old .30-06 caliber ammunition left over from WWI; the M1 Garand was instead modified to load fewer rounds of the old .30-06 caliber.

“Following WWII the United States Army again made a colossal weapon system selection error when it rejected the British .270 caliber 130 gr and .280 caliber 140 gr ammunition . . . and instead insisted on the full power 7.62 x 51 mm cartridge that offered nearly identical ballistic characteristics as the old .30-06 it replaced,” Dr. Roberts adds. “Given the 7.62 mm’s extremely short life as the standard service rifle caliber, in hindsight, we can hypothesize that both the .270 (6.8 mm) and .280 (7 mm) would probably have been ideal combat rifle calibers and might still be in use today if either had been chosen.”

The disturbing failure of 5.56 mm round to consistently offer adequate incapacitation has been known for nearly 15 years, Roberts reports. Dr. Fackler’s work at the Letterman Army Institute of Research Wound Ballistic Laboratory during the 1980s illuminated the yaw and fragmentation mechanism by which 5.56 mm FMJ bullets create wounds in tissue. But if 5.56 mm bullets fail to upset (yaw, fragment, or deform) within tissue, the results are relatively insignificant wounds, similar to those produced by a teen-ager’s .22 Long Rifle squirrel gun.

“This is true for ALL 5.56 mm bullets,” including those used by domestic police, Fackler found. “This failure of 5.56 mm bullets to upset can be caused by reduced impact velocities when hitting targets at longer ranges, as well as by the decreased muzzle velocity when using short barrel carbines. Failure to upset can also occur when bullets pass through minimal tissue, such as a limb or the torso of a thin, small statured individual, as the bullet may exit the body before it has a chance to upset. . . . Without consistent bullet upset, wounding effects are decreased, rapid incapacitation is unlikely, and enemy combatants may continue to pose a threat to friendly forces and innocent civilians.”

In contrast, 6.8 mm projectiles offer “superior terminal EFFECTIVENESS compared to 5.56 mm in all environments. . . . Unlike 5.56 mm, 6.8 mm continues to demonstrate good terminal performance even after defeating common intermediate barriers, such as glass, walls, and automobiles, as well as loaded AK47 magazines, like those frequently worn in chest pouches by terrorists.”

The lead designer of the M-16, Jim Sullivan, told Wakeman the current, third generation (Russian) AK-74 is far superior to what we give our troops to work with and that if his own son was fighting in the sand he would much rather have him use an AK-74 than the problematic M4. U.S. Special Operations Command back in 2004 agreed, replacing the M4 with the SCAR — but only for the quasi-autonomous Special Forces, you understand.

Army tests have shown the HK416 was “3.77x more reliable than the M4,” the FN SCAR “3.85x more reliable than the M4” and the XM-8 was “6.95x more reliable than the M4.”

Randy Wakeman quotes an undated article from the Army Times: “The harsh terrain of Iraq and Afghanistan have served as proving grounds for the U.S. Army. . . . One critical lesson has been that the M4 carbine and M16 rifle that regular Army troops carry are dangerously vulnerable to the fine sand and extreme temperatures of those combat zones. Soldiers have had their weapons jam when they most needed them — while under fire. Keeping them clean in the combat zone requires more care than is reasonable to expect from busy, weary soldiers.”

Gee, sort of like 1965, all over again.

Still anxious to spend all your limited firearms budget on those cute little plastic .223s? Or might you consider joining this old coot, building up your shoulder muscles and socking away a few old battle rifles in 6.5 or .30-caliber or 7.92, with enough fodder to keep them fed should times ever get tough?

8 Comments to “Hey, it was just an innocent question”

  1. Thomas Mitchell Says:

    Of course, like the selectman, Gen. Gage was merely doing is duty to ensure safety.

  2. Steve Says:

    I was raised in Massachusetts.
    I came out west in the Air Force.
    I stayed out of touch with the east for about 20 years.
    Having been back there several times in the last ten years I am able to say with certainty Massachusetts has forgotten its past and only glorifies the idols that remain as objects from the time they survived.
    It is sad the state seems to have forgotten its past even as it is carefully preserved and visible to anyone who is willing to take a real look.

  3. vic Says:

    Its not just the folks in Massachusetts that have forgotton where they came from ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  4. LiberTarHeel Says:

    Thanks for the vote for the “old” MBRs! I’ll stack my M1 Garand up against the M4/M16 and variants any day. Heck, I’d rather take my .243 bolt action vintage Savage into battle — accurate, reliable, and a decent man-stopper. I could go on …

  5. E J Field Says:

    Even after a few centuries there seem to be a few loyalists to the crown left in the colonies Lol

  6. Sean Says:

    I was always told a gun should be locked away when not in use. But the definition of “in use” is important.

    If you keep a .45 in the drawer of your nightstand while you sleep, in case someone breaks in while you sleep, that gun is “in use” and therefore kept loaded and unlocked.

    But unless you carry it when you leave the house, it is no longer in use and you should lock it up until you return.

    Similarly, I keep my carry firearm locked when I am not carrying.

    Firearms are one of the most stolen items in home burglaries, it only makes sense to protect yours when you are not home.

    None of which has anything to do with a plan to inspect people’s homes. I just dispute the thought that locking up your guns defeats the purpose of owning them.

  7. Steve Says:

    “‘We need the ability to enforce the state law,”

    What a great excuse to enslave us.

    How are we to enforce drug laws? We need to randomly inspect home to make sure they are in compliance with prohibition of certain drugs.

    How about Tigers? It’s illegal to keep exotic pets at home without proper facility and permit. We need to randomly inspect homes to make sure they are in compliance with exotic pet laws.

    After all, we need the ability to enforce the state law, don’t we?

  8. Winston Smith Says:

    I guess next time we schedule a war with somebody, we should make sure that the people we shoot at are overweight.

    From Forbes Magazine:
    “The following list reflects the percentage of overweight adults aged 15 and over. These are individuals who have individual body mass indexes, which measures weight relative to height, greater than or equal to 25. Obese is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30.

    1. Nauru 94.5
    2. Micronesia 91.1
    3. Cook Islands 90.9
    4. Tonga 90.8
    5. Niue 81.7
    6. Samoa 80.4
    7. Palau 78.4
    8. Kuwait 74.2
    9. United States 74.1
    10. Kiribati 73.6”

    Hmmm, maybe we in the U.S. have been fattened up in preparation for martial law. That’s really thinking ahead, fedbots!


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