Sunday, October 20, 2013

Investing in Firearms

I've sort of casually invested in firearms for many years.  I say "casually" because I have never investigated market conditions, nor have I studied what was hot and what was not.  I had an informal awareness of the fact that Lugers were increasing in value at an obscene rate and that the Python I foolishly sold years ago was now the price of a respectable used fishing boat.  

I have always like Lugers and other early German pistols, as well as Smith's and a few others. These were the basis of my "portfolio".  I also was fortunate to be the recipient of a number of firearms from friends and relatives over the years.   I was doubly fortunate in that most of these were in excellent condition and were very "collectable".   So these weapons are the basis of my Firearm Portfolio:
Manufacturer Model Date  Caliber (mm)
Sauer 38H ~1941 7.65 mm (.32 ACP)
Browning High Power 1986* 9mm
Inland Division M1 Carbine 1941* .30 Carbine
Mauser Werke Mod. 1895 Pre-War  7.63×25mm Mauser 
Mauser Werke Mod. 1895 Red 9 9mm
Smith and Wesson Model 1950 1952 .45ACP
Smith and Wesson Model 624 1985 .44 Special
Colt Officers Model 1916* .38 Special
DWM P .08 Luger 1927 9mm
DWM P .08 Luger 1916 9mm
Mauser Werke P .08 Luger 1938* 9mm
Mauser Werke P.08 Artillery 1917* 9mm
Mauser Werke P-38 1943* 9mm
Walther P-38 1944* 9mm
UBERTI S&W #3 Modern .44 Russian
Colt Targetsman 1974* .22 LR

The asterisks indicate dates of manufacture that are either on the weapon or have been confirmed by a record search.  All are in Excellent condition.  The Mod. 1895's are virtually new. The Lugers have some holster wear but are very nice.  The point is that any collector of these things would be happy to add any of the examples to his collection.

How has this portfolio performed?  Better than my stocks, that's for sure.  However, some of the values, while all have grown, have not increased as much as would have guessed.  The High Power is only about 15% more than I paid though it is virtually new.   The M1 went from (I am embarrassed to say) around $175 to around $1000 (I said "buy smart", didn't I?)

I bring this subject up because of a neat little piece published by our pals at the Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC):

Stocks, Bonds or Barrels by RIAC

It's a good read because if you are  shooter and own firearms, you have already invested.

I commented on the piece but will repeat my thoughts here:

Interesting, and in support of what I have been saying for some time. The main thing (aside from the good caveats that you already mentioned) is condition, condition, condition. Buy one fabulous Python (or Luger or Broomhandle or Mauser Pocket Pistol) rather than 5 Fair Condition C&R .45s. The rate of increase for the good stuff will be jaw dropping, the other stuff will appreciate but it may take a lot more time.

I have a rule of thumb: if you buy a firearm intelligently (ie. used, good price etc) you will be, on average, at break even in 12-18 months. In 2-3 years you will show a healthy profit.

Finally, I would encourage people to not think of firearms as speculative investments. The AR boom has come and gone and AR's, unless collectable, are simply ugly tools whose value is fairly stable. 

Finally, finally, the question always is "is it too late?". That is should one actually buy a Python at today's prices?. I think so, provided you can get something of a deal. Do your research and try to find one that is reasonably undervalued. Then DO NOT HESITATE: go for it and don't look back.

Another thing. If you start accumulating collectable firearms you have to think about storage. Rather than rattle on, perhaps our friends at RIAC could do a piece on that topic.

Thanks for good information guys/gals.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

OK, so you are in your cabin near Big Bear

and you hear that old Chris Dorner may be in the neighborhood looking to pay you a visit.

He may even want to share some of his thoughts for his future activities with you, viz.

I will conduct DA operations to destroy, exploit and seize designated targets. If unsuccessful or unable to meet objectives in these initial small-scale offensive actions, I will reassess my BDA and re-attack until objectives are met. I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing. Just alike AAF’s, ACM’s, and AIF’s, you can not prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death. An enemy who embraces death is a lose, lose situation for their enemy combatants.
The Manifesto
Yessir, that could make for some stimulating conversation.

Now, as you settle into a long evening in your cabin ...

Alone ...

An hour from any help ...

Not near a cop or neighbor ..

I ask you:

What size magazine do you "NEED"?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

No comment

Well, maybe one.


How's that?

Then again, there are any number of idiot potitions with the same level of tome deafness.

How about The Duke?

or our buddy Kerry?

Now I really have no comment.

Manufactured Terror Courtesy of Uncle Sam, Inc.

You might recall that I wrote about a travesty of justice back in April.  It appeared to me that the defendant, Tarek Mehanna, was well and truly railroaded and sentenced to prison for 17+ years on the flimsiest of pretexts.  I think that we are all uncomfortably aware of various cases where our government appears to play a bit too active a role in the generation of terrorist plots.  It had seemed to me, at least, that this was a real growth industry for various government bureaucrats.

Well, there is a new book, available on Amazon and reviewed in Reason, which tells a very sad and frightening story.  I guess that I wasn't the only one who saw the business connection.  From the Reason review:
Imagine a country in which the government pays convicted con artists and criminals to scour minority religious communities for disgruntled, financially desperate, or mentally ill patsies who can be talked into joining fake terror plots, even if only for money. Imagine that the country's government then busts its patsies with great fanfare to justify ever-increasing authority and ever-increasing funding. According to journalist Trevor Aaronson's The Terror Factory, this isn't the premise for a Kafka novel; it's reality in the post-9/11 United States.

Folks, it is a very short step between catching a person with evil intent and helping him be evil. I will be the first to say that home grown terrorist that plan on planting explosives to endanger us all should be locked up in Supermax.  The problem that I have is when you have some idiots, with limited intelligence  who are guided every step of the way by agents of our government.  And only then arrested.  The idea that unactualized evil is helped along to a point where it is legally actionable is very troublesome to me and it should be to you too.

Which brings us to the concept of a "Near Occasion of Sin".  Let me quote 

In the form of the Act of Contrition that many of us learned as children, the final line reads, "I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasion of sin." It's easy to understand why we should "sin no more," but what is a "occasion of sin," what makes it "near," and why should we avoid it? 
Answer: An occasion of sin, Fr. John A. Hardon writes in his indispensable Modern Catholic Dictionary, is "Any person, place, or thing that of its nature or because of human frailty can lead one to do wrong, thereby committing sin." Certain things, such as pornographic images, are always, by their nature, occasions of sin. Others, such as alcoholic beverages, may not be an occasion of sin for one person but may be for another, because of his particular weakness.
There are two types of occasions of sin: remote and near (or "proximate"). An occasion of sin is remote if the danger it poses is very slight. For instance, if someone knows that he tends, once he starts drinking, to drink to the point of drunkenness, but he has no problem refraining from ordering the first drink, having dinner in a restaurant where alcohol is served might be a remote occasion of sin. We don't have to avoid remote occasions of sin unless we think that may become something more.
An occasion of sin is near if the danger is "certain and probable." To use the same example, if the person who has trouble controlling his drinking is going to dinner with someone who always buys him a drink and bullies him into drinking more, then the very same restaurant that serves alcohol might become a near occasion of sin. (Indeed, the bullying person can be a near occasion of sin as well.)
Perhaps the best way to think of near occasions of sin is to treat them as the moral equivalent of physical dangers. Just as we know we should stay alert when we're walking through a bad part of town at night, we need to be aware of the moral threats around us. We need to be honest about our own weaknesses and actively avoid situations in which we're likely to give in to them.
(Thank you to Scott Richert, writing in About.Com, for his lucid definition) 
 Interesting stuff, isn't it?   Note the bolded portion.  That is, as they say, the rub.  I have no doubt that there are a lot of people who have evil intent but that is a far cry from being actively dangerous.  If, for example, a person is encouraged and provided the means it seems to me that the forces of the Government have greatly overstepped.  The Government, then, becomes a Near occasion and that is really not a good thing because, frankly, they prey upon the weak as well as identifying the evil.

The frightening thing is that our mealy-mouthed polititions cannot take a stand on something that concerns national security without being slammed by their opponents and, as we all know, reelection is job one.  Bottom line is don't go looking for reform anytime soon.  Like the "War on Drugs" this "war on Terror" is becoming a business and is institutionalized which means it is part of our landscape for the foreseeable future.  

Sad stuff.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Stand closer"

We need to take time out from hyper serious matters to reflect on how seriously stupid human beings can be.  

Seems the young woman below was seriously gored by a Rhino, as reported in the Telegraph.

The thing that amazes me is this quote:

A South African woman on safari was seriously injured when a rhinoceros gored her in the back moments after a game park owner allegedly suggested she stand closer to the animal for a photo.
Look at the bolded text.  Now look at the picture.

I am not sure what is more amazing; that tone idiot suggested going closer or that the other idiot did it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Assault" Weapons and YOU

The Times editorialized on January 15th on gun control (again).  I commented there, briefly, but I wanted to make a couple of additional points, if I may.  Here is one of the key requirements that the Times has for firearms legislation (who wants to bet that the Admin gave them this word for word?):
 The assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 should be renewed and tightened, with a special emphasis on prohibiting magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The millions who already own such weapons — unnecessary for hunting or protection — should be required to register them and submit to a background check to reduce the mass killing that produced this agonized debate. 
One of the many problems with the Times, a problem shared by politicians and those stupid political "consultants" that appear on the talking head shows, is that staying "on message" sometimes makes one look like a fucking idiot.  You know the drill.  Some Congressman is caught with a hooker and fifteen pounds of cocaine and his mantra is "I was there to find Jesus" repeated over and over as if it is some magic incantation that will do away with the horror that he created for himself.  And if he is important enough, his party (using your political contributions) will hire some hacks that you never heard of to go on O'Reilly and stare eagerly off into space and repeat again and again "He was trying to find Jesus" irrespective of the questions that poor Bill shoots at him/her.  That is the point where you throw a shoe at the TV and remark, with an expletive or two, that only an idiot would believe one word coming out of the hack's mouth.  You are too smart for that, right?  I mean, you wouldn't be taken in by mere vain repetition  would you?  

Of course not.  I mean if the Times repeats incessantly that "Assault weapons" are good for nothing but knocking off innocent citizens then they must be right, right?  

"Assault Weapon" = Rambo

<Sigh>.  To begin with, if you actually use the term "Assault Weapon" without referring to a selective fire weapon used by the armed forces, you have, actually, been suckered in and had your brain washed.  Now, I could say that this is an important issue for all of us and only a limp dicked liberal tool would slavishly accept terminology from an authority without any sort of question as long as it supports your biases.  But I won't.  I'll just give you a quick lesson in firearms nomenclature using Venn Diagrams (since you are probably fairly well educated and know what Venn Diagrams are)

Assault weapons are defined by just one characteristic: they can fire either semi-automatically (i.e. one shot per trigger pull) OR as a machine gun (many shots as long as the trigger is pulled).  If they don't have this capability no amount of whining and tooth gnashing will make them an Assault Weapon.  Not bayonet lugs nor collapsible stocks.

Speaking of which, do you know why collapsible stocks collapse?  To make the weapon more dangerous?   Jesus, you probably think that Nancy Pelosi is a hottie too.  No, idiot.  Listen: The stock moves in and out about 5 inches.  The reason is to make shouldering the weapon more comfortable if you are wearing something bulky.  BTW, why in the world would a bayonet lug under the barrel matter in any sane universe?  Crazy.

The fact is that these semi-automatic rifles and carbines (a carbine is a rifle with a shorter barrel) are used by a variety of folks ... like for target shooting ...

Or for hunting

Or as part of a collection or as a legal memento of the time one spent in the service of one's country.  Naturally, these less than dangerous pursuits are invariably neglected by the Times and by the news outlets that pick their stories up from the Times wire.

It really does amaze me how the dialog can be completely co-opted.  

Stay tuned ...


This is in response to an editorial in today's Times.  

These is no real need to amplify on what I wrote to them except to say that I really wish that the readers of the Times who favor stricter gun control would realize that bad guys (or crazy people) do not pay attention to rules.  And that making guns "harder to come by" is only effective in making it harder for honest folks like you and me to obtain them.  

Remember that getting freedoms back from a government is virtually impossible.

I suppose, no shock here, that the administration has laid pipe with the gun hating editors of the times in preparation for this editorial. I trust that no reader doubts that the basic journalistic integrity of the Times (and some other news outlets) cannot be trusted when it comes to issues surrounding firearms. The problem, of course, is that one cannot really know when one is reading objective reporting or biased positioning on any topic where a progressive slant is possible. This trickles down to the selection of stories that appear (and don't appear) on the front page as well as the tone and tenor of any writing that purports to be news.

Very sad.

In any event, supposing that the President uses some extra legal method to add to the 25,000+ gun laws that are out there already, will the editors of the Times be satisfied? What, precisely, would it take to satisfy them? I think that we know but a bit of honesty would be nice.

The rules that are proposed are nice but I think we all also know that bad guys don't follow rules. To give up freedoms for the illusion of safety is cowardly.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Immigration and Politics (and Genocide)

In the midst of the gun control madness I noticed this story in the Times (the paper that I love to hate).

I will give a few excerpts:

PHOENIX — Immigration agents arrested the mother and brother of a prominent activist during a raid at her home here late Thursday, unleashing a vigorous response on social media and focusing new attention on one of the most controversial aspects of the Obama administration’s policies on deportation.
The agents knocked on Erika Andiola’s door shortly after 9 p.m., asking for her mother, Maria Arreola.
Ms. Arreola had been stopped by the police in nearby Mesa last year and detained for driving without a license. Her fingerprints were sent to federal immigration officials as part of a controversial program called Secure Communities, which the Obama administration has been trying to expand nationwide.
That routine check revealed that Ms. Arreola had been returned to Mexico in 1998 after she was caught trying to illegally cross the border into Arizona with Erika and two of her siblings in tow. As a result, she was placed on a priority list for deportation.
Fair enough, right?  No.  Not right.  Read on:
After being seized on Thursday, she could have been sent back to Mexico in a matter of hours, but Obama administration officials moved quickly to undo the arrests. Officials had been pressured by the robust response from advocates — through phone calls, e-mails and online petitions, but primarily on Twitter, where they mobilized support for Ms. Andiola, a well-known advocate for young illegal immigrants, under the hashtag #WeAreAndiola.
A few points here.  First, crying should not lessen the impact of the law on one.  It wouldn't for me and it wouldn't for you if they came to take away that nasty rifle with the evil bayonet lug.   The broader point is that politicians (and not just the current President folks) will fellate where necessary to assure their continued employment. They all do it.  Washington is full of Linda Lovelaces, State capitols too.  And the object of desire at the moment is the Hispanic community (lucky man, Miguel).  Why?  Because they are poor, have relatives who see the US as el Dorado and, frankly, can be easily bought, particularly when the idiot Republicans continue their death spiral.  

But this isn't about Hispanics or immigration  per se.  It is about our African-American population and the abuse that they suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of both political party's   

The fact is that young black men are very likely to be arrested and to be unemployed.  Why?  Well, we know that single Mom households are a sure recipe for poverty yet politicians quake in fear at the thought of pointing out that the African-American illegitimacy rate is far greater than for any other group.  In ignoring it they doom yet another generation of Black citizens to 21st century servitude.

Now we see the Democrats angling for Hispanic votes by offering up the possibility of decriminalizing jumping our borders.  Never mind that we could do a hell of a lot better with engineers or doctors or research scientists rather than stoop laborers.  That fact seems to be lost on Democratic voters who swoon with the idea of "doing something" for all those poor brown folks.  But the amazing thing is that Black leadership in this country, rather than screaming at the top of their lungs at the sell out of their people, make noises about "solidarity" and the like.  There is no "solidarity folks.  Illegals are the new darlings of the Progressive Left while blacks are fetching their water ... that is if the job doesn't go to Miguel.

Anyway, the situation is dire for African-Americans, perhaps with the worst prospects that they, as a group, have ever faced yet they remain silent, ill served by the fat cats who pretend to represent their best interests.



A Pretty Picture to Enjoy


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Connecticut Selectmen Vie for Attention Whoredom

Amazing development.  The Selectmen of Weston, Connecticut have promulgated a potential ordnance that has the intent of making ownership of weapons so expensive and irritating that they hope people will give them up.  And who are the objects of these new laws designed to protect The People(tm)?  A bunch of affluent, crusty old white folks whose criminal exploits tend more to the white collar than the violent.  They present no danger to adjoining towns and none to themselves.  

Jesus wept.  What these clowns are doing is saying to the criminal element (you think anybody wants to rob a bunch of rich white guys in rural Connecticut?   Nahhhhhh.) that there exists, in Weston, a bunch of prospects for theft, burglary, home invasion and what have you and they are unarmed. 

Now we all know that this idiotic proposal is not going to happen.  Weston is a small town and can not afford the lawsuits that are going to ensue.  In fact, the very existence of the possibility that such legislation would be considered by the Selectmen is ample grounds for a claim of malfeasance and the basis for rapid recall.  It is likely that the Selectmen in question will be doing something else this time next year.  Also, the State of Connecticut takes a dim view of having it's prerogatives usurped by a bunch of small time political hacks.

So we need to ask "why?".  

I will tell you why.  The Selectmen think that this is their chance for stardom.  That in the Liberal firmament they will stand out as beacons of rectitude.  That they will force their neighbors to forgo personal defense in favor of trust in their Police and local Government.

Pardon me for a moment

The people responsible are below.  Drop them a line

First Selectman, Gayle Weinstein
Selectman, David Glenn Muller
Selectman, Dennis H. Tracey III

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Letter to My Representatives

Dear Senator/Congressman

I am as upset and outraged as you by events in Aurora Colorado and Newtown Connecticut.  My greatest fear is that these horrific events will spur legislation that is ill considered and too much the product of political opportunists who believe, as Rahm Emanuel does, that: 
You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.
The entities and individuals who would like to disarm Americans or make gun ownership and use onerous to the point that many would give up their interests have been waiting for an event such as occurred in Connecticut to put laws and rules and regulations in place that will create a slippery slope to the elimination of private ownership of firearms.  Why do I say this?  Because the proposals have nothing whatsoever to do with the events that transpired.

- high capacity magazines are irrelevant.  Even a person with moderate practice can reload very quickly
- semi automatic firearms are marginally more destructive than firearms with other methods of loading.  
- restrictions on superficialities (bayonet lugs, flash suppressors and so on) criminalize appearance with no benefit to anyone

Some proposals that I have heard would make collecting of American military weapons impossible.  Others create hurdles to ownership (including excessive costs) that are simply not fair and are redolent of the tactics employed by white supremacists to disenfranchise blacks in the Reconstruction south.  

I think that if we take a step back and consider what makes a good law we will all benefit.

  • There must exist a real problem that law can address
    • Certain behaviors cannot really be controlled by government and in many cases government has no right to interfere in the first place.  This covers a broad range of human behaviors and ignoring this invariably results in yet more laws and rules all of which are equally ineffective.  
  • The law itself must address specific, relevant issues
    • Outlawing bayonet lugs, for example, when assaults by a fixed bayonet are nonexistent is an example of a law that concerns itself with an irrelevant triviality.   Limiting the size of magazines (not "clips", those are different things) is silly since any semi practiced shooter can swap smaller capacity magazines at a rate that obviates the intent of such a law.  This is a perfect example of "feel good" legislation: laws that do nothing but make for good sound bites.
  • The law must be enforceable
    • Demanding that guns be locked up implies that the forces of government can check whenever they choose.  Do you think that that will happen?  Then why say it?  Perhaps providing discounted gun safes would be a better idea.
  • It must be possible to accurately asses the impact of the law
    • Being unable to see an effect because the data is "noisy" or incomplete signals the existence of a bad law implemented for feel-good reasons.  Lack of measurable impact with good data in hand signals a very ill conceived law.  The impact of the assault ban in NJ is unmeasurable yet it goes on.
  • There must be a method in place at the time of creation of a law for it to lapse or otherwise be removed if it does not work
    • Funny how many silly laws still exist.  
We have bad law in place that was implemented too soon after a tragic event whose existence is an embarrassment to those of us who value our Constitution and the processes that it defines.  The Patriot Act, or at least certain aspects of it, comes to mind as an example.

I think that we should all take a step back and consider what happened in Connecticut and Colorado and think about the aftermath.  I, for one, am very concerned with the treatment by the Media of these events.  Sadly, the Media rarely looks inward yet there are experts who suggest that the proximal cause for outrages such as we experienced are contributed to by the glorification of these events.  Glorification means wall to wall coverage in the most vulgar possible way.  Glorification also means the breathless approval of the latest blood soaked work of Tarantino.   There is plenty of blame here to go around and not all of it rests on gun owners.

I hope that this note lends a considered element to the discourse that you are engaged in and that it reflects the complexity of the problem.


Michael James Cobb

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Journalistic Responsibility

Just came across the front page review for the darling of the left's heart throb, Sean Penn's new film.

The New York Times, who is on a one paper crusade to disarm the American public extols this film and features this image on their front page.  The New York Times, a paper that takes no personal (corporate?) responsibility for the glorification of violence nor the coarsening of our society.


And why?  Because they fear the intrusion of government into their constitutionally protected sphere.  God forbid that their content be regulated, God forbid that someone ask "do we really need that?"  or "are we as a society better off without such crap?"

Firearms violence is complicated, the arms themselves are part of the problem.  The other part is the role that the media, like the Times, play in creating an environment that is conducive to horrors such as those that occurred in Aurora and Newtown.

The Times (as with other media) revels in calling the kettle black and is proof against the irony of their position.