Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


Sometimes, the members of Team Kimberlin make it almost too easy to use them as the focus of pointage, laughery, and mockification. Six years ago today, this post—#BillSchmalfeldt, Abrams Tanks, and the Second Amendment—made fun of the Cabin Boy’s™ lack of knowledge about private ownership of weapons.

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I was going spend the entire day ignoring Cabin Boy Bill Schmalfeldt, but someone sent me a link to his latest waste of bandwidth over at Digital Journal (No, I won’t link to it.). It’s called Op-Ed: If Abrams tanks are outlawed, only outlaws will have Abrams tanks. Schmalfeldt seems to believe that ownership of an Abrams tank by a U. S. citizen is (or should be) illegal.

Other than nuclear, biological, and most chemical weapons, citizen ownership of weapons is not generally prohibited under federal law. Some are restricted. Some are taxed. But few are prohibited. Some states are more restrictive than the feds.

I don’t know how one would go about buying one, but I’m not sure that there is any federal law that bans private ownership of an Abrams tank.

There would be a lot of paperwork and tax filings involved in owning an Abrams. The two 7.62 X 51 mm machine guns and the .50 M2 machine gun would need to have the appropriate ATF tax stamps (and the guns would need to have been made before the 1986 ban). The main gun (either the 105 mm for early M1 or the newer 120 mm) would also have to be registered with the ATF as a destructive device and the appropriate tax stamp purchased.

Here in Maryland, the three machine guns would have to be licensed by the State Police, and the owner would have to pay a $10/year fee for each. The MVA wouldn’t issue tags, so the owner would be restricted to off-road use.

If the owner kept live rounds for the main gun, the ATF would impose requirements on the storage magazine, and, here in Maryland, the State Fire Marshal would get involved.

So, yes, the Second Amendment does protect a citizen’s right to possess arms.GE

Even an Abrams tank with the right paperwork.

UPDATE—Stacy McCain has more about crazy folks with guns here.

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Someone should use that photo to make a meme.

My Other AR


I’ve occasionally mentioned that I own a Colt AR15 Sporter chambered in the unusual caliber of 7.62X39mm. I use it for hunting deer in wooded terrain. Because of the taper of the cartridge case, a magazine that would normally hold 20 rounds of 5.56mm NATO ammunition will only hold 5 rounds of 7.62x39mm. Other than being semi-automatic and having lower ammunition capacity, it’s essentially the functional equivalent of a Model 1894 Winchester lever action rifle.

The Hoge household also owns another AR. It’s an AR-7, a take-down rifle that’s easy to carry packed away while backpacking or canoeing. The barrel, receiver, and magazine can be taken apart and stored in the stock. The current version made by Henry Repeating Arms will float either assembled or disassembled. It’s chambered in .22LR, so it’s cheap to shoot, and it’s accurate enough to take small game out to any range that such critters should be hunted with a .22.

UPDATE—Of course, the AR-7 does have a history in movie fiction as a sniper rifle. James Bond was issued one in From Russia With Love. I suppose that will be sufficient justification for Robert O’Rourke coming to confiscate our AR-7s as well.

You Can’t Buy Back What You Never Sold


Only two of the firearms in my collection were ever sold by the federal government, a Model 1903 Springfield rifle I inherited from my father-in-law and an M1 carbine that I’ve owed for decades. Even though there were at least two intervening owners between the government and me for both rifles, I suppose it would be technically possible for the government to say it wanted to buy them back, but they’re not for sale.

Now, about my AR15 … Mine is a Colt Sporter in 7.62x39mm. That’s an odd chambering for an AR15, but the cartridge is legal for deer in Maryland—the more common .223 Rem/5.56 NATO round isn’t—and it’s my preferred deer rifle for hunting in the woods. I didn’t buy it from the the government, and even if Colt were to make an offer, it’s not for sale.

BTW, the Springfield is an interesting collector’s item. It was produced just after World War One, so it was one of the first made using the improved heat treating process for the receiver. It also has the cutout for a Pedersen Device.

Don’t Know Much About History


The first example of the use of guns to secure a community’s rights that comes to my mind is the Battle of Athens. This is from the Wikipedia article about that event.

The Battle of Athens (sometimes called the McMinn County War) was a rebellion led by citizens in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, United States, against the local government in August 1946. The citizens, including some World War II veterans, accused the local officials of predatory policing, police brutality, political corruption and voter intimidation.

On a less grand scale, I’ve been told by a fellow engineer (a graduate of Tuskegee Institute) about how his father used a shotgun to protect the rights of his family.

I’m sure the Gentle Readers who know a bit of History can cite other examples.

My Latest A-Salt Weapon


I ordered one these Bug-A-Salt “weapons” for use against insects around stately Hoge Manor. I’ve found mine to be very effective. Click on the image on the left to order one from Amazon.

The Bug-A-Salt shoots ordinary, non-toxic table salt accurately to a range of about 3 feet. No batteries are required. The sights pop up to indicate that it’s cocked and ready to fire.

Common Sense Controls


While I don’t agree with the exact compromise Aaron proposes here, he’s thinking in the right direction.

BTW, we have universal background checks here in Maryland. They’ve been effective at inconveniencing private individuals engaging in otherwise lawful gun transactions, but Baltimore’s murder rate is up almost 50 % since the background checks became law.

Nice Court You’ve Got There—It’d Be A Shame If Something Happened To It


Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) has filed a brief with the Supreme Court in case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York. In his brief he warns the court not to take up the case, lest it find itself ruling in favor of the Second Amendment claim made by the petitioner.

The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be “restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics,”

FDR’s threat of court packing worked 80-some-odd years ago. I hope the justices ignore this one.

BTW, Dick Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal, and Mazie Hirono all signed on to Whitehouse’s threat to the court.