Yesterday, another stark reminder that while we all enjoy nature, we are occasionally reminded that there is really nothing any of us can do when natural forces decide to act. This morning, as the death toll continues to rise, all of us who lived through our own set of killer tornadoes only a couple of years ago have those of you in Oklahoma City and the surrounding area in our thoughts and prayers.
Winds estimated from 166 to 200 miles per hour roared across Oklahoma yesterday, leaving at least 51 people dead as rescue and recovery workers continued looking for victims or trapped survivors.
While warning of more bad weather to come, the National Weather Service reported at as many as 28 tornadoes have already been verified across Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois and Iowa.
Again, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
By the time you get this morning's edition in your email box, I plan to be on the highway headed toward Columbia, Missouri and this year's edition of the NRA's Bianchi Cup. But last night as I was writing, I had to wonder what kind of future shooters have ahead of us.
There are several positives about this year's Cup. Despite ammo shortages that have caused other matches to report lowered attendance, this year's competition is totally maxed out- and shooters were lined up on a waiting list. Tonight, we'll gather for our first organizational briefing and we'll all welcome young shooters who are lucky recipients of scholarships to attend the Cup. We'll have to ways to recognize them: lightning fast reflexes and gold shooting jerseys.
International attendance still seems good, and the city of Columbia is welcoming us with open arms. All that might not seem like much, until you consider that within the last week Maryland has passed the most restrictive anti-gun legislation in the country, banning all sales of the modern sporting rifle, a 10-round magazine restriction, and licensing provisions that include fingerprinting gun owners.
California, despite scientific evidence that contradicts the idea behind micro-stamping, now has a law requiring a marking firing pin on every new model semiautomatic handgun sold in the state. The law requiring microstamping was passed in 2007, but hadn't been in effect because of patents on the technology.
On Friday, the California Department of Justice decided the patents didn't encumber the technology, making the 2007 law immediately effective. It also effectively banned the sale of new pistols in California.
Manufacturers say it would cost an average of $200 per gun to implement a technology the inventor says can easily be defeated using simple tools-or a simple firing pin swap. You can read the NSSF's fact sheet on microstamping at:http://www.nssf.org/factsheets/PDF/Microstamping.pdf
Yesterday, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) said it's considering legal actions to stop the measure which is, through its structure, essentially a gun ban.
But it's doubtful, even with immediate legal action, that the law could be overturned any time soon. In the meantime, it looks like curtains for many firearms -and law-abiding firearms retailers-there.
If that's not enough, California is a Senate vote away from passing a total ban on traditional "lead" hunting ammunition. Previously, lead was only banned in the range of the California Condor. If passed, the law would phase in over a two-year period, meaning that by July, 2016, traditional ammunition would be illegal there.
Again, legal challenges are in the works on this bit of bad legislation, too.
In other words, it's situation normal. Some areas of the country are welcome law-abiding citizens who happen to enjoy firearms while others are trying to make their state no-fly zones for gun owners. It's making travel across the country difficult at best for gun owners.
A patchwork quilt of dizzyingly different regulations has me re-calculating my own travel routes. I'm at the point I'll vary routes around states with highly restrictive anti-gun (and gun owner) laws rather than risk running afoul of authorities. It's something every gun owner should consider before hopping in their car and heading out on vacation.
More on that in another column.