Re-definition as a tool for banning airguns, Technology to stop poaching

Sep 10, 2013
Seems the New Jersey State Police has quietly put another category of firearms on their list of "banned assault weapons" - the common air rifle. OK, not the very common types, but the types that include the Gamo Whisper .177, .22., DX and other similar models that have noise reduction technology incorporated into them.

Seems Lt. Joseph Genova of the NJSP Firearms Investigation Unit sent a letter to New Jersey firearms retailers regarding the legality of air rifles with internal or barrel mounted baffles designed to reduce noise. In his letter of August 23, the air rifles are classifed as firearms under NJ regulations because any form of "firearm silencer" is illegal in the state.

New Jersey has considered air and spring-loaded rifles firearms for what the New Jersey Second Amendment Society's Frank Fiamingo says is a long time. But this would be the first time the noise-reduction technology has been used to qualify them as illegal due to that noise reduction capability.

This wouldn't have been noticed had the New Jersey Division of Fish and Game not allowed air rifles legal for hunting squirrel and rabbit. And prior to this letter, the Gamo rifles and other brands had been sold for recreational shooting.

Fortunately, this decision, called "overreaching" by the NJ2AS, isn't one that can't be reversed. So....the NJ2AS is asking that gun owners ask for the letter to be reconsidered. As Fiamingon says, " A reasonable person would understand this noise reduction capability is not incorporated for some nefarious purpose, but to enhance the user experience."

We're watching this one, as well as a report we've gotten that another solid company in the firearms business has been told by their longtime banking "partner" that their business is no longer wanted. Reason? The bank is afraid that being associated with a gun company -should there be another horrible shooting- would "sully the bank's reputation."

Before you send me a nasty-gram demanding that I stop being a coward and "name names" in this one, take a deep breath. The National Shooting Sports Foundation - and others- are aware of the situation and have asked that we hold off until they have the opportunity to more fully explore the situation. As was pointed out to me- reasonably- it is not unprecedented for a zealous anti-gun (or anti-anything) bank officer to expand definitions to keep him from having to do business with categories he doesn't like.

If that's not the case, you can count on hearing names, dates and specifics on the national bank. And should that be the case, it's not unreasonable to consider that this retrenchment may have been "encouraged" by an increasingly less gun-friendly administration.

In case you're thinking I'm being over the top on this one, consider the recent announcement that the ATF is "revisiting" the legality of firearms trusts because they have allegedly been used to allow disqualified individuals to owning machine guns. Really? And all along I'd thought firearms trusts were created to allow ownership of firearms - including Class III - to pass from generation to generation without creating a transfer nightmare.

Silly me.>
Installing the triangulating systems around watering holes, satellite technology enables the KWS to triangulate poachers. Photo provided by Cambridge Consultants with permission.
Finally, news of a bit of technology that is being used by a government to benefit wildlife. Cambridge Consultants has created a system for the Zoological Society of London and the Kenya Wildlife Service to use motion-activated cameras that capture images and information to help catch rhino poachers.

It's called the "Instant Wild Project" and it uses the iridium satellite network, micro computers and a triangulation system that helps pinpoint sources of gunfire to help wildlife officers locate poachers.

Patrick Omondi, deputy director of wildlife conservation at KWS, says the technology is a "significant breakthrough in our day-to-day work with endangered species."

"We manage around eight percent of the total land mass of Kenya," Omondi explains, "these cameras will be critical in helping us monitor the wellbeing of rare animals and ensure their habitats remain protected from poachers."

The Zoological Society of London is hoping the system will help prevent the complete elimination of rhinos in Africa. More than 1,000 were killed in the past eighteen months, because of demand for rhino horn products. According to the Society, a rhino is killed every 11 hours in Africa by poachers.

If the system works to efficiently identify and track poachers, I'm hoping the "traditional" methods of managing poachers won't be replaced with a system that's less effective.

As always, we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd