Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apparently Guns DO Kill People

Remington Arms Co. evidently considered a nationwide recall for its Model 700 hunting rifle, which customers complain will fire without the trigger being pulled. Inexplicably, they decided not to:
The rifle series—which debuted with the Remington 721—featured a unique trigger system patented by a young Remington engineer named Merle "Mike" Walker. Walker has called his design "a perfect trigger," with a smooth pull favored by expert shooters.

According to Walker's patent, the secret was a tiny piece of metal called a "trigger connector," which is mounted loosely inside the firing mechanism. But critics, including ballistics experts who have been hired to testify against the company, say small amounts of rust, debris, or even a small jolt can cause the trigger connector to become misaligned, forcing the trigger itself to lose contact with the rest of the firing mechanism.

Then, the gun can be fired when other parts are operated, such as the safety or the bolt. Barbara Barber says her Remington 700 discharged as she moved the safety to the off position to unload the gun. Others have reported their rifles discharging when they opened, closed or even touched the bolt.


But internal documents obtained by CNBC show that in 1948—before the gun went on the market—Mike Walker himself proposed a design change to prevent the trigger's internal parts from falling out of alignment.

Other documents show the added cost for Walker's "trigger block" came to pennies per gun, but with the rifle already over budget, officials decided against making a change.

I heard that story on the news last week and my first thought was: even if they wanted to issue a product recall, how much do you want to bet the NRA pressured them not to? Because then us Dirty Fucking Hippies who who say guns are not safe would have been proved right.

That’s certainly how it appears:

Documents show that in later years, Remington decided at least twice—in 1979 and 1994—to abandon the idea of a nationwide recall of the 700 series, in part because officials feared it would undercut their message to the public about firearm safety, including making certain the gun is pointed in a safe direction and not becoming overly reliant on the gun's safety mechanism.

"If proper firearms safety rules are followed, no accidental injuries would ever occur," Remington says in its statement.

Amazing that any accidents ever occur, isn’t it? If all guns are safe, and all gun owners are responsible, fine upstanding citizens, why are our children being maimed and killed?

On a related note, it seems Bill Haslam’s pandering has got him into trouble. He’s tried so hard to look like the “everyman” Republican: the reasonable businessman, the moderate, the family-values Christian. But when he got nailed on the guns thing, his attempt to look like a Zach Wamp-style right wing wackadoodle--pardon the pun--backfired. Ooops.

It’s been kinda cute to watch Haslam backpedal on this one. First he promises to sign a bill that gets rid of carry permits. Then people are like, “hey wait a minute that makes no sense and makes Tennessee look like a bunch of hayseed backwater hicks who love their guns more than their safety.” And he’s like, “well, I’d prefer we didn’t change the law but ... hem ... haw ... I’ll do what the legislature wants. Because while my folksy TV ads show that I’m a leader, I’m not that much of a leader! When it comes to crazy gun laws I’ll do whatever the nutballs say!”

The next few years don’t bode well for Tennessee.

So now we have people who want to do away with the gun carry permits, let everyone carry a gun, anywhere they want! Why the hell not, right? At the same time, you’re doing away with the most modest of public safety procedures, ensuring the person walking around with a weapon is a legal U.S. resident or citizen, not a felon, a stalker, a terrorist, drug addict or a mental case, and more importantly, if any of these things do become true, you eliminate the mechanism for taking the person’s carry permit away.

And the reason some folks want to do this? Because everyone who carries a gun is a fine upstanding citizen! Don’t you follow the logic?


As more people carry more guns around to more places we will have more shootings, accidental and otherwise. Count on it. And some day when the nuts have all shot themselves in the face we can get back to having some sane gun laws in this country. Until then, Congress will pass all sorts of laws protecting the gun industry because they're too cowed by the industry thugs and the NRA.