Thursday, February 04, 2010

Notes from the gun shop...

It is amazing to me that I am still so naive that I'm surprised that anyone would not consider their criminal past when filling out the paperwork (including the 4473) for the background check when buying/attempting to buy a firearm. Whatever you might think of the logic of denying firearms to any given segment of society, be it felons, drug addicted, former mental care recipients, etc, you must be struck by a system that allows prohibited persons an opportunity to violate a law.

Today's exhibit was a person who had been convicted of two counts of simple possession of a controlled substance, marijuana. Under Virginia law that person isn't permitted to purchase a handgun for five years. I thought it was forever, but was corrected. The person who had been denied the transfer claimed to have been unaware of the restriction and then told that they could purchase a rifle but not the handgun they had attempted to purchase. To my mind, a rifle is WORSE than a handgun but then I'm only thinking about destructive power. As we all know, concealability is the almost uniquely American bugaboo as regards firearms. In other countries, military chambering is considered the real threat, but I'm digressing.

So, this fellow comes back and applies to get a .22 LR rifle instead of the inexpensive small pistol he was planning on buying. He was once again delayed. I'm wondering what is going to happen next.

As an aside, a full 2/3s of our background check submissions were delayed. That isn't the norm. Some days less than 10% are delayed. It all depends on who happens to come in. Contrary to rumor, concealed handgun permit holders and law enforcement officers are just as likely to be delayed as other buyers.

The other thing that happened was a customer came in with the now old question of what loads are safe in a .357 Magnum rifle. Apparently there is a wide spread notion that normal .357 Magnum loads aren't safe/suitable for a .357 Magnum rifle. In my experience, by my reasoning, this is wrong.

In my revolvers and rifle, the loads which do not exceed the standard for the cartridge pressure will be safe in all arms which are chambered for any given cartridge. Exceptions might be antique arms chambered for cartridges originally loaded with blackpowder for which ammunition is currently made with smokeless powders. Maybe. I personally believe that if the maximum BP cartridge pressure isn't exceeded, guns in good, serviceable condition don't care about the powder used in the cartridges. However, this is a circumstance that doesn't apply to the .357 Magnum cartridge. The only real consideration of factory or handloaded ammunition which doesn't produce excessive pressures is whether or not the cartridge will function in the user's firearm mechanism. In other words if the exterior dimensions permit function and there are no excessive pressures produced by the combination of components all is well.

Apparently the people at Sierra have contributed to this idea by having, at some point in time, a suggested load(s) expressly for the .357 Magnum rifle. I'm still looking for a copy of the reference. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of the Sierra manual.

Today was a lesson in misconceptions.

1 comment:

Tam said...

In TN, background checks were done through TICS, not NICS; it was my experience that the group least likely to be delayed were holders of current, valid Commercial Driver's Licenses, while the group most likely to suffer delays were the holders of high level Security Clearances.