Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pinon's Opinion on the ATF's White Paper

By now most of you may have heard and are aware of the recently released white paper that apparently was authored (but in the copy circulating is not signed) by Ron Turk, Associate Deputy Director, BATFE, on January 20, 2017.  It has been circulating around through the firearms industry and shared on a good number of blogs, with TFB being the first to bring it to light I believe.  For those of you not familiar with the purpose or intent of a white paper in the traditional sense it is a government or other authoritative report giving information or proposals on an issue.  In this case the paper is titled “Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations”. 
As you can imagine most in the industry is trying to interpret or draw conclusions from the paper.  Since the positions taken on many of the 16 key points discussed seem to support options that would align protecting second amendment rights and perhaps relooking at some “older” regulations that perhaps are not as relevant in today’s world of shooting sports it is easy to see why many of those opinions are extremely positive.  Combine this paper with the perceived change in the political landscape and many of the opinions are not only excitedly positive for change but, in my opinion, unrealistic is the amount of time that change may take. 
While we generally try and refrain from providing personal opinions on such matters based on what I’ve been reading, hearing and discussing I felt it was important to at least try and provide some additional prospective to at least discussion around one of the sixteen items (please use the link at the bottom of the page to get to the White Paper), which is item number 8, “Silencers”. 
In reading the position given on the potential to remove silencers from the NFA list, thus allowing them to be regulated the same way as most firearms it’s hard not to get excited.  Popularity of use and a realistic understanding of what silencers are has led to 42 states now allowing the use of silencers for hunting.  The white paper provides data from the AFT over the last 10 years looking at the number of felonies involving silencers averages 44 per year, and only 6 of those had prior felonies.  Combine that with the fact silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings, excessive ATF workload, expense, time demands, and extremely low risk to public safety ATF’s conclusion is “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the GCA.”  But this is where the opinions often expressed are a little too positive…I feel it is highly unlikely that the Hearing Protection Act and the removal of Silencers from the NFA will occur in the quick timelines that a large number of people seem to be saying.
Here’s what is driving my opinion:  I had a lengthy conversation last week with the an executive of one of the silencer companies who’s CEO sits on the Second Amendment Coalition (as does a number of firearms industry heads), which is chaired by Donald Trump Jr., so it’s safe to assume that they may have some insight into what the second amendment priorities of this administration may be.  The Second Amendment Coalition prioritizes the national right to carry, a national reciprocity concealed carry law, as their number one agenda item for change as does the NRA. This alone will be a major feat to pursue.  The Hearing Protection Act (HPA), which would take silencers off of the NFA list, is among their top initiatives, but there is a lot for this administration to take on most likely before they get to this.
The company I spoke with remains “cautiously optimistic” that the HPA will happen but realistically do not think it has a chance of happening as quickly as some in the industry are saying (which seems to be anywhere from a few months to the end of the year). So what goes into this line of thought that I for one share with them? I don’t think most people realize that the bill was originally introduced Oct 22, 2015 and that new one submitted this January, H.R. 367 is an attempt to get H.R. 3799 that has been stuck in the House moving.  Even the number of co-sponsors, while they have grown from 73 under H.R 3799 to 97 for H.R. 367, fall short of the number needed out of 435 in the House.  With Reciprocity as the number one 2nd Amendment focus for NRA and the 2nd Amendment counsel, the opposition of anything and everything this administration is doing from the other side, and the complexity of removing an NFA Item from the NFA list (not just ATF, but IRS) it’s likely to be some time before we see a change in legislation. 
Believe us when we say we want this to happen as bad as anyone else who’s in favor of it.  The administrative nightmare we have to do, the time waiting, the tax stamp fees, etc. we would love to see go away (by the way, when/if it does pass whatever type of credit or rebate happens they are still pushing to make it retroactive from purchases October 22, 2015…but in fairness there is a long way for H.R. 367 to go so this could change). 
So, read the white paper, and form your own conclusions about this item or any of the others, but I would ask you to try and keep things in perspective and not be swayed by the (overly – in my opinion) positive positions that are out there.  It’s been a challenge getting cabinet confirmations through let alone working on some of these ATF items.  One thing we may want to keep in mind if/when it does happen is we could be trading a 8 month wait for a tax stamp for a 12 month wait for supply.  The silencer companies can’t afford to build excessive inventory “just in case” and will not see them try and increase production until there is ink on some paper for sure.  As an industry segment they’ve been in a down market since Executive Order 41-F went into effect in July, thus the Silencerco $200 online product credit to try and get things going again.  We are all dreaming if we think we will be able to walk into any store and have a broad selection of immediately available product types to choose from and walk out with.  I’m definitely with the suppressor companies on that one…if you think you want a silencer of specific make and model, start the process while you can get it now and hopefully the bill will pass and the tax stamp refunded before your Form 4 is approved but either way you’ll have THE non-NFA silencer you wanted when/if they are removed from the NFA list.

Bill Pinon  


For additional information:



https://www.nraila.org/articles/20170210/atf-associate-deputy-director-pens-white-paper-on-reducing-needless-firearms-regulations

https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/national/read-the-white-paper-on-firearms-regulations/2325/

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2017/02/06/breaking-atf-white-paper-leaked/





Thursday, June 16, 2016





STAFF SPOTLIGHT Q&A: 
MEET JONATHON! ANN ARBOR ARMS RANGE SAFETY OFFICER | MOREL MUSHROOM HUNTER EXTRAORDINAIRE



Q: Jonathon, what do you love most about the hunt for Morels? 
A: The thing I love most about Morel hunting is being outdoors with family and friends.


Q: When is the best time of year to look for Morel mushrooms? 
A: Michigan weather is unpredictable as we all know, and if it's a cold spring, you can expect it to be a later Morel season. For perfect conditions, you want a lot of rain followed by some sunny/warm days. If it's raining for a few days, then a sunny 70 degree day follows, I will be in the woods shortly after, looking for them. 

I found mushrooms this year early in April but generally the best time is the last week of April or the first week of May. By that time of year, we are past those cold winter days and have had some good showers and warm days for those Morels to grow. You don't want to wait too long because once the under-canopy starts to grow up, it blocks out the sunlight for the Morels. Once we get close to June and the forest floor is covered, it becomes really hard to find them.

Q: What's your favorite recipe using Morels or your favorite way to cook them up?
A: My favorite way to prepare them is to let them soak in some water with sea salt. The next step is to cook the mushrooms on low heat to get the water out of them. I then drain the water from the pan. Next, I add some butter, garlic salt and pepper, turn up the heat to medium and cook them until they brown up.

Q: Who in your life taught you how to spot them?
A: I taught myself from reading articles in magazines and just walking in the woods a lot. I have learned from trial and error over the years.

Q: Where are the easiest places to find Morels (or what type of environment do they grow best in)? 
A: I typically have the best luck in open, mature hardwoods. I have heard that near dead ash or elm trees are the best, but for me, I have never had much luck. In my spots there are a lot of live elms and I can usually find mushrooms not far form their bases. Also, southern-facing slopes are the best and where you typically can find the most Morels.

Q: How do you determine false vs. real Morels?

The best way to determine a false Morel vs. a real one is to cut it in half vertically. These are the things to look for in a real Morel: cap is usually longer than the stem, the bottom of the cap is attached to the stem. The mushroom is one piece and hollow all the way from the cap to the stem

For false Morels the cap is smaller than the stem. The cap attaches to very top of the stem. The best way i can tell is when you cut a false Morel the cap and stem do not appear to be one piece and is not hollow all the way through.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Beginners Guide: UTM's and Why You Should Be Training with Them for Home Defense


Beginners Guide: UTM’s and Why You Should Be Training with Them for Home Defense

Do you keep a gun in your home for home defense? How often do you train in safe, realistic home defense situations? Have you ever wanted to try your skills at effectively defending a home? In our upcoming Ann Arbor Arms Academy Inaugural Shoot House, the weekend of June 18 and 19, you will be using Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM’s) to safely practice defending a home.
Understanding how to safely and effectively negotiate the environments you live in with a gun in hand is critical to being truly prepared for the worst-case scenario. Our in-house UTM (Ultimate Training Munitions) shoot house simulates a home like setting and introduces you to the basics of home defense.

Details on how UTM’s operate and how they work for you:
·         Has normal weapon function, recoil and realistic and consistent cyclic rates
·         Replaces dry-fire practicing
·         Enhances live-fire practicing
·         Minimal noise and emissions
·         The UTM Civilian Target Ammunition (CTA) is the safest, most reliable and accurate alternative to live ammunition
·         The expanding cartridge combined with the UTM Conversion creates a blow-back system that realistically and reliably cycles the firearm
·         Consistent shot-to-shot muzzle velocities (Average of 375 feet per second), essential for safe indoor target training
·         Intended for all responsible gun owners, novice to professionals
·         The UTM Target Shooting Conversion is uniquely designed to prevent the discharge of traditional “live” ammunition
·         “Fail-Safe” technology is achieved by utilizing a 3mm offset firing pin design, which will only work with the rim fire power load used in the UTM Target Ammunition, but not with a “live” center fire cartridge
·         In the event a “live” cartridge is chambered and the trigger is pulled, the conversion offset firing pin will strike outside the primer pocket of the “live” round. This makes it impossible to detonate the “live” ammunition in the UTM converted weapon
This technology only previously available to military, law enforcement and professional training organizations is now available to everyone for the first time ever! Now you have the freedom to target shoot virtually anywhere, and not use a single round of your live ammunition stock. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned shoot house student, the UTM Target Shooting Round will revolutionize and enhance how you practice defending yourself, your family and your home!

Check out the internals of UTM ammunition!

Home Defense Shoot House with Steve Fisher of Sentinel Concepts

WHEN: Saturday June 18 – Sunday June 19 (9AM to 6PM both days)
*INCLUDED EQUIPMENT: UTM (Ultimate Training Munitions) Glock in 9mm, holster, 100 rounds of UTM ammunition
EQUIPMENT: Please bring wrap around eye protection, gun belt and range appropriate attire. This practical application course does not require armor or helmets
AMMUNITION REQUIREMENT: All ammunition is INCLUDED IN COST. All equipment and ammo will be issued on day one of training
COURSE FEE: $425

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ANN ARBOR ARMS ACADEMY LAUNCHES NEW LESS LETHAL OPTIONS PROGRAM: Self defense classes now offered at Ann Arbor Arms Academy

_________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
_________________________________________________________________________________

CONTACT:        Tatiana Whitlock
                           45 Metty Drive
 Ann Arbor, MI 48103
PHONE            734-531-6650
EMAIL:               training@annarborarms.com
DATE:                March 2, 2016

___________________________________________________________________________________


ANN ARBOR ARMS ACADEMY LAUNCHES NEW LESS LETHAL OPTIONS PROGRAM Self defense classes now offered at Ann Arbor Arms Academy

_________________________________________________________________________________


Ann Arbor Arms Academy (A4) is pleased to announce an innovative Less Lethal Options (LLO) self-defense training program. The addition of the LLO program offers a non-gun-centric exploration of alternative life saving tools and self defense techniques. A4 brings to the classroom what alternatives one has to keep from being defenseless in situations where a firearm is not an option.

The Less Lethal Options program allows us to reach individuals who are either not interested in firearms or who cannot carry a firearm at their place of business or on school grounds said Director of Training & Development, Tatiana Whitlock.


Less Lethal Options programs include hand-to-hand self-defense, edged weapons defense, short stick and monkey fist classes, and pepper-spray courses.  An Introduction to Less Lethal Options class has also been launched to provide a comprehensive overview of what tools and types of training are available to individuals.

Leading the program as primary instructor is internationally recognized Japanese martial artist, author and Ann Arbor businessman, Nicklaus Suino. Considered one of North Americas foremost martial arts teachers, Suino is a leader in the Japanese martial arts community both in the United States and abroad. 

Partnering with local professionals and experts like Nick is a vital part of the A4 mission to support the Ann Arbor community said Ann Arbor Arms owner, Bill Pinon.

Catering to all skill levels from the extreme novice to the seasoned enthusiast, A4 offers Less Lethal Options programs for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels in a safe, structured and welcoming environment.

This is an opportunity to learn a range of self-defense options in an atmosphere of professionalism and respect.  Effective self-defense starts but doesnt end with firearms. At A4 you can learn to apply the fundamentals across the force continuum, said Suino.

In addition to teaching martial arts, Suino consults for businesses and individuals who want to improve their effectiveness using the physical, mental, and intangible principles of mastery. Suino believes that practice of the self-defense arts can have a profound positive effect on people's lives.


We are adding programs based on the needs of our students and members of the community. Being a college town, there is a strong interest in firearms alternatives and techniques in Ann Arbor. The LLO program is designed with leading experts in their fields to bring these options to the greater Ann Arbor community said Director of Training & Development, Tatiana Whitlock.


Ann Arbor Arms Background: Ann Arbor Arms (A3) is a family owned business that was created out of the enthusiasm and passion for shooting sports, coupled with the love and concern for the protection and well-being of friends and family.  Ann Arbor Arms was founded in 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has developed into what has now become the most premiere personal defense retail, educational, and firearms training facility in the United States.  A3 officially launched Ann Arbor Arms Academy (A4) in December of 2015. Ann Arbor Arms is in its newly constructed 25,000 square foot facility located at 45 Metty Drive in Ann Arbor.  The facility includes over 6,000 square feet of retail and classroom space, along with 24 indoor shooting lanes which includes a state of the art tactical training bay. While memberships that give access to exclusive training venues are available, one does not need to be a member to use the pistol and rifle ranges or attend A4 classes.  The A4 Less Lethal Options course descriptions and schedule can be found online at www.AnnArborArms.com/events. For more information on all A4 programs and instructors visit them at their location, 45 Metty Drive in Ann Arbor, Michigan or online at www.AnnArborArms.com.



MEDIA RESOURCES :

Nicklaus Suino
http://japanesemartialartscenter.com/
Websites



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Major Changes To Michigan Concealed Carry in 2015



We at Ann Arbor Arms would like to share with you an update from Gary C. Bengtson, a practicing firearms attorney who you can find teaching the legal portion at some of our monthly CPL classes. For the most updated legal information regarding Michigan Firearms Law, please visit the Michigan State Police website.


MAJOR CHANGES TO MICHIGAN CONCEALED CARRY IN 2015

By: Gary C. Bengtson (garyblaw@yahoo.com)

November 6, 2015

Various public acts of 2015 effectuated a major revision of Michigan’s concealed carry statute.  Most the changes are effective December 1, 2015, and they primarily modify the “behind-the-scenes” procedure for government processing of a concealed pistol license application, although significant substantive changes were made in certain concealed carry provisions, as outlined below.  It is important for instructors, applicants and licensees to become familiar with these changes, because each of these groups is affected to one degree or another by these modifications to the law. 

The biggest change concerns the county concealed weapon licensing boards.  Effective December 1, 2015, all county concealed weapon licensing boards were eliminated.  The Michigan State Police are now tasked with determination of applicant eligibility for concealed carry and the county clerks are directly responsible for issuing and administrating licenses. 

The cost of applying is now $100.00.  The cost of renewal is $115.00.

Below is a list of the most relevant changes to Michigan’s concealed carry statute.  This is not an exhaustive list of all changes, and if you have specific questions about how the amended law affects you, it is advised that you review the law and / or consult with an attorney.


MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Any application for restoration of firearms rights pursuant to MCL 750.224f now goes to the circuit court in the county where you reside. 

The Michigan State Police shall provide an electronic format (typically CD-ROM) compilation of firearms laws and forms for appeal of license denial, and county clerks shall distribute these to applicants.

Only one submitted application for a concealed pistol license may be made per year.

If the Secretary of State maintains a digitized photograph of applicant (from driver’s license records), no photograph need be submitted with application but if the Secretary of State has no digitized photo of applicant, then a passport quality photo must be submitted.  By 2018, the Michigan State Police shall directly provide for renewal of a concealed pistol license by mail or online.


PROHIBITED PREMISES

There are no significant changes to prohibited premises for concealed carry or to penalties for illegal carry in those prohibited areas.

RENEWAL

The county clerk must now notify a licensee when their concealed pistol license is getting close to expiration, no more than 6 months and no less than 3 months before expiration.  Renewal is allowable if the license is not expired or for one year after expiration of the license.  If an individual applies for renewal prior to expiration, the expiration date is extended until renewal or disqualification.  A renewal applicant must still certify they’ve had 3 hours of review time and 1 hour of range time within the preceding six months.


EMERGENCY LICENSES

The County Clerk shall issue emergency concealed carry licenses to applicants issued a personal protection order or if the county sheriff determines by clear and convincing evidence the safety of an applicant or applicant’s family is endangered by inability to acquire immediate licensure.  Clear and convincing evidence includes an application for a personal protection order not yet issued, other records or video / audio evidence etc.  An applicant for an emergency license must be eligible for a license pursuant to a criminal background check.  A licensee issued an emergency license must complete a training course within 10 business days of applying for the emergency license and must also apply for a regular license within 10 days.  The emergency license is valid for 45 days.  The clerk may provide exemption from premises restrictions if acceptable proof is provided of qualification for the exemption.  No more than one emergency license may be granted every 5 years.  Residency requirement of 6 months may be waived for emergency license. 


INTERESTING ADDITIONAL CHANGES / CLARIFICATIONS

Before amendment, a CPL license could not issue to someone who was the subject of a personal protection order.  Now, a license cannot issue to someone who is the subject of a personal protection order if that order includes a restriction that the application is not allowed to purchase or possess a firearm.

A license may not issue to an applicant with a diagnosis of a mental illness that includes an assessment that the individual presents a danger to himself or herself or to another at the time the application is made, regardless of whether he or she is receiving treatment for that illness.  Prior to amendment, a mere diagnosis without a finding of danger to self or others was automatically disqualifying.

There are some relatively significant modifications to the list of temporarily disqualifying 8 year and 3 year misdemeanors.  Please review the law or talk to an attorney if you have questions about these changes, which are too numerous to list here.

The “safety disqualification” has been eliminated.  Prior to amendment, the county concealed weapon licensing boards had discretion to deny a license to an applicant if there was clear and convincing evidence the applicant was a danger to himself or to others (where the applicant would otherwise qualify).  With the elimination of the concealed weapon licensing boards, this discretion has also been eliminated.  Now, either an applicant qualifies or does not qualify pursuant to the criminal or mental health history of the applicant.

The county clerk gives an applicant a receipt upon application for a license.  If a license or notice of statutory disqualification is not provided within 45 days of fingerprinting, the receipt itself shall serve as a concealed pistol license when carried with qualifying identification.  This receipt is valid as a concealed pistol license until the formal license or a statutory disqualification is issued.  The receipt is required to have this language on the receipt.

Any disqualification notification sent by the county clerk must include each statutory disqualification, the source of the record used and the contact information for the source of the record and the right of appeal.


TRAINING AND CERTIFICATES

Qualifying training must be no more than 5 years old (before amendment there was no limitation written into the law).  Certificates must now have the name and telephone number of the instructor and the name and telephone number of the training organization (typically the NRA) and the instructor’s certification number along with any expiration date of certification.  The law no longer references “the 8 hour pistol safety course” so any course will qualify so long as it meets the requirements for the course, which remain unchanged.  Training must still be at least 8 hours in length.  An applicant can apply using any training certificate that does not meet the requirements of the law at the time of certification issuance if evidence is provided that demonstrates the certificate or training meets applicable requirements.  The amendment still contains the requirement that the certificate of completion state “This course complies with section 5j of 1927 PA 372”.


CONCEALED CARRY AND ALCOHOL

A blood alcohol level of .10 or higher alcohol shall equal revocation of the license.  If the blood alcohol is .08 to less than .10 the court shall (not may) suspend the license for 3 years (before amendment the statute stated not more than 3 years).  If the blood alcohol is .02 to less than .08 the court shall (not may) fine the licensee $100 (before amendment the statute stated not more than $100) and the court shall suspend the license for 1 year.  The language in this section cleans up any confusion regarding use of the words revoke and suspend in the prior law.


A refusal to submit to a breath test shall (not may) result in suspension for 6 months (the statute used to state, without specification, “suspend or revoke”).  In addition, and this is a big change, a refusal to take a breath test is a state civil infraction with a $100 fine.  Before amendment, a refusal just resulted in the loss of license privileges.