September 07, 2004

The Hunt for a Clue Goes On

John Kerry's attempts to show he's a gun-man only show how much he apparently doesn't know about how to safely handle guns.

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Can you guess what the problems are? Look again at the second picture.

Where is his eye protection? And his ear protection? These are strict requirements on every range I've ever been on. It takes a special brand of cluelessness to alienate the pro-gun ownership crowd with such a foolish disregard for fundamental safety procedures and at the same time aggravating your anti-gun backers for wielding a gun to begin with.

Posted by Charles Austin at September 7, 2004 11:01 AM

"I say, Jeeves, what a lively one that last peasant was! Have you ever seen the like of his scampering?"

Posted by: Ed Flinn at 12:48 PM

Being an ardent PPE proponent I noticed the lack of safety gear, but I was struck with the question (dare I say hope?) that his facial grimace is the result of the shell having just popped off the bridge of his nose....

I don't know zip about most guns ("weapons", ala USMC, Thank you for your service!!) and I know even less about the ejection path of break-action shotguns so please accept my apologies if any are due...

Posted by: Tom_with_a_dream at 02:09 PM

Definitely a bad idea to shoot without eye and ear protection. My question is "What is the little yellow band around his wrist?" RSI assistance?

Posted by: Tyler at 02:14 PM

The yellow band's a "LiveStrong" bracelet, which raises money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Apparently the billionaire man of the people kicked in a buck to buy one.

Posted by: JL at 02:16 PM

The yellow band is in support of cancer research and Lance Armstrong. I believe Bush wears one also. They're very popular. Many of my daughter's friends wear them.

Posted by: David Pinto at 02:18 PM

Maybe this is something new with "break barrel" shotguns, but in my days (it's been a while)of using one, the shell didn't fly out of the breech like that. I will defer to anyone with an explanation

Posted by: Roger at 02:19 PM

The yellow band is from the Lance Armstrong cancer research foundation -- Livestrong.

Posted by: John Bigenwald at 02:20 PM

My guess is, based on the location and position of his right thumb, that he tried to look cool by flicking the spent shell casing out with his thumb and plinked himself in the face with it.

What a tool.

Posted by: Bruce at 02:29 PM

my eyes! my stinkin' eyes!

Posted by: AC at 02:34 PM

When my husband showed me this picture in the newspaper yesterday and remarked about the lack of ear and eye protection, I thought he was nitpicking. Sorry, honey. I know better than to ever dismiss your opinions.

Posted by: Earth Girl at 02:38 PM

Roger - it simply depends on whether the gun has "ejectors" or "extractors" (or both like mine - extractor for unspent shells, ejector for spent).

I read somewhere that traditionally American guns tended to use extractors, English guns ejectors, but I couldn't say how accurate that is. And I don't know how common the types are on currently sold guns.

Posted by: Ken Summers at 02:50 PM

The yellow band is in support of cancer research and Lance Armstrong.

Ya, but the dorKerry is wearing it on the wrong wrist.

Posted by: Coolworx at 02:51 PM

Last time they ran pics of Kerry using a shotgun, he had his finger inside the trigger guard while chatting with another shooter. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Not exactly dangerous in itself if you aren't pointing it at anyone and it's not loaded (couldn't tell from the pics if either was true at the time), but a terrible habit at any time, and indicative of an I'm-above-the-rules attitude. Anyone who hunts, and especially anyone with military weapons training, should know better and do it right every time, ESPECIALLY when people are taking pictures of you that will run internationally. People want this guy to lead the country?

Posted by: Uncle Mikey at 02:54 PM

It would appear he's trying to avoid looking like a Dukakis-type fool, even at the expense of his primary senses of sight and hearing.

Posted by: ss at 02:55 PM

He was probably worried about another Dukakis moment.

Whats an eye or set of ears to avoid that? ;)

Posted by: Dorian at 02:55 PM

The shotgun is a field-grade Browning Citori, I believe. It is a better (but by no means top) grade over/under shotgun, and comes equipped with ejectors which kick out the spent shells upon opening. It indeed looks like Kerry has managed to put his person in the path of the flying empty. Obviously not a frequent user.

Posted by: Shotgun Shooter at 03:00 PM

If Kerry did not complete the paperwork before taking the gun, he ought to be arrested, as anyone else would be. That is how the anti's try to deter gun ownership. They pass a hundred niggling laws and try to destroy the life of any law abiding citizen that steps outside of them. Give him a taste of his own medicine!

Good ejectors pop the empties well over the shoulder, at least when they are clean. It is actually rather difficult to open the breach on a straight front and back line, so I doubt Kerry hit himself in the nose, but if anybody could, its our dork Kerry.

Posted by: Alec at 03:06 PM

"And then I chased him down...and BLAM...right between the shoulder blades. Got a Silver Star for that one. With a Combat V. For valor. Sure, it's valorous shooting a guy in the back...wha--how dare you question my patriotism!"

Note: Bad technique. One should keep both eyes open when wingshooting (including trap and skeet...not too sure about the proper technique for shooting fleeing peasants).

Posted by: RJGatorEsq. at 03:10 PM

You people are all nit-picking. The most important thing about these pictures is that Kerry is not firing a grenade launcher.

All other safety considerations are secondary.

Posted by: Jonathan at 03:15 PM

"The People... I love the people, I am their sovereign, they are my people....PULL!!!!....(sound of dying peasent)... drifting to the left."

(see Mel Brooks - History of the world vol 1.)

Posted by: Chris at 03:18 PM

Alec: What paperwork? A private transfer doesn't require paperwork, generally. (Certainly not at the Federal level; I'm not familiar with every state's laws, just that the one I live in doesn't require any paperwork for a private transfer outside of a gun show. Stupid "loophole law" BS.)

Then again, the rifle range I go to doesn't require eye protection (and "wear eye protection" is not one of the Four Rules, though it's a good idea). Maybe shotgun ranges do? And there's a chance Kerry has tan earplugs in.

He's a doofus that has handled guns poorly in the past, but there isn't necessarily anything wrong here.

Posted by: Sigivald at 04:03 PM

Presumably this is the shotgun he goes deer hunting with (yeah, right).

This, and the earlier pic of him horsing around with another shotgun, just gives me the willies. He's the sort of doofus that scares anyone who's ever spent time as a range safety officer. I could spot those idiots a mile off. I always used to be extra vigilant with them.

Plus he's shooting with one eye shut, which is a big no-no for anyone who pretends to know what they're doing.

Posted by: David Gillies at 04:04 PM

"Grouse? I don't see any grouse! OOhhhh - look at the grouse!!"

Posted by: Bootsy at 04:09 PM

Oh, and look at the way he's squeezing that fore-end. The cords are standing out in his arm. And his arm is almost straight. Jeez, any shooter looking at this will get a 'Dad disco-dancing at a wedding' sense of embarrassment.

Posted by: David Gillies at 04:10 PM

Get a grip guys! If you're left-eyed, shooting off your right shoulder, you have to close your left eye to shoot straight. Kerry's real problem is keeping those beautifully manicured nails intact, hence the odd thumb position in the after shot.

Posted by: JM Hanes at 04:29 PM

Santa warned him.

Posted by: SarahW at 04:37 PM

JM Hanes: most top skeet shooters shoot two-eyed.

Posted by: David Gillies at 05:02 PM

David --

I'm sure that's true as most shooters -- most people actually -- are right eyed, which means that the stronger eye which determines your focal point is correctly alligned with the barrel.

It's entirely possible that it's just a matter of bad form here, but in general, if you're left eyed, you have two choices: you can learn to shoot off your left shoulder, or close your left eye. Some shooters will put a small piece of tape on the left lens of their glasses to obstruct the eye without having to close it. Otherwise you end up sighting diagonally across the bead.

I can't pretend to be a top skeet shooter, but then, neither does Kerry. I'm no Kerry fan, but there's so much else to fault him on, I figure the more times he's pictured shotgun in hand the better. With the anti-gun crowd biting their tongues, who cares about technically correct if you can get politically correct instead?

Posted by: JM Hanes at 05:39 PM

P.S. to David G.

There's a simple exercise which allows you to determine whether you're left or right eyed and which illustrates the problem, if anyone is curious about this.

Extend one arm out in front of you with your hand in a thumb's up position. With both eyes open, point your thumb at an object across the room or out the window (just not something too close to you). A lampshade perhaps.

Now (still looking at your thumb) first close one eye. Then open it and close the other eye.

What most people will find is that with their left eye closed, the thumb still seems to line up "correctly" with the lampshade. When they close their right eye instead, the thumb will appear to be off target by several noticeable degrees. That's basically how far off you'll be if your dominant eye is not the one looking down the barrel.

Posted by: JM Hanes at 06:12 PM

JM Hanes: I know the dominant eye thing. I've been shooting for years. But trap shooting is different from target shooting. You focus on the target, not on the bead, and the depth perception that two eyes gives you is important. Same thing goes for disciplines like Practical Pistol. We could argue about this ad libertam. It's not really germane.

My point was simply that if Kerry is trying to woo shooters then he's making himself look like a jerk, just as he did with that idiotic line about crawling around on his belly with a shotgun hunting deer. When real afficionados see him clowning around with firearms, they are typically not very impressed.

Posted by: David Gillies at 06:47 PM

"That last one screamed like a woman when he was hit. How disgusting. Lane, bring the car 'round."

Posted by: Lexington Green at 06:58 PM

What is it with liberals and guns? Every picture John Kerry has taken with a shotgun shows him violating every elementary safety rule. Likewise in his goofy (and perhaps pathological) "home movie" of him in Vietnam, he is carrying an M-16 in so careless a manner that he was fortunate that the weapon probably wasn't loaded, as he might have blown his foot off. I one saw Charles Schumer on "Meet the Press" brandishing a Mac-10 with the clip in and the bolt forward. All of these people need to call the NRA and get some lessons in gun safety.

Posted by: Rich DiNardo at 07:52 PM

Rich the Mac-10 is a open bolt gun safe is when the bolt is forward.

Posted by: Airboss at 08:28 PM

True enough, but on a TV set, isn't having the clip in is also a no no?

Posted by: Rich DiNardo at 09:00 PM

David G.--

Sorry, didn't mean to belabor the point. Just thought it might be of interest to others, if not to you specifically. I landed here from Instapundit, and from the mix of posts and comments, it didn't seem to be an especially gun centered blog, . My own experience is almost entirely in the field with wild birds (where, of course, you're not actually focusing on the bead itself either, and where you do not want your ears covered). When it comes to trap, I'll have to defer to your experience.

Do we really have an argument, or just different points? I agree that Kerry's not doing himself any favors with serious shooters and/or hunters. If, however, he makes it easier for folks on either side of the aisle to admit -- in public -- that they see nothing wrong with hunting and shooting, then I'd call it net plus.

Posted by: JM Hanes at 10:44 PM

ummm, i like beating up on Kerry as much as anyone, but being from Texas and having shot my first gun at the age of 4 (single shot 4-10 for the fourth of july in lieu of fireworks 30 years ago), I dont see what is so offensive if he isnt wearing a bunch of safety equipment. I did the majority of my shooting on private property or private leases and never wore ear or eye protection until i moved to a city and had to wear it at a public range.

I do use ear protection when it is available and i am firing pistols or short barrled assault weapons, but quiet frankly, any damage my ears have taken over the years is mainly from steoreos, earphones, cell phones, or using a grinder on metal.

As for eye protection, i never wear it unless required by range rules, shooting hot loads or otherwise unsure of the guns worthiness to be shot without exploding in my face.

That safety gear may be advisable, but the main reason you have to wear it at public ranges is due to lawsuits and liability rulings. Personnally, I have not experienced any ill to either my sight or hearing, nor have i had any close calls in my 30 years of shooting.

I think you over react. But I am surprised that there wasnt safety equipment made available to him, so much so that I think it was probably pr calculation by his staff.

Posted by: joel mackey at 10:52 PM

Someone else brought this up on another blog: Isn't it illegal to transfer a weapon to someone who isn't a resident of the same state?

I know I can't just give a gun to someone from Idaho. Heck, I know that even an FFL can't sell a gun to someone who is not a resident of the state where he does business.

Any lawyers or FFL's out there know the answer?

Posted by: Captain Holly at 12:01 AM

Let's be careful we don't shoot off our own political foot in our zeal to get Kerry. If we belabor the legality of his gift shotgun might we not face a counter-attack about Charlton and others getting them at NRA meetings and such?

Posted by: Jim at 02:52 AM

JM Hanes: we weren't arguing; we were discussing :) . Anyway, I'm no expert, it's just I've shot with a lot of them. I've been around and using guns for 25 years, both military and sporting. I've taught rifle drill to cadets, and I've been a range safety officer. If Kerry was on my range and he messed about with his weapon like that he'd be out of the door so fast he'd emit a sonic boom.

Joel Mackey: my late brother-in-law was deaf in one ear from forty years of hunting. His sons wear ear protection when they're shooting. The sound output from a weapon in an enclosed space can inflict instant, permanent hearing loss. You won't go deaf, but your aural acuity can be damaged with one gunshot. And believe me, you do not want to suffer tinnitus. Similarly, eye protection should be mandatory. In civilian life, getting a bit of your own back doesn't win you a Purple Heart.

Posted by: David Gillies at 04:19 AM

The photo of the shell ejecting is fake. Notice the pixelation around the shell? It was placed there using photoshop. Also notice the pixelation around the breech.

As for the actual shooting photo, the tensed palmaris longus, flexor carpi ulnarus, and flexor carpi radialis muscles are commpletely naturally obvious when one rotates the wristand palm upward.
Try it at home. Feel your forearm. Are you skinny like Kerry? You can probably see them.

Posted by: Jay at 09:24 AM

Jay, those pixellations are caused by the JPEG image format, which is a lossy compression format. In some images, along contrasting edge lines, you will get a checkerboard type of pixellation. Zoom the image to about 500% or so and you will see pixellations all along all constrasting edges, like JK's face, frex.

As a computer scientist and Photoshop user, I can tell you that I can doctor a photograph and avoid pixellations of any sort. It's not evidence of doctoring.

Posted by: Ken at 09:44 AM

yeah, I agree with you now that you point it out.
thanks for the correct call.

Posted by: Jay at 02:01 PM

Cap'n Holly needs to brush up his knowledge of gun laws. The following is not legal advice or opinion; it is an observation. The U.S. is covered by a patchwork of gun laws. Check state or local laws to determine what covers a particular locale. State and local laws govern firearms transfers. In some places, long arms can be transferred by FFL holders to residents of other states. Generalizing for states that permit sales to non-residents, the FFL holder has to make the transfer in the state/place shown as his place of business on his license (or at a gun show in that same state).

Posted by: Vince at 11:04 PM

By the way, here's what I noticed about what's wrong in the picture: No ears. No eyes. No brain.

By his clothing and the apparent time of year in the photo, I doubt the man is hunting. So, I suspect he is shooting clays with his Japanese-made shotgun. The left-foot-forward, rifle-shooting stance is less than optimal for that kind of shotgunning. I suppose Kerry always leans to the left, though.

Posted by: Vince at 11:23 PM

I can expain the lack of safety it not the shooting ranges rules or their lack of he's not on a shooting range he's in his backyard.

Posted by: Conrad at 02:41 AM

As to interstate transfer of a modern weapon, it is not a state by state case, It is BATF covered, interstate transfer of a modern firearm is to be done between the out of state dealer (ffl holder) and an in state dealer and then delivered to the final buyer after applicable waiting periods are met. In the case of the W Va gun, skerry was given, but probably did not take final posession, until it was shipped to Ma or Idaho to a dealer and then his home. In presentation circumstances it would be common to have the paperwork done before the gun is given so that it can go with the recipient. 35 years of gun show experience with my dad the ffl dealer. MP Wall

Posted by: MP Wall at 09:17 PM

Pro-Gun Kerry.

I hear that at a Virginia or WV rally on Sept 8. 2004, he was brandishing a shotgun that would have been banned by legislation he co-sponsored (but which didn't pass....)

I love consistant politicians!

Posted by: Edwin F. Lesperance at 02:53 AM