Saturday, August 21, 2010

Support the Troops

The filthy war certainly isn't their fault.

Support the Troops

The filthy war is not their fault.

Support the Troops

Maybe the filthy war is their fault.

The Gun Culture and Kids

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N.J. Blind Man May Keep Guns reports on the incredible story of a Rockaway Township man who shot himself while cleaning his gun.

A Superior Court judge today ruled a blind gun hobbyist from Rockaway Township who accidentally shot himself while cleaning a weapon may keep his collection.

Judge Thomas Manahan, sitting in Morristown, ruled that Steven Hopler may keep the six handguns he still has in his home, but he must store them in a safe pending an evaluation of his alcohol use.

I thought New Jersey had sensible gun laws. This guy not only suffers from blindness, which they've already ruled is NOT a disqualifier, but he has other problems.

Here's one.

The report said Hopler had “a strong odor of alcohol and was extremely intoxicated” when he was acting unruly and was ejected from the bar. Hopler pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly person in that incident.

Here's another.

Manahan also denied a motion by Hopler’s attorney to get back the eight weapons that Rockaway Township police seized from his home on Jan. 31, 2009.

Police found the guns while investigating a burglary that occurred at Hopler’s home while he was in the hospital after the accidental shooting. Hopler’s tenant in the two-family home broke into his apartment with some accomplices and stole 12 handguns and two shotguns, officials have said.

Police kept the guns “for safekeeping following him shooting himself. Now, they are being held because we are seeking their forfeiture,” said Jeffrey Paul, a spokesman for Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi.

In order to be any more disqualified, this guy would have to shoot a cop.

What' your opinion? Even if you don't subscribe to my one-strike-you're-out rule, doesn't this guy present some problems?

Please leave a comment.

Cop Cleared in Shooting reports.
The Somerville police officer who shot and killed a knife-wielding woman during a domestic violence call last month was protecting himself and a firefighter who had fallen right in front of her, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said yesterday in finding that the shooting was justified.

The officer, Dante DiFronzo, fired once, hitting 33-year-old Carol Kingsley in the head, according to a statement by Leone, the most detailed account of the shooting to date.

That's odd. I thought they were trained not to shoot at the head.

It's hard to picture that scene, the fireman falling at her feet and all. Here are some more details.

The second call came about 6:30 a.m., saying Kingsley had pulled a knife on her boyfriend and was trying to set his clothes on fire, the report said. By the time officers Marc DiFava and Jose Ramirez arrived at the Sycamore Terrace apartment, the fire alarm had caused the evacuation of the apartment building’s residents, but Kingsley had locked herself inside. officers were preparing to burst through the door when Kingsley opened it and stabbed them, forcing them outside, according to the report. Because they thought the house was on fire, DiFranzo and Anzalone went back inside and broke through the door. At one point, Anzalone fell, according to the report, and Kingsley stood over him holding two knives.

DiFranzo pulled out his gun, ordering her to drop the knives. She did, but picked them up again and lunged at him, according to the report.

Wait a minute, that lunging part. Where have I heard that one before? Oh, yeah, in almost every single incident of justified police shooting in which the cop has a gun and the bad guy has some other weapon, the bad guy "lunges."

I realize some of these shootings are truly justified. I also realize I don't know one way or the other. But it seems to me the "lunging" bit, the "shooting in the head" bit, the "helpless fireman at the feet of a madwoman" bit, are all just a bit too much to swallow.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bizarre Shooting Death

Via Ohh Shoot. Notice how they keep describing it in the passive voice. It sounds like they're all prepared to write it off as an accident - could happen to anybody, after all.

I say the decision they need to make is between manslaughter and negligent homicide. But this is Oklahoma. How much you want to bet a year from now this dangerous miscreant is still enjoying his god-given 2nd Amendment rights?

Launching an Anvil

Here is something that is sure to appeal to the pro-gun crowd. And I'll bet there's not a gun control advocate alive who thinks this is cool. We are so divided. Via Swimming Freestyle.

Probable Murder-Suicide in Wisconsin - 3 Dead

UPI reports on the tragedy.

Three people were found shot to death Wednesday at a home in Superior, Wis., police said.

Authorities declined to identify the victims or say whether one of the deaths was a suicide. However, they said they were not looking for a suspect.

The scattered facts in the article don't add up to a pretty picture. The man of the house recently returned from the war, his young wife was pregnant and there was a small child there.

SOS, you could say. So what's the answer, more gun availability in Wisconsin? That's what some people want.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Texas 10-year-old Dead

The Dallas News reports on the latest accidental shooting.

Brazos County authorities say an apparent accidental shooting has left a 10-year-old boy dead after a .22-caliber rifle held by a 12-year-old neighbor discharged.

Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk says the older boy was handling the rifle when it accidentally fired, striking Rumfield in the chest.

Kirk says the older boy's mother was on the front porch or near the house at the time of the shooting.

The mother was on the front porch, Bob S. was writing his blog and all the rest of the pro-gun crowd were insisting that guns are necessary and good, that kids can be taught safe gun handling and in the meantime this kid ends up DEAD.

Shame on you all. Keep talking your percentages and your statistics, keep lying about the chances of your needing a gun to save your life vs. the chances of something bad happening with it. Keep it up.

I blame you, you stubborn, selfish pro-gun advocates. I blame you for disseminating the lies about gun safety and for resisting by every means the common sense gun laws which would prevent many needless deaths. I blame you for propagating the gun culture myth which so permeates our society, the myth that says it's cool and good and necessary for self defense to have a gun and that it's a god-given, Constitutionally protected right while the real reason for gun ownership is usually fear and insecurity, paranoia and mental illness.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Man Shoots Dog

The Baltimore Sun reports on the shooting of a dog and the indictment of the shooter.

Charges were filed Wednesday in District Court in Annapolis against Keith Elgin Shepherd, 32, a civilian police officer for the Army in Northern Virginia. He faces two misdemeanor charges: animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within 100 yards of an occupied home.

They obviously haven't caught on to the wisdom of the one-strike-you're-out idea. Two misdemeanor charges are not enough. If found guilty of misusing his firearm, this man should forfeit the right to own guns. I can see people arguing about accidental discharges, but when someone purposely misuses a gun, they should get the one-strike-you're-out treatment.

What's your opinion? By the way, what is a "civilian police officer for the Army" supposed to be?

Please leave a comment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spectre of the Gun

The Vulcan Mind Meld is the only hope for gun violence.

Petraeus and Obama

Ted Nugent - Law-abiding Gun Owner

Ted Nugent is in the news for having aired illegal hunting activities on his TV show.

On the show, Nugent is shown using a commercial deer bait called "C'mere Deer" to lure a young buck, then shooting the animal with a bow and arrow. Using bait to entice animals for hunting purposes is illegal in California.

Nugent also pleaded to failing to get his hunting tag countersigned, which means that while the killing of the deer itself may have been legal, Nugent did not receive a signature from an authorized individual to confirm the kill's legality. The other counts against Nugent were dropped as part of the plea agreement, including charges of killing a deer too young to be hunted.

Tell me again how there's no gray area between law-abiding gun owners and criminals.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Jon Stewart and Dick Armey

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What a Bunch of Criminals

The Philadelphia Inquirer published an editorial about the Pennsylvania gun-law loophole.

State lawmakers should close a gun-law loophole that allows someone who was denied a Pennsylvania license to still carry a weapon if he has a permit from another state.

State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D., Delaware) introduced a bill in May that would close a loophole that allows Pennsylvanians to circumvent state law. Denied a concealed-carry license in Pennsylvania, they are turning to Florida, Utah, and New Hampshire. Those states allow out-of-state residents to apply for a license by mail.

Florida has issued 3,100 concealed-carry licenses to Pennsylvanians, but state officials there will not provide Pennsylvania officials with their names. That's incredibly dangerous. Some of the Florida gun-license holders were likely denied licenses in Pennsylvania for good reason.

Tell me again there's no gray area between the law-abiding and the criminals.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Philly Cops Denied Vengeance reports on the sentencing of two so-called cop-killers.


Those sentences yesterday were automatically handed to two convicted cop-killers/bank robbers after a Philadelphia jury failed to reach unanimous decisions on whether to send them to death row.

Eric Deshann Floyd, 35, and Levon T. Warner, 40, showed no emotion when a visibly upset Common Pleas Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes announced the formal sentences.

The case is a bit bizarre. First of all, you've got that strange heightened culpability because the dead guy was a police officer. I object to that, or at least I find it weird. Secondly you've got the sentencing judge verbally denigrating the defendants, calling them names and the like. It seems to me the judge should maintain better composure.

But, the most interesting thing is that these two guys didn't kill the cop. Their accomplice did that and he was shot dead at the scene. This is one of those felony murder cases like Lillo's.

The Sopranos actor, who probably didn't have quite the criminal career as Floyd and Warner, got the minimum, or close to it. These Philadelphia bad boys got right up close to the max.

What's your opinion? What can account for the disparity in sentencing? Do you think Floyd and Warner got a fair shake? Did Lillo?

Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Philip Markoff's Gun reports that the U.S. Attorney found no evidence the dealer broke any laws by selling the gun to Philip Markoff which he used to kill Julissa Brisman. It turns out that Markoff, who committed suicide in jail the other day, had used someone else's driver's license to purchase the gun. The family of the victim wanted the gun seller held responsible.

Authorities say Markoff bought the pistol using a driver’s license belonging to a man named Andrew Miller, who investigators determined had no connection to the case. They do not know how Markoff obtained the license, but said he and Miller resembled each other.

“It matched the general description,’’ said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, whose office was prosecuting the case. Investigators later identified Markoff’s fingerprints on the gun application and on the gun itself, which they found hidden in a hollowed-out anatomy textbook in his apartment.

That sounds like the pro-gun attitude, "it matched the general description," what can I do? Obviously we need that eye-ball scanner they used in Minority Report.

Federal law prohibits dealers from selling handguns directly to out-of-state residents, but Markoff also presented proof of residency in New Hampshire, prosecutors said. Under New Hampshire law, gun buyers do not have to obtain a permit or present a New Hampshire driver’s license.

The apparent ease with which Markoff purchased a gun in another man’s name frustrated gun control advocates, who said looser gun laws in some states erode attempts to restrict sales.

“You couldn’t do this in Massachusetts,’’ said John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence, a Newton-based group. “That’s why he went to New Hampshire.’’

Don't some places require two or three valid ID cards to prove your identity? When you renew a driver's license or open a bank account they sure do. Why is it so difficult for the gun crowd to get with the program? Why do they defend these slip shod procedures that are directly involved in death and destruction? Why do they act so indignantly surprised when I blame them all?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Road Rage Mistrial reports on the mistrial of a road-rage-shooting trial.

Nine jurors wanted to acquit a Farmington Hills man charged with shooting a fellow motorist during a road rage episode April 12, but three could not be persuaded and a mistrial was declared Monday after jurors said they were deadlocked.

The three men and nine women had been deliberating since Aug. 10 in the case of Carl Mintz, 28, who is accused of shooting Faith Said, 20, of Commerce Township in the elbow during the altercation on Orchard Lake Road. Prosecutors charged Mintz with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, a 10-year felony.

What happened is this:

Said and another man, angry that Mintz had been hitting his brakes ahead of them, got out and approached Mintz at a red light.

Mintz testified that Said spit on him and threatened to harm him. He thought Said was reaching for a weapon so he shot him in the arm. Said was treated at a hospital.

This is the dilemma that every gun owner risks. When confronted with a dicey situation, should you pull out the gun and shoot or not. Even the jury, after hearing all the testimony and looking at all the evidence, could not decide if Mintz had acted inappropriately. I find that a little surprising. If he only "thought" the other guy was reaching for a gun and was wrong, I would think that would get a conviction every time. There must be more to it.

Maybe, Said, who was threatening Mintz and spitting on him, was such a nasty character that the jury sided with Mintz. Who knows?

The point is made clear though, most people are not capable of handling a gun responsibly in a dangerous situation. The very act of hitting the brakes when someone is tailgating, which is what this sounds like, is an act of aggression. The proper action in a case like that is to pull over or turn the corner and make a detour. The gun owner who has such a short fuse as to let his ego get in the way when a 20-year-old kid is following too closely, is not qualified to carry a gun and is a danger to himself and others.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Gun Flow - Texas to Mexico

David Breston describes the situation in light of these newest indictments.

Ten Houston men, including three brothers, were charged Monday in a conspiracy to ship 151 military-style weapons south of the border. It’s the region’s biggest arms-trafficking case since the Obama administration vowed to do more to stem the flow of U.S. guns to Mexican drug cartel soldiers.

Recently someone was arguing that straw purchases don't account for the bulk of guns that end up with the criminals. It sure looks like that's how they do it down in Houston.

According to an ATF affidavit, one of the men charged Monday bought 21 guns, worth nearly $28,000, over a two-month period.

What I want to know is this. In Texas they don't have that one-gun-a-month rule, which might have seriously interfered with this crime. But, if they do require background checks, how come a guy who buys so many guns so quickly isn't stopped? Is that a flaw in the system.

I have an idea. let's call it a "loophole."

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rethink Afghanistan

Via Digby.

Arizona - Beyond Lunacy

Via Gaius Publius over at AMERICAblog, who had some good things to say about this filth.

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Tucson Shooting - 1 Dead 4 Wounded

Tucson Arizona was the scene of a wild shooting outside a nightclub.

It happened just after 2 a.m. at Pearl Nightclub, 445 W. Wetmore Rd., said Sgt. Diana Lopez.

When police arrived on scene, they found about 100 people inside the bar and 100 people outside of the bar, Lopez said.

According to witnesses, the incident began with an altercation outside of the club, Lopez said. Witnesses say a Hispanic man pulled out a gun and began shooting into the crowd outside of the bar.

Please tell me again how this has nothing to do with the lax and sometimes non-existent gun laws in Arizona?

Please leave a comment.

Murder - Suicide in Las Vegas Hospital

News 8 Las Vegas reports on the incident.

Police say a husband and wife are dead in a murder-suicide shooting at a Las Vegas hospital.

Lt. Dan Coe says the woman shot the man and then turned the gun on herself a little before 5 a.m. in a room on the fourth floor of Valley Hospital.

Police say the 55-year-old man was a patient at the hospital and had been there since August 10 with a deteriorating illness and an unknown mental condition. The woman had been staying the night in the man's room.

Maybe it was a mercy killing. Maybe it was mental illness. Who knows, maybe she was a battered wife. The only thing for certain is in the state of Nevada, anyone who wants to use a gun has no trouble getting one. And their crime rate and murder stats prove it.

What's your opinion? Is the gun availability and easy access in Nevada part of the problem? Or should they be the model for the rest of the country? The Brady Campaign gave them zero stars and only 9 points out of 100.

Please leave a comment.

Open Carry in Michigan reports on the open carry movement in Michigan.

Gun-rights activists are not only demanding that Royal Oak officials drop the city's ban on openly carrying guns at the Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival over Labor Day weekend, they also are going after Clawson, Pontiac, Taylor and Flint for local rules they say infringe on gun rights.

To me this is one of the funniest aspects of the gun rights debate. These open carry guys are so blinded by their bias that they can't see that open carry, especially in forced demonstrations, is counterproductive and detrimental to their own movement.

Even many of their own understand this, I don't suppose they're any less biased but simply intelligent enough to put two and two together. Sebastian is one of them. A bit more pragmatic and more circumspect than your average gun owner, he's suggested these guys do more harm than good. I suppose his idea is to work under the radar in gradually increasing gun rights.

What's your opinion? Is open carry helpful to the cause in the long run? Is the image of a man carrying a gun openly going to become acceptable to main stream America? Or, is the average person going to view these folks as extremists and paint the entire gun culture with that brush?

Please leave a comment.

Wisconsin Rapids Police Shoot Man With Knife

JS onlune reports on the latest police shooting.

A police officer in Wisconsin Rapids shot a suspect after the person lunged at officers with a knife Sunday, the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune reports this morning.

The suspect, who was walking on a Rapids street with two other people, had threatened one person with a knife, refused an officer's demand that he drop the weapon and lunged at the officers before being shot.

Police released no information about the suspect other than he is a male and was flown to Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield for treatment.

Something about the story just doesn't sound quite right. Lunging at the police with a knife sounds like he was already too close to them. The other report said "moved aggressively towards police." However it really happened, I question if shooting is the right way to go in a situation like this. Although I realize one can be killed with a knife, I find it hard to believe that lethal threat actually existed.

What really happens in cases like this and in many so-called DGUs, is the armed person in authority, the policeman, the homeowner, whoever, is responding to excessive fear or excessive anger. Afterwards, they cover it up by calling it lethal threat.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Personal Privacy in 1998

Thanks to Opinione. Jon Voight's character was born on 9/11.

More Arizona Lunacy

The campaign advisers of Pamela Gorman must have figured that nothing is more important than guns to their constituents.

Shooting Range Suicide - This Tme in Florida

The Orlando Sentinal reports on another tragic incident at a gun range. I guess this is a coast to coast phenomenon.

A man found dead Saturday at an Orange County gun range apparently shot himself and may also be connected to another killing, deputies said.

Investigators think the 24-year-old white male victim they found at the range died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

It's certainly interesting that the shooter may have been involved in another incident. Orange County Capt. Angelo Nieves is on the job trying to put the pieces together. But it makes you wonder how often this kind of thing happens.

If the shooting at the Shooting Gallery is determined to be a suicide, it would only be the latest in a string of similar incidents at local shooting ranges.

In April 2009, an Altamonte Springs woman killed her son and herself at Shoot Straight in Casselberry. Another man killed himself at the same range later that month.

In July 2009, Valentin Pepelea, 43, rented a gun and shot himself at Rieg's Gun Shop on South Orange Blossom Trail. Later that month, a woman at East Orange Shooting Sports on Gardner Street also tried to kill herself with a rented gun, authorities say.

According to several television reports, the gun used in the shooting at the Shooting Gallery on Saturday was rented from the store, although Nieves said he couldn't confirm that information.

What should we do? Should we play the old percentage game on this like we do on so much else when it comes to gun violence? The vast majority of good folks who use gun ranges do not kill themselves, why make a big deal out of a tiny percentage?

This article contains a list of incidents which took place in one small geographic area in Florida, the one covered by the local news. Yesterday we saw the same thing in Los Angeles, a list. I'm going out on a limb here and presuming that it's happening everywhere there are shooting ranges, which would make the numbers quite significant indeed.

I'll make another deduction too, because of the self-serving denial on the part of gun owners and their fear of being inconvenienced, everything that can be done to prevent this is not being done. Instead there's denial that the problem even exists.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

We're Not That Bad

Fox News reports on an incident which interrupted the women's baseball championship. Where did this take place? Caracas, Venezuela.

Play in the Women's Baseball World Cup was suspended on Saturday after a stray bullet struck a Hong Kong player in the lower leg during competition on Friday.

The shooting occurred while the Hong Kong team was playing the Netherlands in a stadium at the Fort Tiuna military base, The Canadian Press said. It wasn't clear from where the bullet was fired.

What do you think? Compared to them, we're pretty civilized, wouldn't you say? Of course, I realize the easy access and proliferation of guns in places like Caracas has nothing to do with it. Same as in the U.S., right? Well, how then do you explain the differences between high gun states and low gun states with regards gun violence?

Please leave a comment.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Didn't know the Gun Was Loaded

No Charges in FL Teen's Death

The Miami Herald reports on the surprising decision to file no charges in the case of a fatal teen shooting.

The shooter, Kevin Wilson Earp, 23, could not be charged with manslaughter by culpable negligence because he displayed no "gross or flagrant conduct,'' according to a Miami-Dade state attorney's close-out memo issued Friday.

Shooting someone in the stomach, intentionally or not, sounds like "gross and flagrant conduct" to me. Isn't violating one or more of the 4 Rules gross and flagrant enough for the Miami-Dade state attorney?

Miami-Dade homicide detectives learned that Earp entered a bedroom and found Joshua Smith, 21, showing off his AK-47 to a group of teens, passing it around. A few minutes later, Jacob Smith, 23, did the same with his .40-caliber S&W Glock pistol -- with a trigger lock attached.

Earp left briefly, then returned to the bedroom. Samantha was reclining on the bed, joking around with Jacob, witnesses said.

Earp noticed the gun on the nightstand. Someone had taken off the trigger lock and left it on a nearby computer stand, along with the two loaded magazines and a pouch.

While attempting to reattach the trigger guard he shot and killed one of the teenagers.

What is wrong with this picture? Everybody seems concerned with Earl's intentions when the shooting happened, but what about the earlier scene? What about a home in Florida where teenagers and older kids are playing around with an AK-47 and a Glock handgun? Is that normal? Unfortunately, in Florida it is.

The owners of those guns, the parents of those kids and the owner of the home in which the incident took place should all face charges. It's absolutely ludicrous that a teenager can lose her life like this and no one be held accountable. And even worse is the fact that all involved will continue to own guns.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Response to Coutrland Milloy's Article

We talked about the humorous article of Courtland Milloy last week. Yesterday The Washington Post published a response from the firearms instructor whom Milloy had written about.

I summed up the original article like this:

Two main points:

1. The required training is practically worthless, and
2. The chances of needing a gun to save your life are very small.

Jim Reynolds, who claimed Milloy was biased, which may be true, had this to say as a sort-of general explanation of the need and the seriousness of being armed for self-defense:

When I stand up to crime with my handgun, defending my family at home, or perhaps Milloy and his family at a restaurant or some other public place, I'll be glad that there is someone like him with a pen and notepad in hand to write about it. Obviously, he'd have his hands full with that.

So deep into the fantasy of protecting themselves with a gun, many gun owners believe this. The delicious fantasy blinds them to the fact that the chances are much more likely their gun will be misused before it is ever needed defensively. Part of that misuse feeds into the gun flow from lawful ownership into criminal hands. Once that happens, the gun is sure to be misused some more, thus compounding the problem.

I'm sure those possibilities are not part of the training course. It's as if the gun manufacturers and gun dealers are tricking people into wanting guns by unfairly representing the need. An honest approach would be to admit that there's a big downside to owning a gun, that statistically many bad things are more likely to happen than one good one. If, knowing that, someone decides he wants a gun anyway, fine. But distorting the facts and pushing the paranoia to sell guns is bad.

Regular gun owners are involved in this too. Having swallowed the "need" pitch themselves, they naturally feel more comfortable surrounded by like-minded folks with whom they can mock the serious concerns of the gun control movement.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Shooting Range Suicide

The Los Angeles Times reports on another gun range suicide.

A Los Angeles man shot and killed himself at the Firing-Line indoor shooting range in Burbank, police said Friday.

It was at least the third suicide at the range in the last few years.

Last year, Stephen Daniels, 64, of Burbank shot himself in the head at the firing range. Daniels’ death came about a year after a 25-year-old Glendale man rented a handgun and shot himself in the head.

The firing range has instituted an assortment of safety measures in response to the incident, officials said.

One safety measure they haven't tried yet is a big padlock on the front door. I'll bet that would stop the suicides.

I'm sure the pro-gun crowd can live with the percentages, the number of suicides divided by the total number of customers is probably low enough. What do you think? Is this acceptable?

On the site of the shooting range I saw an interesting thing.

If you bring your own ammunition...
It must be Full Metal Jacket (FMJ, TMJ, CMJ) or completely lead.
Hollow point, steel core, or soft point/semi-jacketed bullets are NOT allowed.

Wolf Brand ammunition is NOT allowed

Is that what they meant by "instituted an assortment of safety measures in response to the incident?"

What's your opinion? What "safety measures" can a shooting range implement anyway that will prevent folks from blowing their brains out?

Please leave a comment.