Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Taurus PT111 Millennium Pro: May be worth consideration for concealed carry

The Taurus Millennium series has been on the market for quite a few years now. At first there were many problems with this series, but shortly after its introduction, Taurus introduced the the Millennium Pro series. The Pro series featured better trigger pulls and rectified the problems that occurred in the original Millennium series of pistols. The Millennium Pro series features small, polymer frames, and either carbon steel, or stainless steel slides (there may also be a titanium version currently offered). These guns are available in calibers ranging from .32acp-.45acp, and all feature double stack magazines. Here is a link providing more info and specs for the Millennium Pro line up:

I have personally owned and carried a Millennium Pro in 9mm with a stainless slide for four or five years now. I chose this gun to add to my concealed carry roster based on its size, weight, low cost, and many favorable reviews that I had read (plus I think it is a rather attractive little gun). I chose the 9mm version because this pistol only weighs 180z, and I felt that 9mm was an adequate defensive round yet offers low recoil, which would be a plus in such a light weight pistol.

My Millennium Pro is a DAO (double action only) pistol, and I believe that they all are (they all were when I purchased mine years ago). Because it is a DAO pistol, the trigger pull is quite long. However, it is perhaps the lightest DAO trigger I have ever encountered. I believe the pull is between 5 and 6lbs, but I don't have a trigger pull scale to prove it. These guns also feature a single-sided manual safety. Many people think that a safety on a DAO pistol is unneccessary, and technically it is, but it gives me peace of mind when holstering. It seems to me that when holstering a gun, there is a slight chance that something could get caught in the trigger guard and possibly pull the trigger as you push the gun down into the holster. Therefore, if my carry gun (even DAO) has a manual safety, I chamber a round, engage the safety, holster the weapon, then simply flip the safety off.

The capacity of the 9mm version is 12+1. Ofcourse there are ten round magazines available for areas that don't allow higher capacity. For having a relatively high capacity (for such a small gun), the grip is extremely thin, and one of the most ergonomically pleasing that I have encountered on a semi auto pistol. The sights on the Millennium Pro are large and very easy to pick up. Mine is the normal 3 dot (featuring white dots) set up, but I believe that night sights and straight 8 (dot on top of dot) set ups are also available. The sights on mine are so wide and easy to pick up, that they are good for quick aquisition, but less than ideal for precise target shooting. Lets face it, with its small size and DAO trigger, this is not a target gun anyway, so this isn't neccessarily a complaint. This brings me to the only real complaint that I do have.

The sights on my gun are not alligned perfectly for POI (point of impact), and they are not adjustable. My gun continuously shoots a feww inches high and to the left at 50 feet. I can't remember if others have had this same problem when shooting my Millenium Pro, so it may be my shooting style, but I don't have this problem with other guns that I own and shoot. I just compensate while at the range by aiming slightly low and right, but I doubt I would remember to do so in a defensive situation. On the other hand, in a defensive situation I would likely be shooting at a shorter range, so it probably would not be an issue.

This gun is rated to accept +p ammo, and that is what I carry in it. The gun handles recoil very well, for such a light weight gun, even with hot +p rounds. I have never had any sort of malfunction with this gun over the few years that I have been shooting and carrying it, which has been a very pleasant surprise based on its low price (I paid $279 brand new), and Taurus's somewhat spotty reputation.

I think that I would reccomend this model based on the reliability of mine, and the fact that I have read many positive reviews about this model. However, there are many horror stories on the net (I realize that you can't always believe what you read on the net) about other Taurus products. Infact, I recently purchased a brand new, never fired, Taurus 85 Ultra-Lite .38 speacial, that had to be returned for repairs before I was able to shoot it. I have not gotten it back yet, but I hope it is fully functional and the many issues are cleared up when I get it back. It seems from what I have read, and now experienced, that Taurus is very hit or miss with quality control. There are many great ones out there, but there are also many lemons. I should mention that Taurus does have a life time warrenty on all of their guns which is a deffinate plus. That being said, I got a very functional, inexpensive, and attractive little gun in my PT111 Millennium Pro. I definitely think that the Millenium Pro line of pistols is worth checking out if you are in the market for an inexpensive concealed carry piece.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bi-Partisan National Parks Gun Law Change Also Affects National Monuments

On Friday, President Obama signed the bipartisan pro-gun rights bill that will apply state laws to lands administered by the National Park Service. The BLM and Forest Service have applied state gun laws to lands they administer for years without problems, but the Park Service has resisted. This has led to some absurd criminal charges against innocent gun owners for such things as having a gun in their car when driving on a public highway that is administered by the Park Service.

The law is set to go into effect February 22, 2010. In addition to National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges (NWR), the new law will also apply to National Monuments. While driving past the Clarno Unit of the John Day National Monument yesterday I came across a perfect example of why this is a good change. The Clarno Unit is a small (1,969 acre) parcel of land alongside Highway 218. This unit consists mostly of a parking lot and a 1/4-mile long interpretive trail at the base of a prehistoric lahar (a glacial mudflow started by a volcanic eruption.) It is an amazing place to stop and see if you are ever in the area, which is, quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Among other amenities, it has the ONLY public toilet between Fossil and Antelope, which also adds to its appeal as a stopping point when traveling with young children.

During my drive yesterday from Fossil to Antelope I could count the number of cars I passed on my fingers. I saw NO policemen or other government vehicles--you're on your own out there. So imagine my surprise when I pulled into the parking lot at the Clarno Unit and saw the following sign.

I'm not talking about the welcome sign, I'm talking about the smaller one down to the left:

Criminalizing the possession of firearms in a place like Clarno is simply ridiculous. Wheeler County and the surrounding area are the very definition of rural. Tourism around hunting, camping, fishing and fossil hunting are the mainstay of the local economy. Fossil is the kind of town where people store rifles in the windows of trucks but don't lock the doors. If you are a gun-owner on a long-distance trip to visit the area, chances are you will bring a gun for plinking, hunting or protection. But heaven help you if you pull into the parking lot at the Clarno Unit to use the toilet, the picnic tables or the interpretive trail and run into a ranger or other law enforcement agent who notices a gun in your rack or a bulge under your jacket--you could be arrested.

My hunch is that the current law against firearms is violated regularly at Clarno and other remote facilities administered by the Park Service, and most rangers would probably prefer to look the other way when they can. The new pro-gun rights rule may not go into effect for another year, but hopefully common sense will rule in favor of suspending prosecutions for enforcement immediately.

As this sign at the entrance to the picnic area reminds us--stay alert! And "Don't Tread on Me!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

U.S. House Joins Senate in National Parks Gun Ruling

Today the U.S. House joined the U.S. Senate in passing an amendment to H.R. 627 (see "Concur in Sec. 512 of Sen Amdt.") allowing firearms to be carried in National Parks by those with state-recognized concealed carry permits. Despite the predictable jeremaids by the professional anti-gun lobbyists, this bill merely extends the same rules already applied in BLM and National Forest lands to National Parks and National Wildlife refuges. This means if you have a concealed carry license in Oregon, you don't have to leave the pistol you brought on vacation locked in the trunk for a thief to steal while you go hiking at Crater Lake.

Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Merkley (D-OR) both voted in favor of this amendment in the senate; Representatives Peter Defazio (D-OR), Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Greg Walden (R-OR) also voted in favor of this amendment in the House.

President Obama has indicated he will sign the amendment, which passed on a separate vote from the main body of H.R. 627.

Here are some links to the voting record:

Please thank our senators and representatives for looking out for our 2nd Amendment rights and personal safety.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Penn & Teller Explain the 2nd Amendment in Less Than a Minute

Penn and Teller give a pretty great argument of why the right to keep and bear arms belongs to the PEOPLE.

C. Michael Arnold,
Attorney at Law
Eugene, Oregon

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ruger LCP: A Concealed Carry Gem

If any of you are thinking about purchasing a small to tiny handgun for deep concealment, pocket, carry, ankle carry, etc., you should definitely look into Ruger's LCP. The LCP is a tiny .380acp semi auto that holds 6 rounds in the magazine, plus 1 in the chamber. This gun is double action only and has a glass-filled nylon frame and steel slide and barrel. Here is a link for the exact specifications: The specs state that the trigger pull is 8lbs, but mine feels a bit lighter than that. Unfortunately I don't own a trigger pull scale so I can't back up that statement with fact.

Since this gun is so light, and slim, it is extremely comfortable for pocket carry with a quality pocket holster. I have also been told that it is great with an ankle holster as well, but I have yet to try this option. I plan on looking into an ankle holster in the near future. When in the pocket, one almost forgets that it is there.

Many people consider the .380acp to be underpowered for defense applications, but it is my opinion that with proper ammo selection, it is a viable defense round. Plus the gun is so small and light that people are more likely to have it with them than many larger guns, and a gun that you don't have with you is not at all effective for defense. I would also like to note that the LCP is rated for +p ammo.

Unfortunately, I have only been able to get to the range once with my LCP. With such a small, light gun, I expected considerable recoil. I was pleased to find that after my first shot the recoil was far less than I expected. Also, I was very pleased to find that after about 100 rounds there was not one malfunction. Accuacy was much better than expected from this tiny pistol with rudimentary sights. I was able to keep all shots on target (a sillouette style) from 50ft. They may not have all been "kill" shots, but most were.

All in all, I have been very pleasently surprised with this small wonder of a gun. I can fully reccomend one to anyone that is in the market for such a gun.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Democratic Senators Wyden and Merkley Vote to Support Gun Owner Rights in National Parks

Oregon's Democratic U.S. senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley supported gun owners rights today by voting to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in National Parks.

Wyden and Merkley joined with 27 Democrats and 39 Republicans to pass an amendment to give gun owners the same rights and protections to carry in National Parks that have existed in BLM and Forest Service lands for decades without any problems.

Crime against park rangers and visitors has seen an increase in recent years and this prudent, bipartisan legislation should ensure that criminals won't find National Parks easy hunting grounds for defenseless victims. (See previous post for more information: "Guns in National Parks: Yes, No, or Sometime?")

Please be sure to thank our senators for their vote today.

The Oregonian speaks out against your rights

The following commentary has been previously posted on the blog "Chuck for . . ." in response to a biased, uninformed and misleading Op-ed piece in The Oregonian calling for keeping CHL records available to the general public.

The Oregonian piece can be found at this link, where currently about 95% of the comments are taking them to task for shoddy journalism and general ignorance on the topics of firearms and gun rights.

From Chuck for . . . :


As a blogger and as a citizen I am a vast fan of printed newspapers. I am also a willing critic when they engage in assholedom. The Oregonian's Editorial about keeping concealed weapons permits public record is such an engagement - possibly wedding. They assert that their opposition to restricting access to these records allows Sherriffs to be reckless and unaccountable. First though they strike out at an Oregon Representative.

Indeed, Eugene Democrat Chris Edwards said of the measure, House Bill 2727: "It's about protecting the rights of the good guys. This is not about protecting the rights of punks, of hooligans, or meth tweakers."

There is a word for this sort of overblown rhetoric. Pandering.

"Pandering?" Well now, suppose we wait a bit and see about pandering...
In the 20 years that concealed-carry permits have been public, no violence has been committed against an Oregon concealed-weapons permit holder -- by a punk, hooligan, tweaker, cuckolded spouse, gulled lender or any other kind of bad guy -- because the victim's name was on a gun permit.

Does it pass muster as pandering to make an entirely unsourced and most probably unknowable assertion like this? That might be a reach so we'll move right along. Oh wait, there's a loon waiting in the wings.
In fact, the only recent connection we've noticed between crime and gun permits was the recent news item mentioning that Jiverly Wong, who murdered 13 people in Binghamton N.Y., last month, e-mailed his back to the police department before going on a shooting spree. Among other things, it makes you wonder what would prompt a police agency to give Wong a permit in the first place.
More importantly, there is the matter of just how good a job Oregon sheriffs actually do in properly enforcing even this lax law. State Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, and an outspoken advocate of stronger gun laws, said that a recent rough cross-comparison between a list of permit-holders and a list of jailed criminals showed hundreds of apparent matches.
There is no mention of any single actual instance of this in the entire editorial. Note, they talk about possibilities not facts. It would be a simple enough matter to bring forward a fact - they don't and neither does Ginny - serial 2nd Amendment infringement offender.

Citizens ought to be able to easily check whether their sheriffs are doing their duty properly, or whether they're giving out concealed carry permits to every Jiverly Wong who strolls up to the front desk.

The big closer, pandering in its most offensive and lying form. You cannot stroll up to any desk anywhere in Oregon and just get a concealed weapon permit, not even close to it, not even in the same universe as it. You can take a state mandated course conducted by a state approved instructor in order to qualify to apply, then you will pass an extensive background test and provide recommendations from known responsible citizens and then have a photo and fingerprints taken. You will be provided no legal relief for any crime committed while carrying, in fact they will be enhanced.

A load of tripe suitable for lining a hamster cage, inhabited by more evident brain power than the author of this. Which other pieces of information will they push to have public, driver's licenses? There are very good reasons for some pieces of personal information out of general hands. This thing is evidence of the wisdom of keeping keyboards out of some people's hands. Ah well, The Oregonian is failing pretty fast - lack of talent and relevance?


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Dear Senator Wyden: Remember the 2nd Amendment when Replacing Justice Souter

The Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon today sent the following letter to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

Ron Wyden sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee which will soon hold hearings on the president's nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court justice David Souter.


May 7, 2009
RE: Supreme Court nominations and the Second Amendment

Dear Senator Wyden:

We are writing to you on behalf of the members of the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon. As a caucus, the second largest within the DPO, we exist to promote appreciation and understanding of the Second Amendment within the Democratic Party, and to work for the election of Democratic candidates within Oregon to further our party’s goals of economic justice and civil rights for all.

One way in which we work for the election of Democrats is in advertising our party’s strong record on civil liberties, including respect for the Second Amendment. Our members represent every county in Oregon from the most liberal to the most conservative but share the central belief that individual gun ownership is a Constitutional guarantee and one that has served to support our Democratic freedoms.

The official position of the Democratic Party of Oregon shows the same depth of support for the Second Amendment as it does for the entire Bill of Rights. The party’s official position on gun ownership as a right is summed up in Resolution 2005-008, which was overwhelmingly passed by the members of the State Central Committee in 2005. This resolution reads as follows:


WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of civil liberties; and
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of freedom and social justice.


Section 1. To recognize and support the right to keep and bear arms in Article 1 Section 27 of the Oregon State Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America as an individual right not granted by the government, but rather guaranteed by the government.

Section 2. In recognition of the tremendous personal responsibility engendered by the right to keep and bear arms, the Democratic Party of Oregon further advocates severe penalties and their enforcement for criminal use or misuse of the right.

Further information on our caucus and the position of the Democratic Party of Oregon regarding Second Amendment guarantees is posted on the party website:

Today we are writing on behalf of our members to express our hopes and concerns for the replacement of retiring Supreme Court justice David Souter.

President Obama has made his position clear in regards to Second Amendment rights—he has stated he agrees gun ownership is an individual right. In this position the president shows his agreement with by both the Democratic Party of Oregon and the precedent set by the Supreme Court in last year’s landmark ruling “District of Columbia vs. Heller.” As Democrats it is our greatest hope that the president will follow up on these expressed beliefs and in his first Supreme Court nomination assuage the concerns of those gun owners who would otherwise vote Democratic if they were convinced of the sincerity of the party’s support for gun rights. We believe this can best be done by choosing a nominee with a strong history of supporting both Second Amendment rights and the concept of stare decisis, especially in landmark cases such as Roe v. Wade or D.C. v. Heller which have settled long-standing civil rights struggles.

We do not feel researching the background of a nominee to gauge his or her prior opinions or readiness to uphold or overturn prior case law represents a litmus test or unreasonable queries. Further, given the freshness of the Heller decision, we suggest and request you should do a service to those who value civil liberties by asking direct questions about the Heller case, in addition to other cases directly affecting interpretation of the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments.

The Oregonian recently noted that during a town hall meeting you held in Fossil, Oregon this year, a young girl asked you what so many in the crowd were clearly thinking—“Is the president going to take away our guns?” Your response, in our view, was perfect—you noted that the president has done nothing to diminish Second Amendment rights and you do not believe he intends to. We believe it is of utmost importance that future events allow this statement remain true. It would be even better if the president were to do something truly positive for gun owners by appointing a justice with a deep passion for the Second Amendment and empathy with the concerns of the 30 million gun owners who voted for President Obama in 2009. There are as well as millions more watching who would also vote for Democrats if only for their concerns around this single issue could be soothed with action as well as words.

Appointment of a pro-gun rights, pro-Heller-decision justice with a history of respect for stare decisis is, in our opinion, how the president and yourself can “seal the deal” with gun owners in Oregon and through the U.S. Please do not miss this opportunity to show Democratic support for this central tenet of American democracy.

Sincere regards,

Zak Johnson, Chair (Portland); Chuck Butcher, Vice Chair (Baker City); Brian Reichhoff, Treasurer (Portland)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Oregon House Passes CHL Privacy Bill - HB 2727

By a margin of 54-to-4, the Oregon House of Representatives has passed HB 2727, a bill to protect public disclosure of the names, addresses and other personal information of concealed handgun license (CHL) holders to the public; that is, the bill keeps it a secret who does and does not have a license to carry a concealed weapon and provides county sheriffs with a legal basis to deny requests for that information.

In this age where the definition of a "journalist" is increasingly fluid and the Internet can be used and abused to quickly and irrevocably spread private data around the world, it is important that government take steps to protect us from intrusion. Protecting CHL holder privacy has become an important civil rights battle since February when a Tennessee online newspaper opposed to all 2nd Amendment rights published the names, phone numbers, addresses and other personal information of CHL holders in that state. Exposing CHL holder information to the public puts those who follow the law by obtaining a permit before carrying a concealed firearm to discrimination from anti-2nd Amendment employers, background searches by would-be stalkers wanting to know if there victims are helpless, and targeting by burglars looking for firearms to grab while residents are away from home. Keeping personal information in government databases private is also the right thing to do as a matter of principle.

No laws in Oregon previously existed to prohibit similarly invasive and dangerous practices in our state as were seen in Tennessee. However, in recent court cases, county sheriffs have refused to hand over information in the name of privacy and public safety concerns. HB 2727 is not perfect, and has a wide loop hole in it to allow disclosure of the data if there is "clear and convincing evidence that the public interest requires disclosure in the particular instance." However, HB 2727 is a step forward from where we were before. (Other views on HB 2727 are available on the Oregon Firearms Federation website and the Oregonian.)

The bill now moves on to the Oregon senate. The concept of protecting CHL holder privacy as a civil right was endorsed by the Oregon State Sheriffs Association, the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon, and the Multnomah County Democratic Party.

Please contact your Oregon state senators and remind them of the broad public support to protect the rights of lawful gun owners, public safety and the privacy of us all. HB 2727 is a step in the right direction on all counts.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Join the Blue Steel Democrats on Facebook

In addition to our DPO Gun Owners community website page and this blog, there is now a Gun Owners Caucus Facebook page. This Facebook group is open to anyone to join, but you will probably need to create a free Facebook account first in order to view it.

The Facebook page has been added as a way to let our members more easily voice their opinions and recruit their friends and associates to join the Gun Owners Caucus in gun rights advocacy and education. Any member of Facebook can join our Facebook group, then post comments, opinions, pictures and video of your choice (keep it tasteful, please!)

If you aren't on Facebook yet, I encourage you to join by creating a free account here: If you are on Facebook, you can find our group by searching for "Blue Steel Democrats - Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon" and then clicking "join group."

Facebook is a "social networking" tool that allows people to connect, communicate and easily trade thoughts and ideas without needing to be experts in web design. If you are concerned about privacy on such websites, be aware that you can control the information others can see and you alone choose who can and can't view your "page." Hopefully Facebook will be a useful tool for the Gun Owners Caucus to spread our message and increase membership.

The Blue Steel Democrats blogsite will still be active as well--Facebook is an addition, not a replacement. I hope to see you there.