Why Can’t This Be My Profession?

•September 16, 2007 • 1 Comment

I had a conversation today at the gun show that gave me something to think about. Actually, this was something that I’ve been pondering for a while now.

How do you describe yourself? What is your identity?

If someone asks you, “Who are you?” — What do you say? How do you finish the statement, “I am a….”? What is your label?

As is usual for these gun shows — the flow of traffic can be erratic. For some periods of the show, you can be sitting behind your table, bored out of your skull; then there can be times when there are flocks of people around your table, and you can scarcely keep up with all the questions that are being bandied about.

Being Sunday — historically the slower of the two days of the show — there were many lulls where there weren’t many visitors passing by my table. As is common, I struck up a conversation with the vendor who had the table next to me. The topics of our conversation were varied and random.

At one point, the discussion turned to hunting and fishing. My neighbor said that fishing was his favorite hobby and pastime. I mentioned that I did not have any experience with hunting — but my dad was also an avid fisherman.

As we were talking, I expressed what could only be termed the “Philosophy of Fishing”: When Fishing — you don’t always catch something. If you always caught something, then they would call it Catching — not Fishing.

At this — he said that I “must be a school teacher” because “I was so smart”; and that I was “quite the philosopher”.

At this point, a customer came to his table and started inquiring about some of the rifles that he had on display, so that tangent of our conversation came to an end.

Left to my own thoughts — my first reaction was, “Why can’t this be my job? Why do I have to be ‘something else’?”

But then I realized: “What label do I attach to what I do?” There is no easy description to attach to myself.

It is something that I’d been pondering, in the back of my mind for awhile now. For instance, when filling out a survey or questionnaire that asks for my profession — I was often a little bit stymied as to what to put down.

I mean, Alex can say: “Master Gunsmith”. My sister can say “School Teacher”. My dad was able to say “Printing Press Operator”. My grandfather was able to say “Dairy Farmer”. My friend, Mark, can say “Computer Programmer.”

All definitive, distinct titles that unequivocably answer the question: “What do you do?”

Data Entry Clerk, Executive Assistant, Laboratory Animal Caretaker, Truck Driver, Customer Service Representative — all of these offer succinct descriptions of my past professions.

But what am I now?

“Business Owner” — sounds vague and somehow …. unsatisfying.

“CEO” — sounds too grandiose. (My personal favorite phrase to describe the breadth and depth of my responsibilities is “Jane-of-All-Trades”.)

I finally hit upon the perfect title for my profession — I am a Firearms Dealer. A deceptively simple title to encompass my growing devotion and interest in firearms.

After I finally settled upon a title — I wondered, why can’t this be my job? My profession — why do others assume that this is only a secondary interest for me?


Someone Please Shoot Me Now

•September 15, 2007 • Leave a Comment

To continue:

I had a gun show today. The day began with a less-than-auspicious start.

I was up late last night. I worked at my “real” job until 19:00. I arrived at the shop at about 19:30. I had to unload the organized chaos that resides in the trunk of my car, load up the guns I was taking to the show, and organize my paperwork.

By the time I got myself home and ready to go to bed, it was 23:30.

For some reason, I couldn’t fall asleep. I was still awake at 01:00. At 04:30, I was awake, thought I’m not sure if I had slept or not.

My alarm went off at 05:15; I finally dragged myself out of bed at 05:45.

I was out the door and on the road at 06:00.

I had planned on an hour for transit time (a generous cushion, but what proved to be a wise choice), so that I could arrive with an hour to get set up for the show’s opening at 08:00.

It’s never a good sign when: You get up in the morning and the foremost thought in your mind is, “Man, I can’t wait until the end of the day so I can go to bed.”

I followed PA 989 out of Ambridge, thinking that it was actually a nice day for a drive. I watched the sun come up, thinking (in a somewhat sado-masochistic way) that I missed this from when I used to drive a truck: watching the light slowly grow over the treetops.

As I drove, my low fuel light came on. I debated whether I wanted to wait to fuel until I got to Harmarville.

I decided to fuel before getting on the Turnpike, a decision that probably prevented a bad morning from getting completely hellish.

On Freedom-Conway, I belatedly realized that I was passing a gas station. By the time my sleep-fogged brain registered it, and I slowed down enough — I couldn’t make the turn into the final driveway, due to construction.

I continued on, and hit the Shell station, the last station before getting on the ‘pike.

I got on the turnpike, at some point my brain went into auto-pilot. However, where I was auto-piloting myself, I have no idea.

I passed an exit, and had a niggling flash of, “Oh, that looked somewhat familiar. Did I miss my exit? Nah….”

Then I passed over a big bridge over a big river. All the while, I’m thinking, “Errr… I don’t think I remember that from the last time….”

It all looked vaguely familiar. I’ve been to the gun show out here in Harmarville twice. Beyond that, I seldom travel this section of the pike. I’d been out this way to Irwin once, and it’s the way I take to drive to Northern Virginia.

All in all, a route that I’ve taken just often enough to have it be slightly familiar — not completely new, but not often enough to really know where I’m going.

I pass a service plaza.

Again, I’m thinking, “I don’t know that I remember that…”

I come to the exit for 376. I know this isn’t the exit, so I go to the next one.

I have a moment of utter panic when I see a sign that says, “Next Exit 63 miles.” Then I realize that it in fact is warning me that the next service plaza is 63 miles.

I finally arrive at the Irwin exit. As I’m coming off the ramp, I realize this is most definitely not where I want to be.

All the same, I ask the toll attendant the best way to get back to Harmarville: Pull a U-turn and re-enter the turnpike.

I get back on the turnpike. Amazingly, I can still admit to myself that it is a nice day for a drive. I decide that my exit must have been the Pittsburgh exit after all. The next exit is ten miles up, so I’m calculating 20 miles out of my way — not too bad.

I jump off at the Pittsburgh exit — realize that this still is not right. I ask the toll attendant — I have to keep going west one exit.

I have managed to go not one, but two exits out of my way. Not 20 miles, but 40 miles.

Just Shoot Me Now.

I make another U-turn, and get back on the turnpike.

I return back to the Allegheny Valley exit, sure enough — this is it. No wonder that it looked familiar when I passed it 30 minutes ago.

I’m realizing to be thankful for small favors. What if I hadn’t been prudent, and not filled up my tank before getting on the turnpike?

I finally arrived at 07:15.

I find another small blessing in that I am able to find a parking space right across from the check-in door, although I am seething with the knowledge that I would have been here at 6:40 if my brain had been paying attention to where I was.

I guess it all turned out for the good, because I was able to get my table set up (mostly) before the show opened.

Self Censorship?

•September 15, 2007 • 1 Comment

I originally considered titling this entry: “Someone Please Shoot Me Now.”

However, I realized that, given my vocation — that the above headline is not entirely appropriate. However, I have long contemplated beginning to publish a blog. Among my self-imposed obstacles was a fear.

I think I can best summarize this fear as a fear of offense, or perhaps a fear of alienation.

To explain: As I mentally wrote my potential blog articles, I realized that my possible subjects spanned the entire gamut of audiences.

To put it mildly, my collection of interests is…. diverse.

But I decided that, in the end, you can’t please everyone. The only compass that I can follow is to be true to myself.

I am somewhat reluctant to describe myself as such, for fear of braggadocio — but I can probably be best described as one-of-a-kind.

When I thought of my topics, I considered my potential audience(s). I contemplated censoring myself. I had concerns of alienating readers.

Suppose a woman discovers my blog due to our shared interest in quilting: reading my tales of Misadventures With Math (cutting, and re-cutting, and re-cutting…); Log Cabin Quilt Designing; Mon Seul Desire (my future unicorn quilt); and Sewing for Mental Health. When she logs on to read my latest quilting adventure, she finds my next post to be a discussion of various concealed carry options for my Para Ordnance LDA .45.

Suppose a man starts reading my blog because of our shared interest in firearms and shooting; reading about my stories of target shooting; second amendment news; firearm reviews; and new firearm projects. When he logs on to read my latest post and he reads about my latest idea for a quilting project that I’m planning to sew with applique images of FN FS2000‘s and FN PS90’s.

What if I have offended my quilting reader because she is staunchly in favor of gun control? What if my firearms reader discounts my authenticity because I am writing of women’s interests?.

But then I realized that I was stereotyping my readers. What’s to say that my quilting reader would not be interested in guns? What’s to say that my firearms reader would not be interested in handcrafts?

I should know, of all people, not to make assumptions. I also realized that it is impossible to please everyone

The obvious, immediate answer is to publish separate blogs for each of my interests. However, I would end up with a veritable library of blogs in that instance. In addition, there is a good deal of …. “cross-pollination” in the entries that I have planned. In my life, as disparate as my interests may seem — everything is interconnected, the different aspects of my life cannot be so easily pigeon-holed.

My concerns about this have proven to be a stumbling block for me, impeding me from fully utilizing my blog. I have finally decided upon a compromise.

I very well may be violating some “rules” by proceeding in this fashion — but this is my decision:

My “complete” blog is my personal blog: The Fox and the Hedgehog. That will be my main blog. (Read the Biographypage, and it will explain the provenance behind the title to my blog.) If you are interested in quilting as well as firearms — that is the blog that you will want to subscribe to.

My sewing and quilting blog is The Nomadic Quilter. If you are only interested in sewing, quilting and textiles; and would prefer not to read about guns and hunting — this is the blog for you.

My firearms blog, the blog for my business is Custom & Tactical Gunsmithing, by United Arms Service. If you are only interested in firearms and weapons; and would prefer not to read about fabric and embroidery, this is the blog for you.

September PCGA Gun Show

•September 1, 2007 • Leave a Comment

We have a gun show this month. Hope to see you there!

Pennsylvania Gun Collectors Association
September 15th and 16th, 2007
Saturday: 08:00 – 17:00
Sunday: 08:00 – 16:00

The Blade Runners Ice Complex
Harmarville, PA


Bladerunners Ice Complex, Harmarville, PA

Directions from North:
Take I-76 (PA Turnpike) East toward Pittsburgh to Harmarville (exit 48). Bear right onto Freeport Rd. Make the second right onto Alpha Drive (next to Wendy’s and Denny’s).

Directions from elsewhere:
Take Route 28 to Harmarville (Exit 11). At the end of ramp go straight to first stoplight; make a left and then a quick left at Primanti Brothers. Follow straight past Ladbrokes to ice rink. Or I-76 West to Harmarville (exit 48).


The Media Assault on the Second Amendment

•August 31, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Media Aim at Gun Rights with ‘Loaded Coverage,’ Report Says
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
August 27, 2007
As gun-control advocates prepared to hold a “National Day of Protest Against Gun Violence” on August 28th, a group dedicated to correcting misconceptions in the media about social conservatism and religious faith issued a study claiming that news outlets regularly “take potshots” at rights provided by the Second Amendment.

“During the first seven months of 2007, the media waged an intermittent war against the Second Amendment, using a variety of fallacious arguments to make the pitch for gun control,” according to “The Media Assault on the Second Amendment,” which was released on Monday by the Culture and Media Institute (CMI). “When it comes to the right to bear arms — to accept personal responsibility to defend home and family — the media are far from fair and balanced.”

“A crime wave in the big cities, followed by the Virginia Tech tragedy in April, gave the media plenty of ammunition for attacking the right to bear arms,” said David Niedrauer, the study’s author. “The three major broadcast networks ran at least 650 stories on gun homicides from January through July” but only two on using firearms for self-defense.

“The media first broached the urban crime wave immediately following a March 9 court decision, Parker v. District of Columbia, which struck down D.C.’s handgun ban,” said Niedrauer. “ABC, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today each ran at least one story on the crime wave between March 9 and March 29.

Soon after, “the media had a field day during the week after the Virginia Tech campus shootings on April 16,” said Robert Knight, director of CMI.

“The major broadcast networks ran nearly 30 stories promoting gun control, with another 24 from CNN, nine in the New York Times and 20 in the Washington Post,” Knight said. “The message was delivered with machine-gun regularity: lack of gun control led to the massacre, so more gun laws might prevent another massacre.

Armen Keteyian of CBS Evening News quoted the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and noted that Virginia Tech — which had recently imposed a total gun ban on campus — had fought Virginia’s ‘hunting culture’ in a desperate effort to ‘safeguard the student population,'” Knight added.

However, shooter “Seung-Hui Cho clearly was not deterred by Tech’s gun ban,” Knight said.

“In their zeal to repeal the Second Amendment,” the report indicates, “the media failed to inform their audience of at least four powerful arguments against gun control:

— “Comparisons between countries are not useful. Unfortunately, direct comparisons based solely on crime rates and gun laws tell very little about whether gun control actually works. Social scientists believe that gun control is only one of many factors that influence rates of violence.

— “Guns are frequently used to stop crimes. To the Founding Fathers, the right to bear arms for self-protection was essential if citizens were to be truly free, but this essential fact rarely saw the light of day in the mainstream media.

“Most guns used in crimes are illegally acquired. Like it or not, banning guns only takes them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, making it easier for people with no respect for the law to attack their victims.

— “Gun control laws have no proven effect. At worst, gun control laws leave law-abiding citizens defenseless before rapacious criminals, and at best, they may not affect violence at all.”

However, Peter Hamm, communications director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told Cybercast News Service that he found the report “chilling” because it criticized the news media for its reporting on gun violence, which he said is a serious problem in today’s society.

“Reducing coverage of a problem won’t make that problem go away,” said Hamm, who asserted that the use of firearms for self-defense “doesn’t happen nearly as often” as gun violence in this country.

The very fact that people purchase guns for self-defense — which is rarely reported to the police by firearm owners when it happens — is another sign that gun violence requires such efforts as the National Day of Protest, he added.

Nevertheless, Hamm asserted that activists on the gun-control side of the debate are also frustrated with media coverage of gun violence, because there isn’t enough of it, they say.

“I guess if both sides of the argument claim there’s not enough of something, that’s pretty telling,” he said, adding that, in this instance, media coverage is indeed “fair and balanced.”

Niedrauer strongly disagreed.

“Why do the media repeatedly make the same faulty assumptions and advance the same shopworn arguments for expensive and intrusive gun-control policies that have no proven effect on crime and render law-abiding citizens helpless to defend themselves?” he asked in the report.

“In a word, ideology,” said Niedrauer. “The argument for gun control has always been based more on utopian visions than empirical facts. That, and the left simply does not trust an armed citizenry.”

“The Media Assault on the Second Amendment,”

Do We Live in a Great Country, Or What?

•August 29, 2007 • Leave a Comment

When It Comes to Guns, the United States is Number 1

The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said.

According to the Small Arms Survey 2007, performed by the Geneva-based Institute of International Studies, U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms.¬† It said about 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States.

“There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people,” it said.

India had the world’s second-largest civilian gun arsenal, with an estimated 46 million firearms outside law enforcement and the military, though this represented just four guns per 100 people there. China, ranked third with 40 million privately held guns, had 3 firearms per 100 people.

Germany, France, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil and Russia were next in the ranking of country’s overall civilian gun arsenals.

On a per-capita basis, Yemen had the second most heavily armed citizenry behind the United States, with 61 guns per 100 people, followed by Finland with 56, Switzerland with 46, Irag with 39 and Serbia with 38.

France, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany were next, each with about 30 guns per 100 people, while many poorer countries often associated with violence ranked much lower. Nigeria, for instance, had just one gun per 100 people.

“Firearms are very unevenly distributed around the world. The image we have of certain regions such as Africa or Latin America being awash with weapons — these images are certainly misleading,” Small Arms Survey director Keith Krause said.

“Weapons ownership may be correlated with rising levels of wealth, and that means we need to think about future demand in parts of the world where economic growth is giving people larger disposable income,” he told a Geneva news conference.

The report, which relied on government data, surveys and media reports to estimate the size of world arsenals, estimated there were 650 million civilian firearms worldwide, and 225 million held by law enforcement and military forces.

Five years ago, the Small Arms Survey had estimated there were a total of just 640 million firearms globally.

“Civilian holdings of weapons worldwide are much larger than we previously believed,” Krause said, attributing the increase largely to better research and more data on weapon distribution networks.

Only about 12 percent of civilian weapons are thought to be registered with authorities.

DuraCoat FN PS90

•August 24, 2007 • 2 Comments

FNH Short Barrel PS90 in DuraCoat Gold Coast

Currently, FN is only offering the PS90 in Matte Black or Olive Drab. With DuraCoat, we can make it any color you want!