Independence Day

ATF Promotes Fireworks Safety

It’s all fun and games until someone loses a finger… Then it’s just fun.

It’s that time of year again.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is urging people to celebrate a safe Independence Day when it comes to fireworks. Handling illegal fireworks can lead to severe injuries or even death.

We want everyone to be able to safely enjoy the upcoming holiday,” said St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn. “Pay close attention to the fireworks you are purchasing. Make sure that they are consumer-grade fireworks from a reputable dealer, and because laws vary from city to city, state to state, be sure you are following state and local regulations.

ATF works with the Consumer Products Safety Commission to prevent trafficking of fireworks and illegal explosive devices, such as M-80s, M-100s, quarter sticks, cherry bombs and silver salutes, as they are commonly referred. While these devices are sometimes confused with fireworks, they are not lawful for use by non-licensed consumers.

When considering whether a firework is legal, a key thing to look for is generic or non-labeled packaging and/or poor quality construction,” Thielhorn continued. “Illegal explosive devices meet neither safety nor quality standards of legally manufactured consumer fireworks. Friction, heat, or impact can cause these devices to unintentionally explode.”

ATF and its partners are committed to preventing fireworks related tragedies and are on the lookout for criminal elements attempting to taint legitimate business activities of fireworks industry members. The public is urged to report the use or sale of illegal fireworks or explosive devices by calling the toll-free ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662). The illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, receipt or transportation of explosive devices can result in federal felony and misdemeanor charges.

More information on ATF and its programs is available at Also, seek out state laws and local government ordinances for further rules and regulations related to fireworks.

How Will You Celebrate Independence Day?

640px-MiamifireworksThe Fourth of July is almost upon us and America is gearing up to celebrate the birth of our nation.  Many people may have the 3rd off from work and many are probably planning to extend that long weekend by taking and extra day today and/or Monday.

There are many ways (and reasons) to celebrate this occasion.  From visiting historic sites to watching parades, from setting off fireworks to exercising your right to keep and bear arms at the shooting range, and from backyard barbecues to picnics in the park.

Let us know how you will be celebrating by voting in the poll below and sharing your plans in the comments section.

However you choose to celebrate the 239th birthday of these United States, we hope that you do so safely.  Have a wonderful Independence Day weekend!    Continue reading

So What DID the Nation’s Founders Think About Individual Gun Rights?

There has always been much debate and rhetoric about the true meaning of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and what it’s guarantee of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms really means.  From consternation over the placement of a comma to knee-jerk reactions to discourse over who, exactly, comprises the militia and what well regulated means, it seems like some are having a problem – perhaps deliberately, sometimes – grasping what the intention of our nation’s charter was.

Since we are celebrating the birth and early shaping of the United States of America this week, let’s take a look at what some of America’s architects had to say about gun rights and the necessity of individual firearm ownership.

As you read through these quotes and discussion, do so through the lens of current gun control laws and regulations, as well as those that have been proposed with various levels of success throughout history, and reflect on how you think the Founding Fathers may have felt about them. Continue reading

The Declaration of Independence: 150 Years Later

Calvin_CoolidgeContinuing on with the patriotic theme of this anniversary week of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, we will go back to a previous anniversary of this auspicious occasion:  a speech given by president Calvin Coolidge.  Delivered in Philadelphia for the 150th anniversary, the Vermonter posited that “a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period.  Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization.”  We have now nearly had another one hundred years to vet those institutions and principles and, today, they seem no less good than they did then.

The 30th president went on to reflect that “[a]mid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken.”  Great words in which one could take pride, although some may question whether they still ring as true today – nearly 90 years later – as they did in 1926.  Lately it can seem like the din of those clashing partisan politics can drown out everything else, as basic rights guaranteed by those “charters of freedom and justice” are disregarded in the name of emotion, false “facts,” and agendas.  Those resolute, “firm and unshaken” principles are often treated as living, evolving things – perhaps mere suggestions – or even considered deleterious by some.

Be that as it may, these documents, and those like them, are our founding documents.  They are the charter that codifies what America is all about and what makes it the greatest nation.  Let’s celebrate that this Fourth of July.

President Calvin Coolidge’s full speech from Philadelphia, PA – July 5, 1926:    Continue reading

And So it Begins… Lexington and Concord

Minute_ManAs Independence Day fast approaches, Americans are gearing up for a long weekend.  Maybe some time off from work, a barbecue, some frosty cold beverages, fireworks, time well spent with family, and other red-blooded patriotic American festivities.  We’re certain that many will also be celebrating the 239th anniversary of the adoption of The United States’ Declaration of Independence by exercising the right to keep and bear arms and burning up some gun powder at the shooting range.  Perhaps a fitting observance, considering some of the events that ignited the American Revolution and fueled the forge that made this nation what it is today.

As a tribute, this week we will be posting some patriotic stuff.  Because… America!

In the mid-1770s, after some uppity American colonists threw a bunch of tea into the Boston Harbor as a protest over the Tea Act’s “taxation without representation,” the British government tried to spank them with the Intolerable Acts.  Well, those free spirited early American men didn’t much care for that, so they began taking steps to resist Brit control, such as passing the Suffolk Resolves and creating the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.  Not about to take any guff from those yanks, the British government declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion and, as oppressors often do with those they want to control, decided to disarm the people.  Nihil novi sub sole, right?

It was on their way to capture and destroy militia supplies that, under secret orders, approximately 700 British Army regulars under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith marched – by way of Lexington – on Concord.  There, at the North Bridge, 400 or so militiamen engaged a contingent of the British regulars, driving them back to Concord proper where the rest of their force was searching for arms to confiscate before being forced to withdraw, first back to Lexington – where shots had been fired earlier in the day – and then, along with their reinforcements, back to Boston.  That day, April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord marked the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War and put us on the path to becoming the nation that we are today.

Some 62 years later, Ralph Waldo Emerson penned the Concord Hymn for the dedication of the memorial at the North Bridge to commemorate “the shot heard ’round the world:”   Continue reading





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