Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You can have my antiquated wallhanger when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

When Heston first did his "Cold, dead hands" bit, he lofted a presentation muzzleloading rifle. While the gesture was admirable, the gun itself seemed kind of inoffensive; almost placatory. As the gesture became his trademark, he progressed to a Sharps. Marko mused at the time that at least he was moving up to cartridge-firing breechloaders now, and at this rate we'd see him waving a Krag-Jorgensen by 2012.

Alas, Heston passed, and it seems that the NRA has reset back to frontstuffers. Unc is disappointed, and offers a modest proposal.

(Then again, those flintlocks might be more dangerous than we give them credit for. Rumor has it that the ones on the walls of the Massachusetts statehouse are fitted with trigger locks, lest they hop off the walls and go on a slow, smoky rampage. Or something.

UPDATE: In comments, Bitter says the rumor is just that, and not based in fact. What it says about Massachusetts gun laws that one could believe such a thing is left as an exercise for the reader.)

8 comments:

Mattexian said...

If you look real closely at the Massachusetts state quarter, you can see a trigger lock on the Minuteman's flintlock, too!

Bitter said...

The rumor is false. What happened is that in the gun control acts of 1998, the laws would have required a trigger lock on it. A gun rights activists publicly threatened to a lot of senators to grab a ladder and climb up to put a trigger lock on it. In days, the law was "fixed" to exempt antiques.

Tam said...

Ah.

It says something about Massachusetts.gov that the rumor is entirely believable, though, doesn't it?

Bitter said...

It says something that it almost really did happen! :)

Rick C said...

It's sad that it took "days" to get the legislature to put in the exemption language.

Oldsmoblogger said...

Once I get myself and my family squared away otherwise, I'm going to lay in a flintlock and a crossbow.

OldEasterner said...

I'm in Massachusetts and was here at the time of the passage of the 1998 law.

The bill was 80+ pages and was a "change" document (i.e. add this; change word on line x; delete that. All referencing existing MGL.) At the time of its passage, there had been much change to it. I doubt one legislature read it all, and surely note with the MGL handy to reference.

After it passed, I (and perhaps others) relized that it didn't exempt antique muzzleloaders -- and that the Senate hall on Beacon Hill had 2 such, unlocked flintlocks hanging on the back wall (opposite of the dais). I talked to GOAL (our state org) about this irony.

Mike Yacino (GOAL pres. at the time) did a Press Release poking fun at the legislature and the mess (in many ways) they had made.

Local talk radio had some fun with it, and then Sen. Pres Birmingham decided to try to make some lemonaide. He announced that he would have locks on the muzzleloaders and he was glad to do his part and publicize the importance of locking up guns.

Trigger locks did appear on the wall-hangers. IIRC, it took about six months for the "fix bill" to pass in the next session. There were several pages of technical corrections -- including the exemption of pre-1898 guns from the "locked storage" requirement. The locks on the wallhangers were removed without fanfare.

If you notice the "State Quarter Dollars", MA has a Concord Minuteman, flintlock and all. It has been suggested as a stunt to put a tiny dab of red nail polish on the trigger guard to look like a trigger lock.

Jim said...

A decent flintlock wouldn't be a bad addition to the collection. I think I can find flint around here and I'm confident that one of my friends could help me make the powder. Caps and primers are more difficult to fabricate.