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Request for Information on Sporting Use of Pump-Action Shotguns:

I am passing on a request from Herve Senach, president of the French organization Association de Tireurs (ADT), an organization founded in 1901 to promote responsibile uses of firearms, and to support the natural right of self-defense. Mr. Senach asks the following from organizers of sporting events involving pump action shotguns:

Would you be so kind as to send me an official attestation from your organization, stating that you organize, on a regular basis, sports shooting contests with pump-action shotguns, or, even better, reserved to pump-action shotguns.
Please do not let the request for an "official attestation" hold you up; this can be fulfilled by a formal letter from an officer of the organization. You can contact Mr. Senach, who reads and writes English, at "ccra" followed by "@" followed by "infonie.fr". Apparently there is some pressure in France to ban pump action guns, so your timely response would be very helpful.

For a collection of links to French language pro-gun and anti-gun websites, and some articles on gun issues written in French, you might want to check the French language page on my website. The web presence of the ADT, by the way, appears to be mainly in conjunction with the website of another group, the Union Francaise des Amateurs d'Armes (UFA). That website has information about the current French presidential campaign (and front-runner Sarkozy's position that citizens of the French republic should not be allowed to defend themselves with firearms), but not about the new pump-action shotgun issue.

liberty (mail) (www):
I sent along the request to the gun club I was a member of in NM where they do have sporting clay events regularly.
2.14.2007 11:46am
Jay (mail):
I will take a guess that France is considering following Britain, Australia, and Germany in banning ownership of pump action shotguns. I wonder how many US gunowners know that pump action shotguns are next on the gun banner agenda after "assault weapons" and then all semiautos?

Donna Dees-Thomasas of the MMM/Brady Campaign has expressed support for banning pump action shotguns (her Detroit Free Press column is reprinted HERE).

I have heard anecdotal evidence that the pump action shotgun is the most popular hunting and sporting shotgun in the US, but I would welcome some actual fugures.
2.14.2007 11:48am
TomHynes (mail):
Are semi-auto's already banned?
2.14.2007 11:49am
therut:
We all know they do not want to ban our guns. Really that little "assault weapons ban" of Clinton was not a gun ban at all. They will never want to ban "sporting firearms" but you know that is a living breathing term that can be interpreted to mean not to include those evil pump action shot guns. We might finally get down to the single barrell one shot .22 rifle that can shoot no more than 100 feet that the ISANA and other NGO's( how I despise that term) at the UN wants the world to follow. Except the police and military. Maybe we need a UN police force as the lefty preachers want. Does that not send chills down ones neck!!!!!!!!!!! Oh by the way the Federal Distirct Judge in LA Charged Mayor Nagin and his Police cheif and their lawyer with contempt of Court just yesterday. Remember the illegal confiscation of firearms in NO. But again we know confisication has never happened and will never happen in this country of the free. Wonder when the MSM will report on that?
2.14.2007 12:05pm
liberty (mail) (www):
pump action shotguns are obviously evil because they take longer to load ... and only evil crazy people would want one
2.14.2007 12:18pm
rc:
It's not a contest, but laws for duck hunting (in two states that I know of) stipulate a max shotgun load of three shells in the weapon. This means that every duck hunter either carries a pump gun, or the faster (and scarier to Frenchies) semiauto. No one that I know of goes duck hunting with a weapon less capable than a pump. Every pump and semi sold comes with a 'duck plug'- a plug put in the magazine to keep the max load to three. The only purpose of this extra piece of equipment is for hunting.

Also, I know of a contest that does not use a pump, but may be similar enough to be of use. Cowboy action shooting employes lever action rifles, which are about the same mechanical ability as a pump gun. Although, to be true to period, the contest also features double barreled shotguns in a separate event. This might all just be too confusing to be of use as evidence or an analogy.

You problem is that trap, skeet, sporting clays and similar shotgun evernts are modeled after tradition, where double barrel was the best thing available.
2.14.2007 12:20pm
anonymous coward:
Cowboy Action Shooting does enough with the Winchester '97 pump to create a market for Chinese clones.
2.14.2007 1:20pm
Orin Kerr's Future Husband:
The menacing "click-clack" the action makes when it is cycled is obviously engineered to intimidate people. Let's ban it.
2.14.2007 1:25pm
countertop (mail):
not just for duck hunting, but I regularly shoot skeet and trap (and even better - wobble trap and 5 stand) with my Browning BPS. Went Pheasant Hunting with a synthetic black and parkerized 870 in Minnesotta last fall. It was great - and in the conditions - much preferable to some snooty, John Kerry/Dick Cheney approved $35,000 O/U
2.14.2007 1:39pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Besides sporting clays and duck hunting the pump action shotgun was used often in Vietnam jungle patrols. I believe its still military issue. I believe they prefer the pump over semi-auto due to possible jamming concerns in a dirty military use environment. I know the guys on point in Vietnam thought their use of the shotgun on enemy close quarter encounters was pretty damn sporting.

Says the "Dog"
2.14.2007 1:40pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
Who needs a pump action shotgun anyway? The saiga 12 is clearly superior!
2.14.2007 1:41pm
Goobermunch (mail):
Jay--

Where does the article call for a ban on pump action guns? I didn't see anything of that nature, but I only skimmed it twice.

therut--

What lefties want a UN Police Force? I've never heard a call for such a thing.

--G
2.14.2007 1:48pm
Jay (mail):
Goobermunch:

"But while nothing has happened three years after the Columbine High killings, seven weeks after the Erfurt shooting, the German parliament passed legislation that tightens the rules on gun ownership. The new laws don't preclude private ownership of guns, they just include common-sense measures: raising the age of ownership for firearms from 18 to 21; requiring that people under 25 seeking to purchase a gun pass a psychological examination; and banning pump-action guns."

"This measured response to a horrifying crime is exactly what the United States failed to do in Columbine's wake."

"If we want to bring a stop to the daily drumbeat of gun violence, we must learn from the quick German response."

(all of the above from the article)

So:

Germany banned pump action guns in response to a shooting (as did Britain and Australia FYI).

Dees-Thomasas writes (disaprovingly) that such a "measured response" was lacking in the US response to the Columbine shootings (a Savage Model 67 Pump shotgun was one of the guns used).

Dees-Thomasas writes that "we must learn from the German response." Does that not mean that she thinks we should take similar measures?
2.14.2007 2:37pm
Fub:
rc wrote:
It's not a contest, but laws for duck hunting (in two states that I know of) stipulate a max shotgun load of three shells in the weapon. This means that every duck hunter either carries a pump gun, or the faster (and scarier to Frenchies) semiauto. No one that I know of goes duck hunting with a weapon less capable than a pump. Every pump and semi sold comes with a 'duck plug'- a plug put in the magazine to keep the max load to three. The only purpose of this extra piece of equipment is for hunting.
I haven't hunted duck since the mid-1950s, but the "3 rounds max load" limit is my recollection of the game laws in my state at the time. Duck plugs, sometimes home made, were a universal accoutrement for duck hunters.
2.14.2007 2:46pm
therut:
Jim Wallis writes about it in his recent book.
2.14.2007 2:58pm
WHOI Jacket:
I use a pump-action 16 gauge shotgun for target shooting. (Skeet and Trap)
2.14.2007 3:13pm
SeaLawyer:
Junkyard,

I believe its still military issue. I believe they prefer the pump over semi-auto due to possible jamming concerns in a dirty military use environment.


The Marine Corp is currently using this and it is the smoothest shooting shotgun I have ever used.
2.14.2007 3:21pm
VanMorganJr. (mail):
I can miss a lot more ducks a lot faster with my 20 guage pump than with my old 12 guage double.
2.14.2007 3:23pm
SeaLawyer:

The menacing "click-clack" the action makes when it is cycled is obviously engineered to intimidate people.


I don't doubt that is a major reason that people want it banned. In movies someone pumping a shotgun just before the action starts is always over dramatized and plays into this as well.
2.14.2007 3:25pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I can't think of anything offhand that specifically requires pump action. The way I would approach it is, given the easy at which other types of shotguns can be substituted for the pump action, what's the reason to ban them? Is a pump action any more dangerous than, say, a bolt action rifle, or even an over-under or side-by-side? Sometimes it's hard for me to believe the people who advocate this crap are actually serious.
2.14.2007 3:43pm
Waldensian (mail):

No one that I know of goes duck hunting with a weapon less capable than a pump.

I know a lot of guys who duck hunt with doubles (me included). Note that some doubles come with barrels and chokes optimized for steel shot, which is generally used only for hunting waterfowl.

Maybe this is a regional thing, like Chevy/Ford?

I do agree that the Dick Cheney high $ double is pretentious. Doesn't hurt any less when you get shot in the neck, either.

In any event, a nice used field grade Citori is one sweet shotgun, and won't break the bank TOO badly.
2.14.2007 3:55pm
gem (mail):
Two questions:

I am a scout leader for a boy scout troop. The boys fire shotguns at camp to obtain the shotgun merit badge. Does that count as a competition?

The safety regulations for establishing ranges at boy scout camps say: "Gas operated shotguns are recommended." But there is no ban on pump action shotguns. (I have seen both used.) Out of curiousity, why would gas operated shotguns be safer? Is it because the boys might point the weapon in some funny direction while pumping?
2.14.2007 4:17pm
WHOI Jacket:
Mostly because, like pistol stocks, some people wet their pants when someone works the pump-action in the movies with a Dolby-enhanced surround sound "click-click". It's the only logical reason.
2.14.2007 4:30pm
eric (mail):

The menacing "click-clack" the action makes when it is cycled is obviously engineered to intimidate people.

I don't doubt that is a major reason that people want it banned. In movies someone pumping a shotgun just before the action starts is always over dramatized and plays into this as well.

I have always been amazed at how the gun grabbers seem to often be motivated by emotion. What is next, scary names?
2.14.2007 4:30pm
GG (mail):
Gem,

Gas operated semiautomatic shotguns have less recoil than pumps or doubles because some of the energy is absorbed by the gas cylinder instead of becoming recoil. That's probably why they are recommended for scouting. Guys who get a shotgun for wives or girlfriends often get a gas operated semi auto as well for the same reason.

GG
2.14.2007 4:32pm
GG (mail):
I went target shooting with a pump shotgun just yesterday. The gun I was using was a 1954 Winchester Model 12. It holds 6 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. You can't do this with a double: say to the target launching boy "Give me seven targets in a row."

But, all levity aside, it is very common for trap and skeet shooters to do it with a pump action shotgun, especially when they are practicing with their field gun(s).

GG
2.14.2007 4:36pm
Colin (mail):
I have always been amazed at how the gun grabbers seem to often be motivated by emotion.

To be fair, the only reason you have to suspect that that's the case here are the off-the-cuff comments of people who just guessing about the rationale behind this request and the presumed threatened ban.
2.14.2007 4:40pm
Waldensian (mail):

Out of curiousity, why would gas operated shotguns be safer?

Actually, I find semiautos to be marginally less safe than doubles or single-shots in one important respect -- doubles and single shots are generally carried "open" in a way that that makes it immediately obvious to bystanders that the gun can't be fired. It's generally more difficult to tell, at a distance anyway, whether an auto is loaded and ready to fire.

This is not a huge safety issue, but it's worth thinking about, especially with novices. There's also something to be said for the simplicity of the double's operation; it's quite intuitive compared to the semiauto.

I suspect, like another poster, that the semiauto is officially preferred for scouts because of slightly lower recoil. This characteristic is actually less important for comfort than whether the gun fits the shooter, however. I'd take a double that fits over an ill-fitting semiauto any day.

A shotgun that's the wrong size -- particularly one that is too long -- can beat the bejeezus out of the shooter.
2.14.2007 5:02pm
Crunchy Frog:
Along with the cool sound, you can cycle a pump shotgun one-handed, a la Linda Hamilton in The Terminator. One of the best movie scenes ever, by the way.
2.14.2007 5:45pm
Houston Lawyer:
What you really want is the street sweeper, which is much like a revolver, but with 12 shots without reloading
2.14.2007 6:09pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The 3 shot limit is federally imposed, too -- regs under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As I recall, it dates from the early 20th century. Double-barrel shooters argued that pumps were unsporting due to their magazine capacity. Pump shooters argued there was nothing sacred about two rounds. The compromise was to give them one more and stop there.
2.14.2007 6:13pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
SeaLawyer,

Thanks for the upadte and the link to the new (since 2001) military shotgun. You are right about the Bennelli shotgun being extremely smooth. I have two Beretta shotguns that are knock offs of the Bennelli's. Wasn't Beretta purchased by Bennelli a few years back?? Anyway my Beretta's are unbelievably smooth. My wife and I put 200 rounds through my Beretta 20 guage one day competing in a local sporting clay charity event over a 2 hour period without a single jam or a sore shoulder.

My wife, who until that day had never fired a shotgun in her life, shot down the very first clay she tried Annie Oakley style holding the shotgun alongside her hip. After I showed her how to hold it against her shoulder she proceeded to beat me and a couple bucks from the local county sheriff's office in total hits for the day. She won the prize for high female score. We got a case of shells as a prize, and she never lets me forget it either. :)

Those Bennelli's and Beretta's are pretty pricey. Mine ran me around $1,000.00 a piece with tax and all.

Says the "Dog"
2.14.2007 6:17pm
eric (mail):

To be fair, the only reason you have to suspect that that's the case here are the off-the-cuff comments of people who just guessing about the rationale behind this request and the presumed threatened ban.


In relation to this case, yes. But I said it "always" amazes me for a reason. The rationale for banning a particular weapon is often unsupported by any evidence that the weapon is in fact more dangerous. That AR-15 may look scary, but it is just a .223. I would rather be shot with a AR-15 than a .300 Winchester Mag, or any other decent big game caliber.
2.14.2007 7:02pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Colin

To be fair, the only reason you have to suspect that that's the case here are the off-the-cuff comments of people who just guessing about the rationale behind this request and the presumed threatened ban.

Actually, to be fair, it is the exact reason given in a considerable number of discussions I've had with people (who favor gun bans).
2.14.2007 8:48pm
Carolina:
Famed Hoover-era FBI agent Delf "Jelly" Bryce would put on demonstrations where someone would (by hand) throw 5 clays into the air and he would break them all, before any hit the ground, with a 12-ga. pump.

FWIW, he could also draw and fire his service revolver in 0.4 seconds, proved by a stroboscopic photo in Life magazine (1949?).
2.15.2007 12:38am
David W. Hess (mail):
Herb Parons did much the same thing using a Winchester Model 12 with 7 clay pigeons. Since it lacked a disconnector, the Model 12 would fire if the trigger was held down while the action was closed.

The Triad Action Shooters Klub sponsors various bowling pin matches and includes pump action shotgun only events as a way to prepare for the Second Chance Pin Shoot and have fun.
2.15.2007 11:33am
Victor Krueger (mail):
One thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that low end pump shotguns (Mossberg 500 or Remington 870) cost about half as much as a low end semiauto or double. I suspect that one reason for antigunner political strategists' wanting to ban pump shotguns is to raise the entry costs for shotgun sports &hunting, so as to make a more complete ban easier in the future.

I bought a Mossberg 500 a few months ago for duck hunting. It cost $200. There was a cheaper variant made by a mossberg subsidiary but I was advised against it. Mossberg 500 works fine. I have heard that the felt recoil is lower with the Remington 870, but I have not fired the 870 so I don't know. Remington 870 would have been $240.
2.16.2007 3:52am
WHOI Jacket:
It's like here in MA. $50-100 dollars to take the state-mandated 1-evening training course just to apply for a FID/LTC card. My GA Hunter's Safety Certification wasn't good enough apparently. Then, it's another $100 dollars just to file the application. All of this and they can deny me for any reason.

Obviously, MA wishes it to be difficult for the poor to own weapons "legally". Why don't they just start up a poll tax as well?
2.16.2007 10:45am