Sonoran Desert Institute

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Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers, According to the ATF, Part 2

When it comes to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, folk in the firearms community tend to have very strong opinions — their actions can drastically effect the shooter’s day-to-day life, take for example the ATF’s decisions concerning pistol braces.

They are frequently disparaged, but as Sonoran Desert Institute’s Master Gunsmith Kip Carpenter notes in the webinar “Starting a Gunsmithing Business”, he’s had a tremendous experience with the organization.

No matter how hot or cold your emotions run, there is no question that the men and women at the ATF field a boatload of questions about guns on a regular basis. Previously, we took the opportunity to share and dig into five of the ten most frequently-asked questions posed to the ATF.

Now we’re going to clean up the remainder!

Let’s see what they got:

6. May I lawfully ship a firearm to myself in a different State?

Funnily enough, this isn’t really ever a question that occurred to me. In all fairness, I’m not much for travelling, and when I do it’s through areas that have nice little conveniences like concealed carry reciprocity. That being said, as the ATF notes you actually can ship a firearm to yourself!

Any person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in the care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner “in the care of” the out-of-State resident. Upon reaching its destination, persons other than the owner must not open the package or take possession of the firearm.

The more you know!

7. May I lawfully ship a firearm directly to an out-of-State licensee, or must I have a licensee in my State ship it to him? May the licensee return the firearm to me, even if the shipment is across State lines?

Yes, you can ship a firearm directly to an FFL. Be you warned — from personal experience, I can tell you that the cost of shipping can be quite a bit! If you’ve never shipped a firearm before, be prepared for that cost.

Any person may ship firearms directly to a licensee in any State, with no requirement for another licensee to ship the firearm. However, handguns are not mailable through the United States Postal Service and must be shipped via common or contract carrier.

In response to the second part of the question, licensees can ship back to you without an additional in-state licensee if the firearm was yours to begin with. If you’ve sent it off for a repair or the like it can come straight back to you.

Firearms shipped to FFLs for repair or any other lawful purpose may be returned to the person from whom receive without transferring the firearm through an FFL in the recipient’s State of residence.

Just don’t try that with a new purchase!

8. I have been convicted of a felony. How do I reinstate my rights to possess a firearm?

This is a tricky one. A lot of people believe that their gun rights should never be restored, while others believe the opposite just as strongly — as long as the felony committed wasn’t violent. Last year, an Arizona state trooper was famously saved by a former felon whose gun rights was restored to him.

Regardless of how we may feel about it, a felon’s rights can be restored.

Persons who have been convicted of a “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year,” as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20), are prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Felons whose convictions have been set-aside or expunged, or for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored are not considered convicted under section 922(g)(1), unless that person was expressly prohibited by the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held from possessing firearms… If your conviction is for a Federal offense, you would regain the ability to lawfully receive, possess, or transport firearms if you receive a Presidential pardon.

In essence, there are no guarantees that you can your gun rights back — but governmental agencies can restore those rights. If you’ve committed a federal offense and are looking for more information, the ATF recommends taking a look at h

9. May I lawfully make a firearm for my own personal use, provided it is not being made for resale?

Surprisingly — and awesomely — yes! You can not make a firearm for sale without a manufacturer’s license, of course. You can’t make one for distribution, either.

But for yourself? You’re in good shape.

Firearms may be lawfully made by persons who do not hold a manufacturer’s license under the GCA provided they are not for sale or distribution and the maker is not prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semiautomatic rifle or shotgun from 10 or more imported parts.

10. I was the subject of a NICS check when I attempted to purchase a firearm from an FFL, and I received a delayed response or a denial. Please tell me why I did not receive a “proceed” response.

Well, good news and bad news, there. The bad news is that you are going to have to go the NICS customer service center for that one, which is actually administered by the FBI.

The good news is that the ATF isn’t responsible for your ruined afternoon.

ATF does not operate the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It is administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Please contact the NICS Customer Service Center at (877) 444-6427 for further assistance.

What questions do you have that was left off the ATF’s list? Please share this on Facebook and Twitter and let us know!

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Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers, According to the ATF, Part 1

When it comes to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, folk in the firearms community tend to have very strong opinions.

There’s good reasons for that — their actions can drastically effect the shooter’s day-to-day life, take for example the ATF’s decisions concerning pistol braces.

They are frequently disparaged, but as Sonoran Desert Institute’s Master Gunsmith Kip Carpenter notes in the webinar “Starting a Gunsmithing Business”, he’s had a tremendous experience with the organization.

No matter how hot or cold your emotions run, however, there is no question that the men and women at the ATF field a boatload of questions about guns on a regular basis.

So, what are the most common questions?

This article is the first of a two-part series on the ten most-asked questions to the ATF. We’re breaking it down because if folks all across the country are asking these questions, odds are good you’ll catch one you were wondering, too.

Let’s dig in!

1. Can a person prohibited by law from possessing a firearm acquire and use a black powder muzzle loading firearm?

Now, I’m not a felon — and I don’t really plan on being one in the future, but I will admit that this is a question I have wondered more than once.

Surprisingly, the answer is yes!

Federal law does not prohibit these persons from possessing or receiving an antique firearm. The term “antique firearm” means any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898.

I will admit, that’s not how I expected the ATF to respond on that. However, it does make sense. You can get muzzleloaders shipped right to your door (at least you can here in North Carolina), and trying to track them would be a logistical nightmare.

Keep in mind, however, that we’re talking on the federal level — state government can come into play.

Finally, even though a prohibited person may lawfully possess an antique firearm under Federal law, State or local law may classify such weapons as “firearms” subject to regulation. Any person considering acquiring a black powder weapon should contact his or her State Attorney General’s Office to inquire about the laws and possible State or local restrictions.

Always check your local laws!

2. May I lawfully transfer a firearm to a friend who resides in a different State?

Short answer — no, you can’t — at least you can’t without the involvement of an FFL. As much as you may want to, you have to pay that transfer fee — it’s a small price to pay to stick to the right side of the law. As the ATF notes:

Under Federal law, an unlicensed individual is prohibited from transferring a firearm to an individual who does not reside in the State where the transferee resides. Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) within the recipient’s State of residence.

As tempting as it may be to send a firearm to John Doe a few hundred miles away, take the time to ship it right, with an FFL.

3. May I lawfully transfer a firearm to a resident of the same State in which I reside?

Yes — yes you can! However, you can’t transfer a firearm to someone who can’t legally possess one — take the felon from Question 1, for example. You can’t sell him your .380 because you are all about .45 ACP now, now matter how much he wants to strike a deal!

Any person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of the State where he resides as long as he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. There may be State laws that regulate interstate firearm transactions.

As always, check your local laws for interstate firearm transactions, or any other question you have in terms of firearms legality.

4. How do I register my firearm or remove my name from a firearms registration?

Good news for you — and most of you firearms community veterans already know this — there’s no Federal registration requirement unless we’re talking SBR’s, machine guns, and the like.

There is no Federal registration requirement for most conventional sporting firearms. Only those firearms subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA) (e.g., machineguns, short-barrel firearms, silencers, destructive devices, any other weapons) must be registered with ATF.

That’s one less thing on your plate!

5. Does ATF issue a Concealed Carry Permit (CCP) that authorizes a person to carry a firearm throughout the United States?

As much as some of us (me included!) may want a national concealed carry permit of some form or other to be an institution of this great nation, it’s not.

At least not yet. A guy can dream, can’t he?

Neither ATF nor any other Federal agency issues such a permit or license. CCPs may be issued by a State or local government.

What do you think about these questions? Please share this on Facebook and Twitter and let us know!

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Congressional Medal of Honor Given to Living Iraq War Veteran for Very First Time

The only Medal of Honor yet given to a living veteran of the Iraq War has now been awarded.

Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, now age 43, had already received a Silver Star for the actions he took in Fallujah nearly fifteen years ago, but a recent review of valor awards determined him deserving of our nation’s highest honor, according to the Army Times. He was honored June 25.

The battle in which he fought was ferocious, and the citation’s recounting of the events makes that more than evident, but it’s important to understand what sacrifices were made to keep our nation safe and earn this award. Below, we have attached an abridged version of his citation recounting his actions. You can read it in full here. Please read the citation at your own discretion — it does get violent.

The President of the United States of America… takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant David S. Bellavia, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company A, Task Force 2-2, 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM during the battle for Al Fallujah, Iraq, on 10 November 2004. Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s personal bravery and selfless actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, 1st Infantry Division and the United States Army…

Staff Sergeant David S. Bellavia distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company A, Task Force 2-2, 1st Infantry Division, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM during the battle for Al Fallujah, Iraq, on 10 November 2004. On that date Sergeant Bellavia’s platoon was ordered to clear a block of 12 buildings from which Jihadists were firing on American forces.

The first nine buildings were unoccupied, but were found to be filled with enemy rockets, grenade launchers and other kinds of weapons. When Bellavia and four others entered the tenth building, they came under fire from insurgents in the house. Other soldiers came to reinforce the squad and a fierce battle at close quarters ensued. Many American soldiers were injured from the gunfire and flying debris. At this point, Sergeant Bellavia, armed with a M249 SAW gun, entered the room where the insurgents were located and sprayed the room with gunfire, forcing the Jihadists to take cover and allowing the squad to move out into the street.

Here, it’s important to note that Bellavia actually switched out his M16 for the SAW he carried into this phase of the combat, according to the Army Times, assumedly because he knew he’d need that firepower.

Jihadists on the roof began firing at the squad, forcing them to take cover in a nearby building. Sergeant Bellavia then went back to the street and called in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to shell the houses. After this was done, he decided to re-enter the building to determine whether the enemy fighters were still active. Seeing a Jihadist loading an RPG launcher, Sergeant Bellavia gunned him down. A second Jihadist began firing as the soldier ran toward the kitchen and Bellavia fired back, wounding him in the shoulder. A third Jihadist began yelling from the second floor. Sergeant Bellavia then entered the uncleared master bedroom and emptied gunfire into all the corners, at which point the wounded insurgent entered the room, yelling and firing his weapon. Sergeant Bellavia fired back, killing the man.

Sergeant Bellavia then came under fire from the insurgent upstairs and the staff sergeant returned the fire, killing the man. At that point, a Jihadist hiding in a wardrobe in a bedroom jumped out, firing wildly around the room and knocking over the wardrobe. As the man leaped over the bed he tripped and Sergeant Bellavia shot him several times, wounding but not killing him. Another insurgent was yelling from upstairs, and the wounded Jihadist escaped the bedroom and ran upstairs. Sergeant Bellavia pursued, but slipped on the blood-soaked stairs.

The wounded insurgent fired at him but missed. He followed the bloody tracks up the stairs to a room to the left. Hearing the wounded insurgent inside, he threw a fragmentary grenade into the room, sending the wounded Jihadist onto the roof. The insurgent fired his weapon in all directions until he ran out of ammunition. He then started back into the bedroom, which was rapidly filling with smoke.

Hearing two other insurgents screaming from the third story of the building, Sergeant Bellavia put a choke hold on the wounded insurgent to keep him from giving away their position. The wounded Jihadist then bit Sergeant Bellavia on the arm and smacked him in the face with the butt of his AK-47. In the wild scuffle that followed, Sergeant Bellavia took out his knife and slit the Jihadist’s throat. Two other insurgents who were trying to come to their comrade’s rescue, fired at Bellavia, but he had slipped out of the room, which was now full of smoke and fire. Without warning, another insurgent dropped from the third story to the second-story roof. Sergeant Bellavia fired at him, hitting him in the back and the legs and causing him to fall off the roof, dead. At this point, five members of 3d Platoon entered the house and took control of the first floor. Before they would finish off the remaining Jihadists, however, they were ordered to move out of the area because close air support had been called in by a nearby unit.

In summation- the man was an unapologetic one-man army.

What do you think about this man’s actions? Please share this on Facebook and Twitter and let us know!

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SDI President Traci Lee Elected To DEAC Board of Directors

SDI’s commander-in-chief recently got some well-deserved accolades!

On April 22, 2019, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC, elected Sonoran Desert Institue’s president Traci Lee to its Board of Directors on a three-year term. The election was held in conjunction with DEAC’s 93rd Annual Conference and Lee will serve on the board through March 31st, 2022.

The official announcement was made on the DEAC’s website via a press release.

“I am deeply honored to serve as a board member and look forward to the opportunity to utilize my background in the education sector to contribute to the Commission,” said Ms. Lee. “I also have tremendous respect for the board members, and I look forward to working with them.”

SDI’s Vice President of Operations Chris Caraway, who was honored with the DEAC’s Rising Star Award in April, was able to perfectly put everyone at SDI’s feelings into words when asked about Traci’s recent achievement.

“This is a great honor and reflects Traci’s hard work to promote distance education and SDI within our industry,” said Caraway. “We are proud of Traci for being elected to this prestigious position. Much important, yet thankless work lies ahead for Traci in her role as a board member, but no one is more qualified for the job.”

We’re all excited for Traci in this new endeavor and we know she will bring the same energy and expertise to this position that she brings to SDI.

What do you think about this development? Please share this on Facebook and Twitter and let us know!


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America Remembers: How I Got Turned Away From the National D-Day Memorial Events

I thought that arriving half an hour early would give me enough time to park a ways out, and walk in.

People are bad with dates. That’s not just a history buff whining about his favorite event not being properly observed, either. Birthdays, anniversaries, milestones- far too often they are simply missed and either celebrated late or not at all.

As a point of fact, yesterday I had to remind three people, two of which were history teachers, of what today was- it’s the 75th anniversary of -D-Day.

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At that point, I was pretty confident in arriving half an hour before the day’s events at the National D-Day Memorial, and walking in. Heck, maybe I wouldn’t even have to hike.

It occurred to me that this is a massive point of interest for our students, grads, and professional network here at SDI- what’s more, the national D-Day Memorial is actually a little over two hours from my house. That’s a pretty easy way to get folks in touch with a big event. Plus, who is going to be there? A couple of thousand people, max?

So, I started driving. Two hours up, not a huge deal. The trip was uneventful until I got about 3 miles out.

Then things got loud.

I don’t mean that there was a ruckus, I mean that suddenly the backcountry of Southwest Virginia suddenly became boldly, vibrantly alive. Cars were crammed down side alleys, parking lots, and roads shoulders to such an extent that it was causing traffic jams for commuters. Nearly every house had some sort of ornamentation.

Locals wisely parked cars at the mouths of the entrances of their businesses so that tourists could not cram them with  their vehicles, which to me and the thousands of cars suddenly snared in a Manhattan level traffic jam seemed like ungodly dead weights.

I got there half an hour early confident that I could park about half a mile out and walk into the event, but the truth is even though I waited in traffic to get closer for better than an hour, I never got closer than 1 mile of the memorial. When I got that far, I was told that I would have to come back later because they were just too full. Thousands upon thousands of people flooded the area. They were overrun by well-wishers, veterans, and average Americans.

I thought that this country collective memory of one of the bravest national actions would be limited to some enthusiastic locals, and a few hundred milling guests like myself. I have never been so profoundly pleased to feel like an idiot.

It looks like some folks can still remember a few dates, after all.

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SDI Mourns: Paul Jackson, D-Day Vet and Namesake of Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship, Dies

Sonoran Desert Institute lost a pillar of our community this week.

While we remember the bravery and sacrifice of so many on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we also mourn the loss of Operation Overlord participant Master Sergeant Paul Jackson, veteran of World War II and namesake of our very own Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship. He passed away on June 3 at the venerable age of 96. His legacy, which currently includes 57 surviving descendants, remains alive and well.

Paul Jackson served in Bravo Co, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment during WWII. Jackson participated in some of the most well-known military actions of the Second World War, jumping into combat during Operation Overlord and Operation Market Garden and fighting in the Battle of Bastogne, where he was wounded. His story ranges from beekeeping to battling to asking General George Patton himself for a transfer — and getting it.

Jackson was born in 1923 in Funston, Georgia. At the age of 17, he enlisted into the United States Army and trained at Fort Benning, Georgia. After serving for a period of time in Fort Knox, Kentucky, Jackson was transferred over to the west coast after the war broke out to ensure the safety of the region.

Serving at Camp Beale, California didn’t sit well with Jackson. He wanted action, and knew where he could get it — the paratroopers. However, his captain didn’t want him to go — he knew a good noncomissioned officer when he saw one, and denied the transfer.

Naturally, then Staff Sergeant Paul Jackson then got General George S. Patton involved.

During his time at Fort Knox, among his other duties Jackson had served as a fill-in driver for the world-renowned general. He had also built hives and managed bees for the American legend, a skill he picked up in his childhood.

The transfer was granted.

As you might imagine, the captain who had stonewalled him was so upset about the incident that he had Jackson stripped of his rank before he left. Staff Sergeant Jackson became Private Jackson.

Jackson returned to Benning, where he got his jump wings.

Jackson made Corporal before taking part in Operation Overlord and the Battle for Normandy, and by the time the 501st participated in Operation Market Garden Jackson had propelled himself back to staff sergeant. It was during Operation Market Garden that Jackson would participate in one of his most legendary acts as a United States serviceman.

Allied armor came under fire from a rocket emplacement, causing serious issues to the armored group. Having already been wounded moments before by a piece of searing-hot debris, Jackson charged up a hill in which a rocket placement was located, and single-handedly killed all five of the German occupants and neutralized the rockets.

Jackson saved lives that day, and for his heroism he was promoted to master sergeant. Jackson continued to serve until the Battle of Bastogne, in which he was shot three times in the hip joint and was hospitalized until the Germans surrendered. He was honorably discharged, a hero in his own right.

Some time ago, we did a video about Jackson, highlighting just what a special man he was. It’s attached below.

A representative from SDI was present at Jackson’s funeral with a floral arrangement dedicated to his memory. It, and the Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship, are such a small thing we can do to honor a true American hero.

Let’s honor Jackson’s memory together. Please share this on Facebook and Twitter and tag a friend!

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Remembering Memorial Day: Posthumous Medal of Honor Recipient Jared C. Monti

This Memorial Day, we though it an appropriate way to honor the fallen by highlighting a posthumously-awarded Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti.

To quote directly from the United States Army’s Center for Military History:

Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a team leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on June 21, 2006.

According to the United States Army’s Center for Military History, Monti was leading a mission wherein the team was gathering intelligence and directing fire when suddenly the 16-man patrol was attacked by a force estimated to have numbered around 50 soldiers — tripling the patrol’s manpower.

As one might imagine, the team was very quickly faced with the very real possibility of being overrun. Thinking quickly, Staff Sergeant Monti set the patrol in a defensive position behind rock formation, and called for indirect fire support. That fire support would be accurately relayed by Monti to enemy positions as close as 50 meters from his position.

Still relaying information and directing fire, Monti fought the enemy personally, making use of both his rifle and a grenade to break an attempted flanking maneuver on his men’s position.

That’s not even what made him so remembered for his acts that day.

Monti discovered in the midst of this hellacious engagement that one of his soldiers was wounded, lying on the ground in between his patrol’s position and the advancing enemy. That didn’t sit right with him.

Completely ignoring the danger to his own person, Monti made two attempts to recover the wounded soldier without success. He was unphased. Staff Sergeant Jared Monti made a third attempt to get to his wounded comrade directly in the face of relentless fire of the enemy.

He would not survive the third attempt.

Inspired by their staff sergeant’s nearly-mad scramble to leave no one behind, the remaining patrol members rallied and repelled the attack, still a force larger than their own.

Greater love hath no man than this.

Don’t forget, folks: today isn’t a day to celebrate: it’s a day to remember and honor.

Honor the fallen.

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The 5 “W”s (And 1 “H”) of Visiting Your Local Gun Store, Part 2

The local gun store is a sometimes strange, often wondrous place. It’s an amazing way to get your hands on products you might be interested in but can’t normally reach, and often their used inventory is unbeatable in diversity and price.

Recently, we broke down the “Who,” “What,” and “When” of visiting your local gun store. We’re going to finish our list with “Where,” “Why,” and “How” — maybe we can help you with your next trip!

Where- This can be broken down in two ways:

  1. Is this gun store close enough to merit the drive for whatever deal you’re hoping for? It’s the “local” in a local gun store. It’s silly to drive two hours to save 20 bucks — make sure you’re valuing your own time!
  2. Where do you see yourself putting or using this item? If you’re coming to the store for a specific firearm/optic, you’ve hopefully already asked yourself that question. In this context, it’s a great tool to use for those trips where you don’t have a specific purchasing objective. If you’re raiding the used gun inventory for that one piece to take home make sure that piece has a place once you leave the store — that place can be on the range, on your favorite hunting plot, or even in a display case. Just so long as you’re still content once the euphoria of “Ooh, new gun!” wears off.

Why- Perhaps the most important of all of these questions to consider, it’s essential to take a moment and ask yourself “Why am I going to this particular gun store?”

I’m all for supporting local business, but it’s no secret that many online retailers can undercut a lot of prices. Often, they really are the right choice. So, ask yourself — are you looking for expertise? Are you looking for that in-store experience? Do you want a particular product, and just not mind paying a modest markup for immediacy and the local economy? Do you want to see the used inventory that online platforms don’t often have?

You absolutely should support local business when you get the chance — just make sure that you know why you do and what price differential you’re willing to undergo to support your local business, so if you see a major retailer sale three weeks after you made your purchase at a local store you’re still confident in your choice.

How- Last, but not least — how are you going to pay for your purchase? If you’re buying a 50-round pack of ammo, it’s not such an issue, but if you’re buying an $800 rifle, you need to be sure you can — you know — pay for it. If you’re going to bring some kit or a firearm to trade in, make sure you bring everything pertinent to your trade-in with you. Preferably you make your purchase with cash-on-hand, but if you need financing, see if your local gun store does layaway.

As responsibly-armed citizens and sensible shoppers, it’s on us to make smart shopping choices. If you can, use your next time at your local gun store as an opportunity to bring a friend new to firearms into the community!

What do you think? Please share this on Facebook and Twitter and let us know!

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