Hello folks, apologies for not having a coffee break for you to read during your (wait for it): “coffee breaks,” (alright I’ll stop now – no humor you people, good lord).
What a hectic couple of weeks it has been; Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 both came out close to one another, and both offering some excellent gameplay experiences (plus or minus a few items here and/or there). Definitely Titanfall 2 delivered a more worthwhile experience than Battlefield 1; when it came to the singleplayer we know who was the dominant player in this arena. Multiplayer-wise, however, Battlefield 1 is probably where you will want to be as large scale battles are something truly special to behold, and arena-style fighting (ie: Halo and Doom multiplayer) is not as enticing in my books.
Moving along, I have resumed hunting in both WoW and Skyrim (the regular version; my machine cannot support the special edition) and I have to admit that while the task is the same in both games, the way in which it is tackled is totally different. Starting off with Skyrim, you have to creep up to your prey before firing off an arrow to kill it, and noise plays a huge role here as bows tend to make less noise than crossbows (without mods there are no guns). Contrast this to WoW where you simply wander up to a creature and shoot it before skinning and looting, one would think that Skyrim is better for a would-be digital hunter than WoW, and while this analysis is not entirely without base I am more inclined to argue that both offer some reasonable enjoyment.
World of Warcraft hunting includes more than just shooting the animal; cooking the hunted beast is one thing, and skinning the creature to sell off its raw goods is another. The atmosphere in most territories in WoW also adds to the experience as you travel from the Barrens to the forests of the Loch in the Eastern Kingdoms. When it comes to the variety of hunting grounds, Skyrim really only has the plains outside of Whiterun – everywhere else is filled mostly with foxes, wild and aggressive wolves, and giant rats (Skeevers). Sometimes the plains can get a bit boring, and often I find myself hanging around Whiterun for the sake of convenience when it comes to a marketplace to sell my goods. Returning to WoW, I can go from tundra to forest, to icy peaks for my game – the campfire works everywhere and the meat produced is absolutely delicious (I’m guessing based on the recipe names in-game, I can’t actually taste the food cooked).
Moving away from video games here, the US election is just a couple of weeks away here and things are getting quite entertaining. Now I will not go into who is better than who, that is up to you US readers to decide but it is quite laughable to see Hillary and Trump square off everyday on the news as up here in Canada the US election is covered to an extent but only the juicy bits. This got me thinking about whether or not previous US presidents and presidential candidates have squared off like this before, and after doing some digging around it would seem that it was the case. Trash-talking and aggressive campaigning are not something new in American politics, and just because this election was heated does not mean that the previous elections were smooth-sailing affairs – just keep that in mind the next time someone tries to convince you that this is by far the worst/best (depending on who you ask) election in the history of the United States, when that comes up just walk away and go grab yourself some snacks as you ponder who to elect (you will find it most enjoyable than arguing with some random fellow on the street).
The next edition of Call of Duty is coming out on the 4th of November; apparently the developers of Titanfall 2 aren’t entirely worried about having their game being released between the years’ biggest shooters (COD and BF 1), and yet EA has downgraded their stocks for that very reason that they fear their sales volumes will not be as high as initially predicted. Sure I get it, business is business and one must brace for a correction if one is to be had. Yet it seems a bit disappointing that a game like Titanfall 2 which actually turned out to be decent is being – shall we say – “demoted” all because of a perceived chance that the game will not sell as fast as it ought to be. Perhaps the corporate suits in office should set realistic goals for their sales volumes of video games so that they will actually reach them. There was one incident where a developer sold well over several million copies of a title (the Tomb Raider reboot if I recall correctly) and said it was a failure.
Failure; several million copies sold within the initial release months is a failure, what sort of amount where you hoping to sell – a billion? Did you want every human on this earth, whether or not they had a console and or the money to buy the game and television set (remember not all folks living on Earth can afford video games), to get a copy of Tomb Raider starring Lara Croft? Good lord people, this is like hearing of a teenager saying they will grow up to become a superstar singer even though they A. cannot sing, B. cannot play a musical instrument, and C. are terrible with performances on stage and have not made any efforts to improve A or B. The reboot worked out rather well so stop complaining that it only sold several million copies – not like you cannot afford to make another game you mindless (censored for the sake of children).
Season 4 of Rwby is now out on the market (well, slowly being released on a weekly basis); so far I am liking the show. Some time has passed since team Rwby was disbanded following the attack on Beacon academy, and we see our heroes now embark on individual quests of self-discovery, self-improvement, and coping with loss. Rooster Teeth has put out some really well-written stories over the past few years, and here’s hoping season 4 will live up to that reputation (more or less).
Alright folks that about wraps it up for this coffee break; if you enjoyed this piece consider supporting us on Patreon. If you missed the previous article published a link will be provided below – see you next time.
(Spoiler alert: major plot points are discussed here.)
The title may be a bit mild, but I felt a calm approach to the game is useful for this article: just finished the Titanfall 2 campaign, and what a ride it was to enjoy. Returning to the frontier we see the Militia winning the war against the IMC; with a new titan chassis unique to the Militia (the Vanguard class) entering into the arena, and a better organized military movement the Militia seem to hold the upper hand in this war on the frontier. Yet with all that said about the success of the Militia don’t expect the IMC to go away quietly – hiring hardcore (and psychopathic) mercenaries named the Apex Predators the IMC have bolstered their forces with advanced technology and intend on making the Militia pay dearly for every victory they achieve in this war.
Assuming the role of Rifleman Jack Cooper, you are sent straight into the action where you learn first hand the reality of the war against the IMC. Fate intervenes and your mentor (at least what I assume to be your mentor) dies handing his Titan off to you; as a Rifleman you were simply going through an informal training regimen with your mentor who was an experienced pilot – inheriting his machine you march off to fight the IMC on the planet Tython (sorry guys, no force users here) to stop the IMC from deploying a super weapon.
The character design was quite well done this time around; recall back when Titanfall 1 was released and there was barely a story to be had. Fast forward to today and we are treated to one interesting story that at points feels similar to other shooters we have played (go here do this, return here press that) but such is the nature of games these days. Still, I liked the moments when you interact with your titan BT and I enjoyed seeing a return of characters like Sarah and Blisk (now no longer sergeant Blisk, just Kuben Blisk) who, while somewhat there in Titanfall 1, are really well put together in Titanfall 2. Staring with Sarah, she now heads a special division of the Militia named the Marauders who take on difficult missions to bring the fight to the IMC and to disrupt their research and development. Next we have Blisk who seems like he is no longer a top fellow in the IMC, instead reverting to his mercenary roots of getting paid and fighting hard. Blisk is part of an outfit listed earlier titled the Apex Predators, and the mercenary outfit isn’t exactly what you would call top soldier material – many of them are supposed war criminals (great guys to have on your side, aye?). Sadly there is no Bish, but there is Barker; the drunk pilot that you have to fish out of Angel City back in Titanfall 1 – man still drinks a lot but he gets the job done.
The Predators are ruthless in their work, and some of them display levels of unstable minds to an extent. The first fellow you encounter is a recorded narcotics user according to your titan, with the big German-speaking one encountered later in the campaign having an interest in looting corpses for trophies. Blisk himself seems only interested in money (though he is still professional and upholds the contract) as seen near the end where you defeat the last of the Apex Predators and though your titan is damaged and you are trapped inside Blisk ejects out and places a Predator card (what appears to be a card) on your display and proclaims that you have earned it. Shortly thereafter the general of the IMC forces orders Blisk to kill the titan with Blisk replying: “not my problem, you should have put it in my contract: I’ve got other people with money to see,” before wandering off into the distance.
That’s the thing about mercenaries, they will only work for their contract and once it is up forget camaraderie and loyalty – they are only loyal to the contract and once it is completed they are gone. This is portrayed well in Titanfall 2, and I hope to see Blisk return either in DLC which follows their perspective, or in the next Titanfall game if another one is to be made.
Sometimes the missions feel a bit stale, and like Battlefield 1 they can turn into shooting galleries, yet Titanfall 2 delivered a story to us that we were demanding when Titanfall 1 came out – it isn’t a masterpiece, but it is better than some campaigns out there which feel very stale by comparison.
There you have it folks, Titanfall 2’s campaign is a step up from Titanfall 1, and while I miss fighting alongside human players the titan you inherit from your dead mentor is sufficient enough to get you through the campaign before you hit the multiplayer scene. Strap in and prepare for combat – it’s going to be a long war.
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Battlefield 1 is finally here, and while it has delivered that authentic (I use this term loosely, more on that later) world war 1 experience I cannot help but feel that the game – specifically the campaign – was a bit disappointing.
Now I am not going to beat around the bush here, the cutscenes for the campaign are some of the best in the series of Battlefield games; the level of emotion on display here is really intoxicating, and I found myself drawn into the game when I first saw the cutscenes. There was even a point in time where I had a draft ready describing my “emotional experience,” and how I found the campaign to be one of the very best thus far in the Battlefield series next to the Bad Company games. However my honeymoon phase quickly disappeared when I saw Totalbiscuit’s video on this subject, and it really highlighted some key points here that I overlooked completely when I watched the campaign through to the end. Initially I was in disagreement and felt that he had not properly finished the campaign and thus delivered a sub-par first impressions of the campaign. When I first experienced the campaign it was truly something special, but after re-watching the gameplay sequences and analyzing it from his perspective I cannot help but feel similarly cheated by the developers who promised us a meaningful campaign.
Gameplay-wise the campaign is about as generic as any other modern first person shooter; super soldier X goes in solo to take out key positions WITHOUT A TEAM and accomplishes the mission because plot armour. This one segment where you play as the elite Italian infantry the Arditi you are fully encased in plate armour and cannot die; I mean sure if you stood there and did not fight back then thirty minutes or so later you will die, but you are at no point in that mission vulnerable to enemy fire. Then there is the section early on in the game where you are in a Mark V tank fighting for the British; again we see the tank deployed in a way that is contradictory to tactics at the time when the tank was invented. Send in the infantry first, are you mad?!? They built the tank to break the stalemate of trench warfare not use it as a means to give false hope to continue to waste manpower on enemy machine gun positions, come on folks where is the history here?!?
“But Writer, Battlefield was never about singleplayer – multiplayer is where the meat of the game is!” Okay, then can I ask for the game to be around 40.00 instead? No? Well then deliver a proper campaign and you will get your 74.99 or whatever the price is presently on release. When you ask for what is equivalent to a days’ pay to most people for a product you MUST deliver a full product. Sure Overwatch is in the same boat, and I am not giving them a free pass – why is their price point also god-awfully high? Why is it that they also can sell their title at 80.00 a piece when the only features in-game are multiplayer matches; their story arcs aren’t even any good.
When it was announced that Battlefield would take place during the first world war, I thought it was a nice change of pace. Now I never hated Call of Duty so I was not bothered by their Sci-Fi adventure that is coming out this year as well, but it was nice to have two different settings for FPS titles. Make no mistake as to my motivations, I never expected Battlefield to be realistic – realism and authenticity are two separate things, one being exactly a carbon copy of reality, the other being touched up for entertainment purposes. Still I was hoping for the campaign to follow the authentic route, and perhaps take place through the span of the war in which it is set, rather than all in 1918 with the Australian campaign taking place in 1915 in Gallipoli.
Now the atmosphere is good, and it delivers the grim reality of the war (DICE did an excellent job on the cinematic experience with the lighting and visual effects); but then you have sequences like the Arditi missions where you are hip-firing a stationary machine gun and are encased in full steel armour – you might was well call it Battlefield 40k at that point. That space marine mentality is what stuck out to me once it was brought to my attention, and after thoroughly re-watching all gameplay footage I realized that the points made in TB’s video are not unfounded – the game really feels like a shooting gallery when it comes to the campaign. Sure the soldier fantasy is the main attraction point, but right now it feels like a bit of a let down for myself who has been following channels that cover the war on a week-by-week basis (we are exactly 100 years from 1916, so we are in the middle of the war with 2018 being 1918 and the end).
Multiplayer is what will get a player such as myself to invest in a title like Battlefield 1, but until the price drops I will wait out the storm. Sorry guys, but I really wanted my bolt-action combat with hard-hitting close combat; instead we got shooting galleries and a lack of substance to the campaign: the game felt like a World War 2 shooter with a thin coat of World War 1 paint on top. Such a shame that the developers of Republic Commando were unable to influence the games industry to push for more interesting game mechanics like squad tactics and so forth – imagine a world war 1 story where the squad was also a tool for the player to utilize. From coverfire mechanics to planting explosives to helping to man a highjacked heavy artillery piece, squad-based tactics would have made the game all so much more enjoyable. Perhaps in the future my stance might change, but until then I will wait for Titanfall 2 to deliver a better story experience (fingers crossed, aye).
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Thanks for reading folks, and I shall see you next time.
Totalbiscuit’s video on the Battlefield 1 singleplayer:
Hello folks and happy Tuesday to you all out there; today I wanted to touch on Tsawwassen Mills and how it – despite a not-so-smooth opening weekend – can be beneficial to shoppers of a certain geographical area.
Background for you readers outside of the lower mainland; Tsawwassen Mills is a new mega mall built near the Tsawwassen community on the south-western tip of the lower mainland near the ferry terminal. Over the weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend from the 8th of October to the 10th of October) the mall opened and was not well received due to their use of the South Fraser perimeter road which links the rest of the region to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal – the busiest (according to BC Ferries) crossing in the region.
Right from the start you can see how this can be problematic; a mega-mall sharing a major roadway with a ferry terminal. What made it even more disappointing was the fact that during the opening weekend people were stuck in the parking lot attempting to leave for as long as 4 hours – police were called in to help, but even then it was doing little to stem the tide of stuck cars attempting to leave the mall after checking it out. Many visitors went online to vent their rage, and it is not without base – the planners should have designed more than one way in and out of the mall (at least from what I can see on google maps).
Geographically the mall has to rely on the South Fraser Perimeter road as even 52nd Street has to either go south to the SFP, or travel north to some small roads before linking onto the SFP further up, or Deltaport Way which – sadly – also needs to link to the SFP. Now a driver could use Highway 17 which can lead them to Highway 99 of which they can go either east or west depending on where they live in the lower mainland, but the amount of time needed is more than if they had access to the SFP as a means to return home.
Shoppers outside of the Tsawwassen area are looking at a lengthy commute to get to the shops in the area, however the locals on the other hand could reap the benefits of such a massive center so close to home. Yes I know: “but what about their friends around the lower mainland – won’t they miss places like Metrotown and so on?” Tsawwassen to Tsawwassen Mills is 10 minutes; Tsawwassen to Metrotown (another mega-mall in the region) is 41 minutes by car – I would pick the option that lets me get home sooner rather than later (I can always order online if I lived down that far south in the region).
The mall owners probably wanted more customers from across the lower mainland, but considering the situation it is in with regards to road access and a lack of public transit, I suggest they cater to the local shoppers in the area. Folks down there (and near the ferry terminal) could make good use of the facilities present, and this way it will take pressure off malls like Metrotown in Burnaby which already service a chunk of the lower mainland’s population – there are smaller malls around but for the purpose of today’s coffee break read I will concentrate on the mega-malls per se.
Ultimately Tsawwassen Mills could have handled their opening weekend a bit better, but like Black Friday sales crowds will always find something to get frustrated about – after all more people hovering about equals more traffic. Sadly the folks who own the mall are not urban planning experts – they could not predict the congestion that would occur and lack the foresight to better arrange their roads to accommodate the needs of shoppers.
Now before you folks out there throw your cups at the computer monitor, I am writing this as a short examination into the issue surrounding patriotism and young folks – this will be a Canada-specific case study so to speak, so please try to keep that in mind as other nations vary in terms of percentage of patriotic to non-patriotic citizenry.
Earlier today I saw a short report from CBC concerning the young generation (in their 20s to early 30s) and their apparent lack of patriotism. While it was alarming at first, after doing some examination and thinking I have come up with these conclusions:
- 48% responded to the poll as being patriotic – that is not an insubstantial number. 48% of 35.16 million Canadians comes out to be 16.87 million – again not an insubstantial number of Canadians.
- Automatic loyalty is absurd; either the government of the day is not popular, or the populace feels their government has wronged them in some way, shape, or form. Assuming people MUST be loyal is about as misguided as assuming an untrained pack of wild dogs to love humans without ever encountering them in the wilderness.
- I see what you did there CBC; sneaking in a workplace shaming bit about a lack of loyalty to company. Companies outsource, overwork, and underpay their employees – they deserve nothing from the employee, and loyalty must be earned and maintained. Talk about entitlement, aye?
Now I will focus in on the key point of nationalism and the loyalty to one’s country. These days young people can feel alienated by the job market, by society (which shames them for not taking low wage work for long hours and no benefits), and sometimes by their own families who throw them out and leave them destitute. Therefore it can be estimated that those loyal to the country are outnumbered by those disillusioned with the idea that Canada is something they should be loyal towards. A comment from one of the viewers of the video points to this exact bit; young people who lack the connection to Canada feel alienated by the job market (which gives them little opportunities), and feel abandoned by an impersonal government which cares little for the suffering of its citizens. Loyalty must come from two fronts; the citizen and the state.
The state must inspire loyalty among its citizens via methods such as promotion of their military, to shared values, to a shared identity. Presently the citizens of Canada only share two simple items (and even then it varies): hockey and beer. The monarchy (a symbol of Canada’s government) fails to capture the younger generation who feel less attached to this institution as opposed to older members of society, and the government of Canada fails to promote its system of governance to further reinforce its position – they have sat idle while the US and their ever-so-vocal media has creeped into the Canadian domain and planted their ideals which (can be assumed for the purposes of this article) have replaced our own.
Next we look at the military; enrollment among young folks is not as high as back during the world wars, and why would it be at those numbers? Canada hasn’t seen any major engagements since Korea, and even Afghanistan was a limited engagement at best – most of the younger generation weren’t even of age to enlist when the war was going on, and now that the conflict has ended (for us at least) our government has cut funding to the military (both Conservative and Liberal) and left it dangling in the wind. This, of course, has been a historical practice of the government of Canada – looking as far back as during the founding years (1867 and onwards) our military was widely neglected over other government projects at the time. Only when war broke out (and after a year or so of fighting in the first world war) did our government relent and place an emphasis on military spending. Fast-forward to today, and we see the same script played out in our parliament (after the war (both first and second world wars) the government of Canada cut the military budget and shrunk the armed forces to it’s small pre-war size (or near its pre-war size)).
Soldiers in the Canadian Forces regular force receive all the benefits, while part-time reservists get 11.90 per hour (90 dollars per day approximately), and have no dental or medical benefits; why do you think enlistment is down? Coupled with a very inept recruitment system where it takes over a year just to get in for 11.90 an hour (most enlistment goes for the Reserves as regular force is becoming less and less enticing thanks to shrinking opportunities) and you have disillusioned potential recruits who feel that they shouldn’t bother anymore with a system that drags its heels in the dirt.
Militarism is non-existent in Canada; the people of this nation only think of their army, navy, and air force as an afterthought – they clap their hands when soldiers show up to ball games, but apart from that they just do not care about the state of our armed forces. Historically enlistment in the armed forces has been a cornerstone for patriotism; many nations view their armed forces with respect and admiration – seeing sacrifice and teamwork as virtues worth upholding. Yet here in Canada we encourage full individualism, and the military being a collective body of men and women stands contrary to that belief.
Being a soldier isn’t easy, but even then the government could establish militias in each province as a means for young people to express their patriotic values in a meaningful manner (and learn teamwork skills, marksmanship, responsible firearms handling, first aid, land navigation, survival skills and so on). Sadly due to budgetary restraints (and an unwilling parliament) this problem is likely to go on unresolved.
Automatic loyalty is a hallmark of a totalitarian society – in the US the idea of national pride stems from what the country has given (and therefore what the citizen owes) rather than what the citizen owes their nation. Sure it can be viewed as the other way around, but when you look at the reasons why people join the US armed forces or participate in national guard or state militia activities you hear the same reason: “I want to serve my country; I want to give back,” I want to give back. Canada has little push, little motivation for her citizens to give back when they feel they either belong someplace else, or already have loyalties to outside entities (example people who arrive to Canada, gain citizenship, but at the first sign of trouble they pull out their dual-citizenship and hop on a plane to escape). When you take away the abstract militarism that does exist among a small percentage of the population, you are left with nothing that ties people to this nation. Natural beauty? Russia, Norway, US, Australia, New Zealand, and so on all have natural beauties – just look at their tourism sites. Friendliness? Don’t tick off the locals in Dubai and they will be as friendly as you can reasonably expect. Peacefulness? Iceland has no army; better luck next time hanz (I wanted to say that – just let me say hanz rather than: “pal,” or “bud”).
Long story short, Canada still has a percentage of loyal citizens, but to expect automatic loyalty based on birth is absurd. Loyalty is a two-way street, and only back in the early 1900s could a country get away with disenfranchising their citizens (ie: Aboriginals, Blacks, Chinese-Canadians, and so on) and still see their willing participation in the armed forces. Today people have options, and social values have changed (for the better I might add) – if a nation treats you like garbage, you move – just look at South Africa, India, China, and so on. Even citizens in Europe who dislike Europe’s politics move to North America and begin new lives there – being tied to one’s nation is not a reality in this day and age (for some). Yet there is something to be said about loyalty; Canada is home, and like one’s own family, are you not obligated to fight for it when the time comes – are you going to stand idle while foreign nations pillage her and leave the nation to its’ fate?
Earlier I wrote a piece on how you should keep your firearms rather than hand them over to the police as part of the gun amnesty happening between the 1 of October 2016 to the 31 of October 2016 in British Columbia, and I felt it was necessary to repeat that message just in case you readers out there did not catch the previous post.
Apart from the fact that your grandfather’s old Lee Enfield will be melted into a frying pan, you are throwing away a piece of history – I am of course talking about antique firearms and military surplus firearms like Mosin-Nagants, Lee Enfields and so on. Sporterized rifles and so on can still be restored to their original state, and should not be readily cast aside for the sake of convenience.
Folks, a gun license is all you need to hold onto this piece of history, and getting it is simply a weekend course (only a single day if you are only going for non-restricted), and then it’s just some paperwork and then you are finished. History must be preserved here people, and the police do not need another set of firearms to collect – you know you will get that feeling when you throw away history like that. Sure they will send the modern hunting rifles and shotguns to the scrap heap, but the old rifles could potentially wind up in the policeman’s private collection provided he or she has a license as well.
These old rifles must be kept in circulation and must be kept on the market for generations to come – giving them to those who already have enough power over us is reckless and unbecoming of a responsible firearms owner. Keep these old warhorses and do your best to preserve them – your grandchildren will thank you for it.
Right now the police forces of BC are holding an amnesty for unwanted firearms (or illegal firearms) to be turned over to police charge-free per se (meaning you will not go to jail for having one without a license OR it is a prohibited firearm). Now before you throw away your grandfather’s guns let me tell you of ways you could turn that around into something beneficial for someone else and/or yourself.
- Get your own firearms license. With this amnesty, you can hit up a local firearms safety course, get your own license, and keep those firearms in the family (never dishonour your grandparents or parents by giving up a piece of their lives that was meant for you).
- You can sell them to a local store. A lot of local gun shops would be happy to buy up your old firearms, and you can turn them into cash which is a lot better than having a piece of history like the 1914 Lee Enfield melted down into a frying pan or worse, end up in a policeman’s private collection.
- Sell them to a friend who has a license. Again, cash to be made in this scenario; you would never throw out something valuable like jewelry, so why do it with a collection of valuable guns?
Right that is about all I wanted to cover – remember that there are a lot of folks out there who would love a historical rifle from back during the first or second world war. Keep these pieces of history from the scrap heap and sell them to a local shop, or get yourself licensed and learn about them. Gun ownership is a gift, and it should never be squandered like a good meal, or a chance to make amends with your spouse (unless you plan on divorcing them, in that case good luck to you).
Final note, make sure you check the rules surrounding re-sale of a firearm in Canada: even if you have to get your license to do it, depending on the size of the gun collection you can easily recover the money lost in the licensing fees and so on – do things according to the law folks, we don’t want any irresponsible firearms owners making a bad name for the rest of us out there. Plus the gun license is an extra piece of ID to carry around – better than using your passport for simple things like 2 pieces of ID for drinks and so on. Thanks for reading folks, and I shall see you next time.
P.S. Safety first; make sure it is unloaded, and kept hidden away from the public. Make sure it is securely locked, and ALWAYS carry your license around with you whenever you have the firearm with you.
FAQ for Gun Amnesty for Oct 1 – 31 2016.
Gun safety videos.
Secure Storage of Non-restricted Firearms – Canada
Secure storage of Restricted Firearms – Canada
Legal Transportation of Restricted and Non restricted firearms
Authorization to Transport ATT explained