Thursday, December 18, 2008

Save the Rifles!

I have in my collection an M1873 "trapdoor" Springfield, an M1896 Krag rifle, an M1903 Mark I, and a 1943-vintage M1 "Garand". That makes for an example of each main standard-issue metallic cartridge firearm used by the U.S. military from the first one in the 1870s all the way through the end of the 1950s.

However, thanks to the National Firearms Act of 1934, I am not allowed to own an example of the rifle formally adopted in 1957, at least not without being fingerprinted and paying a $200 transfer tax, because it is capable of firing more than one round with a single pull of the trigger, which makes it a "machine gun" in the eyes of the law.

Well, no problem, right? Just have the military alter the ones it decommissions so that they are no longer capable of firing in a fully-automatic mode, and then shooters will be able to add these historic Cold War longarms to their collections. Except that the BATFE's current interpretation of the law is "once a machine gun, always a machine gun"; they will not let one of these "machine guns" fall into civilian hands unless its receiver had been destroyed in a very specific manner with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch.

Not everyone is happy about the current state of affairs, of course, and although it's probably so much spitting in the wind, there's a petition.


Anonymous said...

I think that would be great, however as I understand it there is a shortage of M14’s for use in the sand box now and because of this the DOD is procuring semi-autos (M1A’s) from Smith Enterprises to fill the demand.


Old NFO said...

Probably so, but still worth the effort. Current build M-14s are being done right down the road from you at Crane...

Rabbit said...

I'd be surprised if there were many left after the torches ran rampant during the Clinton administration. I've not found any data on the numbers left in inventory, but I'd speculate it's not many, and that Crane has (or had) most of them, rehabbing them for DM duty.

At this stage, I'd say that every one (left) that can be put into firing condition will have a home with the .mil, just out of my suspicion that the numbers are that few. It wouldn't surprise me if they were pulled from the Navy stores for land combat duty.


Anonymous said...

Yes, they are MGs.

Have the ODCMP fill out and sign tax-free Form 5s and transfer them to the public as transferable MGs.

End of problem.

I'll bet there are a lot of old collectable MGs in the DoD's arsenals ... all those M-3 grease guns, fer'instance.

Arcadia Iris said...

My Yankee was never even in the same room with a gun until he joined the Marine Corps. (Not unless it was some thug's handgun and it was out of sight, anyway. From what he tells me, gun control is a big success in the part of New Jersey he grew up in... good people don't have guns, bad people do. And the good people stay inside and mind their own business because the bad people roam the streets at night.) He learned that he enjoys shooting, and he has a fondness for the M16. He's fairly oblivious when it comes to how the law views firearms, though (I'm working hard to correct this!), and you should have seen the expression on his face when I read your post to him and he heard what makes the government consider something a "machine gun".

It's just disturbing when a Marine comes that close to tears.

Frank W. James said...

Some years ago I visited Crane and the Dick Brown Naval Weapons
Depot. I don't think ANYONE has any idea of the weapons stored in those endless bunkers and quonset huts located at Crane. It wouldn't surprise me if they had brand new Thompson's or 1903's stashed away in some of them. I was told that with tall weeds growing in front of them were full, but nobody knew with WHAT?

I do know they have cut up brand new M-4's because someone high up declared them "surplus" and not to be sold or transferred (except to law enforcement) because I talked to an officer at the academy in Plainfield who went down and signed and picked 4 or 5 M-4 'uppers' for his department.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Anonymous said...

Ah, our government. Ain't it nice having Somebody Who Knows Better Than You running your life for you?

/ sarc

I'm just trying to imagine some gangbangers shooting it out with M-14's or BAR's...

Anonymous said...

Ok, there are no "surplus" M-14's!

You have to remember that Clinton either had most of them destroyed or given away as military aid to Esonia and other ex-Eastern Bloc countries back in the 90's.

That was before the War on Terror and who would have thought we'd need them?

Now, there is a demand for M-14's to be rebuilt into DMR's, and every available rifle is needed. Some are rebuilt and others are being stripped for parts to support the ones that are in service.

Remember, the M-14 has not been standard issue for over 40 years. There are effectively NO parts in the supply system, which is they have to canabilize rifles to keep other rifles operational.

The govt even suspended the program that offered M-14's to civilian law enforcement agencies due to the shortage of M-14's.

So, there are no surplus M-14's because the military needs the ones we have! They aren't "surplus to needs," they are being used, and don't expect many to be left when this is all over.

Anonymous said...

I carried an M-14 in ROTC. Ya, I'm that old. Never fired it in full auto. The selector switch had been replaced with a "keeper nut." That's a piece of hardware that "keeps" you from going auto unless you have a special wrench. And SMG Higa was NOT going to give you that wrench. I have a Springfield M1A and quite happy with it. It was a gift from my wife. She gives gifts measured in caliber. I give gifts measured in carat. It’s a perfect relationship.