A few days ago, I spotted a headline on Drudge Report that caught my eye. Unfortunately, I was unable to click on it and read before it disappeared thanks to life in general and Drudge’s annoying habit of refreshing itself every five seconds whether I like it or not. Fortunately for me, Me of Lagniappe’s Lair posted the source article in its entirety.
The basic gist of the article is that the Koreans have been storing thousands of M1 Garand and M1 Carbine rifles for decades (since the end of the Korean War really) and would like to get them off their hands. The U.S., being the largest market for such weapons in the entire world and the place from where the Koreans got the guns in the first place, seemed like the obvious choice to get first dibs on the purchase of these very collectible and still fully functional firearms.
Or so one would think if it weren’t for the fact that the current administration is very much opposed to the idea of the private ownership of firearms in general. Even ones that haven’t been in common use since the 1970s at the most recent.
Here is the money quote from the Korean official speaking on condition of anonymity:
“The U.S. insisted that imports of the aging rifles could cause problems such as firearm accidents. It was also worried the weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions,” the official told The Korea Times.
Assuming for the moment that this official is on the level and that was the response received from Washington (of which I have little doubt), let’s take a few minutes to pull the rationale for the refusal apart piece by piece and see it for the load of unadulterated horse turds that it is.
“…aging rifles could cause problems such as firearm accidents.”
First, no self respecting gun dealer I’ve ever run across would knowingly sell a firearm that did not appear to be in good working order. The potential liability would be too great to risk ones business much less risk the thought of having someone injured or killed on ones conscious for a dealer to allow a defective firearm into the hands of an unsuspecting purchaser. Second, even assuming a cavalier dealer with a caveat emptor attitude, no serious collector or firearms enthusiast would shoot a firearm that’s been sitting in storage for DECADES without at least giving it a thorough cleaning, detail stripping and functionality inspection before attempting to fire said weapon. Wiser shooters would take it to a qualified gunsmith to give it a once over.
Are there going to be a few dumb asses who manage to get a hold of one, ignore all good advice to the contrary and manage to get hurt when something goes wrong? Yep. You betcha. Does that happen with modern, brand new out of the box firearms? Yep. You betcha. I’d be willing to bet good money based on my experience handling insurance claims for the past 15 years that 99% of the firearms “accidents” where not the result of any defect in the firearm but, in fact, resulted in a defect of the grey matter between the ears of the idiot/fool/person holding the gun.
I don’t need the government to protect me from a 1% chance of having an accident involving a piece of machinery that, by its very nature, is designed to be dangerous. Thank you very much.
“…weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions.”
Last I checked, the weapon of choice for terrorists, gangs and “other people with bad intentions” was not 60 year M1 Garands. Every piece of stock news footage I’ve seen of terrorists…oh, wait, my bad…I meant to say Islamic Extremists…shows them proudly toting AK-47s or similar weapons. Too bad some of the bullets they are so fond of shooting into the air in celebration don’t fall back down on them and give them a nice little dirt nap.
Ditto for gang bangers. I’ve never once heard of a drive by shooting involving an M1 Garand. Here again, the AK-47 seems to be a popular choice with it high capacity “banana” magazine hanging underneath which allows the Crips and Bloods to hose the whole freaking neighborhood before they have to reload. And, if a drive by shooting is not on the menu, they seem to favor semi auto pistols in 9mm or .40S&W as their preferred “Gat”.
And just what the bleep are “other people with bad intentions”? Mass murderers? Campus shooters? Bank robbers? Any of them ever use an M1? Let’s see here…uh, no, no and oh yeah, no.
Give me a freaking break. The M1 Garand is not the weapon of choice for those intent on committing very bad things. It is completely unsuited to the vast majority nefarious purposes. It is a semi-automatic high powered rifle firing a slightly downgraded 30.06 cartridge; however, it is limited to an 8 shot clip (a true clip that makes a distinctive “ting” sound when it ejects from the rifle after shot number 8) that, by most accounts, is not the easiest thing to reload quickly (unless you’re not too picky about damaging your thumb). It’s got some range and projectile energy going for it, but it’s pretty much limited to iron sights unless you want to use an offset scope that is tricky to zero. That leaves sniping people from a semi-fixed position as about the only “bad intention” for which this rifle would be a good choice.
You can’t exactly stuff one under a coat and stroll into a bank nonchalantly. It’s also a little bulky and short on ammo for drive bys. Terrorists seem to prefer 75 rounds of full auto 7.62mm x 39mm over 8 rounds of semi-auto 30.06 when they are not using IEDs or suicide bombers.
The bottom line is that the only people well and truly interested in this weapon are those gun owners and collectors who want to own and appreciate a small piece of history.
And at the prices they were throwing out in the article, I’d be one of them. In a heartbeat.
Unfortunately, our government fears an armed electorate. So, we’re screwed out of a chance to own one.