A Little History

I’ve long suspected (“suspected” as in I hadn’t set out to prove it, though I knew for sure anyway) that many of our gun restriction laws were vigorously supported by the gun industry.  It’s the only explanation for some of the import restrictions, and it makes sense to explain licensing requirements for manufacturers– protection for the established companies against cheap imports and upstart competitors, respectively.  This motivated American companies, and even the NRA, to get into bed with the anti-rights movement.  Add to that the government’s multi million dollar contracts potentially held over company’s heads, and you have an extremely powerful influence against liberty.  I bring this up because this sort of thing has been going on all throughout our society for, well, essentially forever.

Researching an answer for a customer, which is something I spend a lot of my time doing, I came across this (emphasis mine);

“The patent on the M1 carbine was owned by Western Cartridge Co. and David “Carbine” Williams, and still in effect when Penney and Arnold wanted to begin manufacturing M1 carbines in 1958. Penney and Arnold contacted Winchester-Western and offered them a percentage per carbine manufactured, in return for permission to manufacture the M1 carbine. John Olin, owner of Winchester-Western, refused. Olin, Winchester-Western, and more than a few other American manufacturers were opposed to all of the surplus weapons being returned to the United States, where they were being sold at prices the manufacturers couldn’t compete with. This opposition eventually led the manufacturers and the National Rifle Association to support the Gun Control Act of 1968, which, amongst many other things, prohibited the importation of U.S. military surplus.

The capitalist in me, which comprises my entire being, says; “Why didn’t Winchester and other manufacturers buy up all the cheap imports, then, or at least strike a deal with the new company?”  But some obvious questions often go unanswered, or un-asked.

Point being; a huge number of the vast mountain of restrictions and barriers to entry into the marketplace we have now, started with a politician getting into bed with someone in business, and working out a deal.

What to do about it?  First be aware of it.  Then understand that our government was set up, partly, to avoid this sort of thing.  Hence I lay the majority of the blame on the corrupt operators in our government.  There will always be one person willing to sell out his country for money, but government is specifically charged with protecting liberty.  Tar and feathers, anyone?  And be aware of what your favorite advocacy group is really doing before you give them money.

10 thoughts on “A Little History

  1. Joe, this kind of thing is precisely why I don’t consider myself a “capitalist.” I prefer the term “free marketer.” The word Capitalism is tainted by wealthy business people or “trade associations” using their political clout to stifle competition. In their own way they are as bad as unions.

  2. Lyle, you don’t pull your punches often, but you did here. Am I correct that you put in “your favorite advocacy group” in place of the actual organization, the National Rifle Association?

  3. This is quite common. Mandatory auto/home/health insurance is another example. Every government/corporation wants a steady stream of cash and the best way to do this is to have the government/corporation require it using the legal process or some other form of coercion. They are just slightly more civilized about it than the crime families.

  4. Hank; Government collusion with business to creat special circumstances is anything but capitalism. Fascism is a better description. I use “capitalism” in its proper form, and no one should be embarrassed to do the same.

    Rivrdog; I used “advocacy group” because this can apply to any advocacy– not just marksmanship skills or gun rights and not just the NRA. The NRA was already specifically mentioned in the quote, therefore doing so would have been redundant on my part.

    The only advocacy groups we need are those that consistently adsvocate liberty. The teaparty is probably the closest thing to that, but its real effects remain to be seen.

  5. Try the 2AF, GOA and JPFO as REAL advocacy groups. The NRA and the various pro-hunting groups, not so much. Advocating for the Second means ignoring hunting, which was not mentioned in and can’t be inferred from the Second Amendment. Nor was gun competition mentioned, so all the competition groups are not advocating for the Second, either. Having followed the NRA since I was 14 (53 years), with membership most of those years, I observe that MAYBE 30% of the NRA’s efforts involve advocating for the Second. The rest involve boosting the gun industry, keeping up with competition/instruction, keeping up with hunting. Hunting Rights are a big deal to some, but they have very little to do with the Second.

    The Second is about the Civil Right of Keeping and Bearing Arms, nothing more and nothing less.

  6. Rivrdog; The NRA was started after the War Between the States, by two Civil War commanders, one being from the North and one from the South. They were disgusted with the level of marksmanship among the general population and wanted to improve it for national security reasons. That was the original impetus, and that remains the focus of the NRA today. That’s the purpose of the competitions and I approve wholeheartedly. The NRA’s political lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (NRA ILA) came much later, after the second amendment came under general attack by forces within.

    The NRA has committed grave sins in the past, for sure. For that reason, I hereby call for them to strive vigorously for elimination of GCA ’68 in its entirety, by way of making amends. Then we can go after the NFA. When that’s done, the ILA will have served its purpose. It can be dissolved and the NRA can focus on what it does best, which is training, range development and underwriting, and sharpening of skills through competition and other shooting events.

  7. And let’s not forget Bill Ruger’s comment that a gentleman doesn’t need more than 10 rounds in his magazine, said in relation to the Assault Weapons Bill of 1994 (sunsetted unless the commie state passed its own AWB as Commifornia did).

  8. There is a good discussion of the 1968 GCA and the firearms industry’s involvement in the book “Deadly Business: Sam Cummings, Interarms and the Arms Trade” by Patrick Brogran and Albert Zarca.

    The author’s discuss how SAAMI (not the NRA) lobbied for the provisions to ban import of mil surp weapons in order to protect the American firearms manufactuers. It makes sense, in a way. Who would buy a $100 Winchester Model 70 when $20 Mausers were available.

    The book is out of print, but I found a copy through Amazon. It’s worth a read for this and many other reasons.

  9. Hank, I understand where you are coming from. While Lyle is correct in saying that “fascism” is also an appropriate term for this type of government, I tend to have sympathies against the word “capitalist” myself. It is an epithet, created my Karl Marx, to mock our system–he is basically claiming that our system is “Rule by Capital”–and to the extent that those who own capital can have their way, Marx is sort-of right. (At one time, for example, if you wanted to vote, you had to own land.)

    But “Rule by Capital” isn’t what made us great–what made us great is the fact that we are captains of our destiny, and, properly speaking, our system (used to) get out of the way of that. When people are free to do as they see fit, wonderful things happen: the poor pull themselves out of poverty, and the rich provide services to the poor that they otherwise wouldn’t have, by competitively pulling down prices.

    I had a difficult time coming up with a term that describes the essence of this system, but I received a flash of insight as I was reading a comment about “Communism” and “Socialism”–I then realized that the opposite of the Commune or of Society is the Individual–so we have a system of government called “Individualism”. This term, more than any other, captures the essence of what makes our political and economic systems great, to the extent that we live up to this ideal.

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