By Yvette and Mark Mann
The NFATCA receives quite a lot of questions from members and prospective members about what the organization is doing for the collector and recreational shooter. Many of the comments we hear center on statements such as, “It seems like the NFATCA is geared more toward dealers and manufacturing than the small collector and shooter.” Much of this perception appears to stem from the fact that we are trying to handle big, national issues that we as an organization feel benefit the whole community. A lot of this is on a national level when dealing with pending legislation and ATF interpretation. While it initially appears that our efforts benefit dealers and manufacturers to a large extent, we all benefit; even the collector and shooter.
It is the very simple trickle down theory. While the military, law enforcement and government contracts attract the most attention, the collector and shooter market is large, strong and thriving with customers having the disposable income to help drive the marketplace by demanding the products and services they want. Sales drive production. Manufacturers know that without the end user (the collector/shooter) there is noindustry. That is why they continue to strive to develop new products to keep our interests and be more efficient and innovative. They need dealers to buy it and dealers need the collector and shooter to purchase it. This is the supply chain for all goods and services. If one of these cogs in the system goes out due to legislative action or agency interpretation, it all crumbles.
As an example, one of the issues the NFATCA is fighting is the barrel and receiver ban. This is a federal issue, and if it looks like our efforts benefit the importer and/or manufacturer, then what is the benefit to the collector and shooter? But it doesn’t stop there: follow the supply chain. Imported parts kits, spare barrels, etc., are cheaper. But if the importer cannot get them neither can you. Some parts kits are already in country but it is a classic case of supply and demand with no more to be had. Demand exceeds supply and prices skyrocket out of control. The next thing you know an MG34 or MG42 parts kit is worth almost ten grand, just for a kit! Not that far fetched in the slightly distant future.
Another option is to have the parts made here in the USA. A good plan, but we have labor and material cost issues and when things break and are replaced with US parts, it is no longer original condition. There goes the value of your rare, all original machine gun. So much for that piece of history you so dearly cherish. Of course a third option is not to shoot them… EVER. If you don’t shoot them, then you won’t break them or wear them out and you won’t need any spare parts or barrels. Some collectors like to keep them as safe queens, others like to have a good time and run thousands of rounds through them every chance they get. After all, they are made to shoot, right?
The issues the NFATCA deals with every day affect every one of us on some level. This has been, and continues to be, an organization that looks at what is best for the NFA community as a whole, not on an individual case by case basis. If we maintain this course of action, we can be a far more effective organization and help to preserve this hobby/industry for future generations. Your children and grandchildren may enjoy this hobby with you now, but what is the future for them? The NFATCA is fighting for you by trying to protect our rights whether they be manufacturer, importer, dealer, customer or end user. Please help us preserve that right because as far as the Class 3 world is concerned, no one else will.
Though the NFATCA is young, it has already accomplished things that no one thought was possible. Two years ago, no one could have conceived that an organization such as the NFATCA and ATF would collaborate to produce and publish the NFA Handbook. And there are many more successes on the horizon. This is not a time to become complacent as we are only just beginning. We already know the next two years are potentially dangerous, and if an anti-gun President is elected, we are in for a heap of trouble. Already there has been a lot of testing of the waters for anti-gun bills and we all know that the NFA community is an easy target for compromise. We must stay vigilant and the NFATCA is the only one to watchdog our NFA rights – including the collector and shooter.
The NFATCA continues to push forward on several issues, like publishing the NFA handbook, working on a similar effort with FTB, and solidifying our association with ATF. This is just a small part of what the NFATCA continues to watch over and do. We need everyone in the NFA community to help us work for you. Please contact us at www.nfatca.org for more information.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V10N12 (September 2007)