By Dan Shea
Innovation is alive and well again in the small arms community. This may seem obvious to many of us, but we had years of stagnation in the private sector due to the recently sunsetted “Assault Weapons Ban”. We have seen the Dillons, the Knights, DSA, and many other manufacturers working hard on military designs and contracts as well as trying to offer new products to the public. We have seen HK, FN, and others presenting us with new weapon systems to take over the position held by the venerable old M16 series of rifles.
Today, there is a veritable smorgasbord of new products for the military/LE user, as well as for the shooting enthusiast. New caliber conversions, new models built onto old registered receivers, numerous and innovative new accessories, as well as new semi automatic firearms that solve problems users have experienced. It almost feels like we are coming out of the Dark Ages of Clintonism.
This is a very healthy thing for our country. The designers and innovators in small arms have always forged ahead, built a new path for others to follow. It wasn’t just Eli Whitney and his cotton gins that drove the Industrial Revolution, which lit the fires in the US economic engine. It was the firearms community. It was Whitney’s interchangeable parts for muskets, it was Colt and Winchester, then Browning and Maxim that were responsible for much of the industrial impetus.
Every day we at SAR are privileged to speak with the inventors and risk takers. We try to bring their stories and products to you, the reader. It may not be a full-tilt Renaissance without a return to Pre-1986 laws on machine guns, but we sure have a lot of innovation going on out there, and that is always a “good thing.”
The Veterans Amnesty is hopefully in the offing – a bill to allow the registration as fully transferable those weapons that are bona fide veteran bring-backs. The gist of it is that the veterans who served, and their families, should not be robbed of their war trophies or placed in unknowing legal jeopardy because of restrictions placed in the 1968 and 1986 laws. Their service to this country warrants consideration. In a nutshell, bona fide weapons brought back before 1968 by provable US military veterans would be allowed to be registered by the veteran or their lawful heirs. The wording still needs to be worked out, but rest assured that there will be strict guidelines if this bill passes. I do not see this possible event flooding the market with new MG42s, MP44s, etc, and certainly not many M16s or AK47s and no HKs; but I do think a significant number of people will no longer be at risk of prosecution by the US Government for illegal possession of the trophies that were brought home as part of the service and sacrifice to keep us all free. The NFATCA is involved in this project, as well as many other firearms related organizations, and we will bring you some updates as the bill gets closer and needs your support.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V8N12 (September 2005)|