An Associated Press article in the Boston Herald says that Vermont gun importer Century International Arms is blaming the White House for its laying off of 41 workers. And that’s because a plan to bring nearly $30 million worth of antique, American-made military rifles home from South Korea was blocked by President Obama’s executive orders.
“This importation was denied despite our explaining that the denial would harm the company and pointing out that there is no rational, gun-control reason to block the importation of these historic, 70-year-old firearms,” the Fairfax company said in a statement posted on its website Thursday.
An email to the White House press office seeking comment was not immediately returned Friday, but a press release from last August said the administration was blocking the re-importation of military firearms as part of two “common-sense executive actions” designed to keep dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands. The decisions were part of a gun violence reduction plan first announced in January 2013.
President Barack Obama’s administration said the policy — with only a few exceptions, such as for museums — is intended to keep “military-grade firearms” off the streets.
Now when the Prez talks about “Military Grade” we’re not talking about full auto M4 carbines, you know those nasty rifles that hold 30 round magazines and supposedly fire really, really fast. We are not even talking about AR-15’s that are not full auto. Either of those weighs in about 6-7 lbs. with an overall length of 33 inches. No we are talking about an antique firearm that weighs in just under 10 lbs. and is almost 44 inches long. Not exactly something that is very portable when planning dastardly deeds. And did I tell you how easy they are to load…NOT! Ask your old military friends what “Garand Thumb” is all about. Many will show you their poor mangled thumbs from having the bolt slam down on them as they load the 8 round clip.
These guns are a piece of history, they are highly sought after by collectors of military memorabilia and those that want to share a piece of that history with their children and grandchildren. They are not what the bad guys select as their weapon of choice.
But Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and Gov. Peter Shumlin had urged the White House to allow the deal to go through, noting the M1 is highly valued by collectors of military memorabilia and the rifle itself would even have been exempted from last year’s proposed assault weapons ban.
Century Arms attorney Brady Toensing said in a statement Friday the deal was a routine transaction and all approvals were in place in February of 2013 until the company discovered the White House had intervened and blocked the deal. The decision was followed in August by the executive action banning the re-importation of military firearms.
“But there is no rational reason to block these firearms from coming back to the United States,” Toensing said. “It is a heavy and cumbersome rifle, but it is highly sought-after by collectors and prized as a collection piece.”
But none of that mattered to this anti-gun administration:
In their May 2013 letter, Leahy and Shumlin said the South Korean government had been given preliminary approval for the deal last year and the departments of State, Defense and Justice had signed off on it.
“This lawful pending retransfer agreement is important to Vermont’s economy and crucial to more than 200 Vermonters who are employed by Century Arms,” the letter said. “Accordingly, we ask your assistance to return the retransfer request to the Department of State without objection so that it may move forward through the importation process.”
The letter said the M1 rifle has not been produced for more than 50 years. Leahy and Shumlin called the M1 a historically valuable and collectible firearm that is provided to citizens through the government-chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program, which provides gun safety and marksmanship training. And the M1 was specifically exempted from a proposed 2013 weapons ban.
In the end President Obama pushed through two of his “common-sense executive actions” and presto chango no M1 Garand’s will be imported. And as usual it’s just too darn bad if a few (41) people lose their jobs, or a company is struggling in a small state that can ill afford the loss. It’s all about making sure that guns stay out of the wrong hands… ours!