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own test programs. Interarmco's foreign military rifles and military handguns are accepted by NRA for such advertising, and the NRA itself sells identical products provided by the U.S. Government. Most of the rejected advertising are the cheap caliber .22 handguns, some made in the United States, which plague the industry as well as law enforcement in the United States. We do not handle them, and we have never handled them.
Less than 20 percent of the surplus military imports are handguns. Most of these are high quality weapons manufactured to military specifications such as the German Luger and bring retail prices of from $35 to $80. We recognize that handguns, being concealable, are inherently susceptible to illegal use. Whatever controls are legislated for domestic handguns should be applied to the imports. No justification appears for discriminating against weapons on the basis of country of origin. If foreign military handguns are a frequent mail-order item, we hope that appropriate mail-order restrictions will reduce their availability to juveniles and criminals.
Imported surplus firearms have been controversial in the domestic gun industry. Despite fears of competition, the large volume of relatively low-cost high-quality weapons have had a very favorable market impact. There is a growing recognition that the impact has been useful in bringing new adherents to the sport of hunting and to the hobbyist. Hundreds of small businesses have grown because of these imports and the market they have developed in accessories and ammunition and parts. Many thousands of dealers have on various occasions expressed to the Government and Congress their interest in this source of a highly marketable quality product. This may seem logically irre. levant to S. 1592 because a crime bill is no place to reconcile the 10-year-old controversy between six gun manufacturers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, and the smaller manufacturers of parts and accessories and the. dealers throughout the Nation. But it is pertinent to the background of S. 1592. We think it likely that section 3(e) has been included in the bill because of the administration's mistaken notion that it might split the oppositon to gun control legislation and ease the passage of this bill. In fact it has reopened old sores between the larger manufacturers and the small business element of the gun industry. Our evidence for suggesting that embargoes will not help the bill goes back to the floor vote in the House on the so-called Morano amendment in 1958 which demonstrated overwhelmingly that interest in these imports is widespread and well represented in Congress. So far, those potentially interested in the imports are largely unaware of section 3(e). We, ourselves, have not, as yet, brought it to their attention, despite voluminous customer inquiries which we intend to answer once we know what is recommended by the appropriate committees. We are confident that this subcommittee will not be diverted by gun industry politics from its constructive efforts to get at the crime problem in a realistic and effective manner. Mr. E. C. Hadley, the president of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, posed the manufacturers' dilemma when testifying before this commitee on June 4, 1965, that, “As early as 1958 the sporting arms industry sought to obtain a ban or restriction on trade and national defense grounds.” The temptation to use a crime bill for protection has been too much to be resisted. The Congress and the executive branch have repeatedly rejected the many petitions by the New England manufacturers for an embargo on imports, and this bill is no place to try again.
The language of section 3(e) of the bill seems to require Congress to find that surplus has not been serving the recreation market, a finding which cannot be supported by even the most superficial look at the facts. Section 3(e) provides three separate and alternative grounds for the Secretary of the Treasury to embargo imports: (1) they are not suitable for sport; (2) they are military surplus; or (3) they are contrary to the public interest. It is not clear whether or why the proponents feel that there are firearms imported which are "particularly suitable for lawful sporting purposes” and not "contrary to the public interest,” which should nonetheless be embargoed simply because they are surplus military items. Either there are other unstated justifications or Congress is being asked to make a finding of fact with the force of law that surplus rifles are not suitable for sporting purposes and are contrary to the public interest because they are weapons particularly likely to be used in crime. I believe it would undermine confidence in the legislative process to enact such a finding on the record of the hearings in either House to date.
The problem is not really the source of manufacture. If there is a problem, it is cheapness and availability to anonymous buyers through mail order. It is difficult to legislate against cheapness because of the unhappy precedent it would set. Should we outlaw the sale of used cars under $200 to protect the teenager from this lethal instrument? To legislate against cheapness, which this bill purports to do, would appear to require equal treatment of the vast second-hand mraket of American-made handguns, .22 caliber rifles, shotguns and centerfire rifles, including those sold by the U.S. Government itself through the NRA. Should the new single-shot .22 caliber rifle retailing at $15 or $20 be taken off the market? Should an American-manufactured .22 caliber handgun selling at $20 and firing a hollow-nosed bullet, outlawed for its brutality by the laws of warfare, be taken off the market or is it enough to apply mail-order restrictions? Why is the answer different if it is made abroad? Cheaper? Lower quality? How does the Secretary of the Treasury decide how cheap is bad and how to measure quality? We don't know the answer to these difficult problems and so far the administration admits by silence that it doesn't either.
We urge that this subcommittee not make the mistake of the administration in assuming that the sacrifice of imported military rifles will help passage of a gun control bill. The owners of the 2 million-odd foreign military rifles would rather be the judge of which rifles are suitable for sport than the Secretary of the Treasury. They have no idea yet of the objectives of section 3(e); the NRA and other information sheets have evaded any analysis of section 3(e). The tens of thousands of dealers who have found the trade in these weapons stimulating to the growth of their business do not see themselves as exploiting youth and encouraging crime. The hundreds of small manufacturers and gunsmiths which serve the large market in barrels, stocks, sights, ammunition, spare parts, and other accessories do not think of themselves as engaged in a marginal business to be sacrificed. These groups, the grassroots of the gun industry and gun hobby, have, on several occasions, demonstrated, when alerted, that they care enough about the import question to express vigorously their indignation at any proposal that the Federal Government, responding to a few large firearms manufacturers, decide what they can buy and sell. Constructive firearms legislation needs no new opposition; it has enough problems. To cut off surplus imports on the mistaken notion that the representatives of manufacturers and associations who have showed up in Washington to speak on this bill are, in fact, representing the grassroots of the gun industry and the gun hobbyists, would be to ignore recent history. It is noteworthy that the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the closest to broad representation, testified last week on the House side against the logic of a surplus embargo in the name of crime, a position it had not yet developed when before this subcommittee.
The Commissioner of Internal Revenue has referred to the "senseless flow of military weapons." It is not senseless for Americans to have the opportunity to buy what they want, with their own money, to serve their strictly private recreational purposes. It is not properly within the province of the Department of Justice or the Department of the Treasury to decide whether it is sense. less or not for the country-bred man, who likes to hunt as his father did before him, to buy an imported German Mauser military rifle at one of the many thou. sands of local stores carrying foreign surplus weapons. He discovers, because he knows guns, that this Mauser, made several decades ago to military specifications, has a finer action than any American-made gun in the store. He sees that the price of $35 compared to a new rifle saves him about $100 which he sorely needs at home. So he buys the gun and discovers in the hunting field that it shoots straight and has safety qualities equal to or exceeding avail. able bolt action new production sporting rifles. I respectfully suggest that this man's problem is not understood by the highly placed and busy Government officials who are not likely to have this experience being so much at their Washington desks. I think you know better than I that there are many Americans concerned that these hard pressed Federal officials may become so bent on protecting their wards from events which make up disturbing statistics that they overlook the task of protecting the sense of independence and self-reliance in our citizenry which cannot be measured by statistics.
Americans may like guns because they are reminiscent of the smell of outdoors, military heroism, the intensity of the hunt or merely because they are
fascinated by the finely machined metal parts. Maybe the origin of a gun speaks of history; maybe the gun makes a man's home seem to him less vulnerable; maybe these feelings are more justified in the country than in the city ; but, above all, many of us believe that these feelings are a man's own business and need not be judged by the Department of the Treasury or the Department of Justice.
We believe that this subcommittee has an opportunity to strip the emotional fervor from the opposing views on the bill and develop a better public understanding of the gun problem in America. The result would be good legislation, hammered out by careful thought rather than by exploiting the hysteria generated by crime publicity and the genuine concern about personal safety of those living in crime-infested parts of cities.
For 12 years, we have run a tight and honest business which has brought many hundreds of thousands of new adherents to outdoor sports. Partly because of business competition and partly because of the bad name developed by the fringe trade in surplus weapons, we have found ourselves under constant direct and indirect attack in the press, in Congress and, sometimes, in the attitudes of Federal officials who closely regulate our business and are naturally sensitive to Congress and the press. It has been our policy and constant practice to bend over backward, not only in living within the law, but also in contributing our time, effort, and business data to the law enforcement and national security agencies of government in this country. We do not trade between foreign countries without establishing that it is consistent with State Department policy, even though State only regulates us when we import or export. We provide information available to us in our international business to those carrying out our foreign policy and to those responsible for internal security.
We want to see improvement and clarification in firearms legislation, both at the Federal and local levels. But, as our laws do not permit our Government to classify Americans as “good” or "bad"; it is novel and unwise to classify guns as "good" or "bad," on the basis of military use or foreignness rather than concealability or operating features. To discriminate against one class of centerfire rifles and outlaw it makes no sense as a means to control crime and is a bad precedent as a means to control domestic and international commerce.
In conclusion, we offer for the record several factual backup memorandums which contain information we believe to be important to your record. The first, "Origin of Military Surplus" includes data on Soviet bloc surplus imports. Second, entitled “Firearms Import Statistics" gives 5 years of official firearms import statistics. Third, is a comment on the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute politics and identification of 11 maneuvers since 1957 to embargo military rifle imports. Fourth, "The Small Business Market" covers the surplus rifles market, showing the business generated by these imports.
ORIGIN OF MILITARY SURPLUS
The military surplus firearms imported to the United States have their origin in any number of Western countries, both in Europe and South America. The importation of such weapons to the United States contributes actually to the overall world peace and security, inasmuch as these weapons are thus taken off the world market, and instead of providing a possible source for the illegal arms trade, they are channeled into the legitimate trade circles of the United States, winding up in the hands of hunters, shooters, and collectors. This has been established beyond a doubt many times before, but never better than when Mr. R. L. O'Connor, Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consul Affairs of the Department of State, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 25, 1958, as follows:
“I am frank to say that when there are questions of surplus arms cropping up abroad, which another area is bidding for, it may very often be the better part of valor and indeed the best part of our foreign relations to have them imported into this country rather than float around.”
In addition, the obsolete weapons imported serve as payment for new, modern small arms needed by the various countries for defense against the East. Inas
much as all such transactions take place in Western countries (South America and Europe), it is one more contribution to the common defense effort without costing anything to the American taxpayer.
It has been alleged the United States is being inundated with military surplus weapons from behind the Iron Curtain. The testimony of Mr. Robert N. Margrave, Director of the Office of Munitions Control of the Department of State, would indicate that it is impossible to import any firearms from the East Bloc and that most thorough investigations are conducted by the U.S. Embassy's staff abroad to establish the bona fides of each transaction before an import license is granted to the importer.
We find that only two Russian rifles are involved; one the model 1891 Nagant, and the other the Tokarev. Both these weapons were imported from Finland under State Department licenses No. 794 dated February 23, 1960, No. 1040 dated March 4, 1960, and No. 3451 dated October 11, 1961, and were captured by the Finns in their heroic resistance against the Russians in 1939-40. These rifles are clearly marked with the Finnish Army abbreviation "SA" meaning "Suomi Armi." Many, if not all, of the Russian M1891 rifles imported by us were actually made under contract for the czar in World War I by Remington and Westinghouse respectively.
The Finnish Government has sold these weapons in an effort to obtain cash and thus strengthen their economy which, due to the closeness of the Soviet menace, suffers greatly from a drain caused by military requirements. By purchasing these weapons and importing them to the United States, we have, in a small way, contributed to the strengthening of the defense against the Eastern Bloc, and we have done so at no cost whatsoever to the taxpayer-strictly by private initiative.
FIREARMS IMPORT STATISTICS
Enclosed figures, "U.S. Imports of Merchandise for Consumption-Commodity by Country of Origin," FT-110 and FT-125, 1960-1964 inclusive, obtained from room 3040 of the Bureau of Census, Department of Commerce, indicate that the total quantity of firearms actually imported during the calendar years 1963 and 1964 amounts to 1,134,845 units, less than one-half of the figure mentioned in previous testimony; a total of 476,318 hand guns, and 658,527 rifles and shotguns of all types, calibers, and price ranges. The total quantity of military surplus rifles actually imported during calendar 1963 and 1964 amounts to only 249,923 units.
The enclosed official figures also point up the significant fact that the importation of military surplus rifles has suffered a steady decrease ever since 1960: from 314,887 units imported in that year to 93,859 units imported during calendar 1964, thus indicating the institutional position imported military rifles have assumed in the market.
We can only speculate as to the reason for the discrepancy between the Department of Commerce figures and the ones mentioned by other witnesses, but would like to point out that figures obtained from the Office of Munitions Control of the Department of State, based on import licenses issued, would be misleading because the material covered by a license may also appear on a second license, or because it may never enter the United States. An import license is valid for 6 months only. Many times the packing and shipping of the material takes longer than that. Licenses cannot be renewed but an entirely new license is issued, thus resulting very frequently in two licenses being issued for the same lot of weapons during any one calendar year. In addition, many rifles imported by Interarmco are subsequently re-exported under a Department of State export license, thus never entering the U.S. economy.
504 17, 960
Rifles under $5:
11,920 88, 448 15, 708
3,873 4, 751 8,195 75, 979 26, 461
Total firearms: 1960-64.
2,842, 541 1963-64.
1, 134, 845 Source: The U.S. Department of Commerce-Bureau of Census reports titled: “U.S. Imports of Merchandise for Consumption-Commodity by Country of Origin."
SPORTING ARMS & AMMUNITION MANUFACTURERS INSTITUTE
Mr. E. C. Hadley, the president of the Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, a trade organization composed primarily of the New England manufacturers such as Winchester and Remington, made a statement before Senator Doda's Subcommittee for Juvenile Delinquency on June 4, 1967, testifying on S. 1592. Talking specifically on surplus military weapons, he said as follows: “As early as 1958 the sporting arms industry sought to obtain a ban or restriction on trade and national defense grounds." (Emphasis ours.)
It is interesting to note that Mr. Hadley himself admits that the Sporting Arms & Manufacturers Institute endeavors to embargo importation of military surplus rifles were based on "trade and national defense grounds” and not on any grounds of crime prevention. Inasmuch as crime prevention is the purpose of S. 1582 now before Congress, Mr. Hadley's reasons of “trade and national defense” do not have any place here whatsoever.
Just to set the record straight, between 1957 and 1964 the New England manufacturers have been responsible, directly or indirectly, for 11 separate attempts before the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government to eliminate the importation of military surplus rifles (see detailed schedule enclosed). They have been rejected every time for lack of merit.
Further on, Mr. Hadley states, and I quote: "We wish to make it clear that we did not then and do not now oppose the importation of quality sporting firearms of new manufacture."