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It seems to us incomprehensible that Congress would consider the termination of certain categories of quality surplus imports, such, for instance, as Mauser rifles, when they would continue to permit, for instance, the U.S. Government to sell the same type of weapon through the National Rifle Association, and in effect, to continue to permit the manufacturers in the United States to produce the same categories of weapons.
Either we should all be in the same boat, or we should all go our separate ways, but I can't see any justification for the elimination of quality surplus imports.
Overseas, if the entire legitimate purchase market is eliminated, the tendency will be for the surplus weapons to go into clandestine arms channels, such as privately existed before thet large-scale American market developed, to in effect eliminate the illegal trade in the Western World through merely buying up the weapons and selling them on the commercial market here in the United States.
Besides these, you might call them international details, the most severe of the measures pending before this House and the Senate will create endless administrative confusion which we believe will largely be unsolvable except to the total detriment of the firearms industry, new and secondhand, in the United States.
We sincerely hope that these extreme bills will not be passed, and that the sensible measures, such as the pending King bill, will find national support.
If you will permit me, I will submit a series of legislative recommendations which generally coincide with many that have already been submitted to you for the committee's information. I won't read them again, because I want to save the committee's time.
Mr. KING. Mr. Battin?
Mr. Battin. Mr. Cummings, is it possible to import military surplus rifles as scrap to eventual assembly and thereby avoid the rate of tariff !
Mr. CUMMINGS. No. You can only do it, of course, if you file at the U.S.customs; comply with their regulations.
If one wishes to violate the law, one has the power to do anything, but the right does not exist, and to my knowledge, no weapons have ever been imported as scrap.
I have seen allegations to that effect offered by various high Government officials in testimony before this committee, and also in the other House, but I know of no instance where any customs entry of actual weapons was made as scrap.
Mr. BATTIN. In the event there would be a curtailment of importation of military surplus rifles, how would this generally affect the international traffic in arms? I asked the question the other day of a witness concerning the revolutionary movements in the world today.
Mr. CUMMINGS. I am not quite clear on the last sentence. Mr. Battin. Today there are all over the world revolutions taking place.
Mr. CUMMINGS. Yes.
Mr. Battin. These people have to get weapons from some point, so if there was a curtailment of the purchase in this country of surplus military rifles, do you have the belief that these rifles that are now
available to us would end up in the hands of revolutionaries throughout the world?
Mr. CUMMINGS. That is definitely our feeling, and I think the record of the privately backed clandestine movement of arms, let us say prior to a decade ago, when the U.S. market began absorbing this material in big quantities, bears that out.
At the present time there is virtually no private western clandestine arms movement in what we call the Western World. The reason is we think very simply because the source has been eliminated by the purchase for the United States, and to a lesser degree the British Commonwealth commercial market by large importers located in England or the United States.
Mr. Battin. Then one other question. Do you think it practical for the U.S. Treasury to have jurisdiction over import and export licensing, rather than the Office of Munitions Control of the U.S. Department of State?
Mr. CUMMINGS. We think it would be a disaster for the Treasury to have that international control. They have no people for it, no experience with it. The Department itself has nothing to do with international relations of the United States.
How, for instance, would I be able, myself, operating abroad, to walk into the American Embassy, to take an example, in Kabul, Afghanistan, and say, “I want to please control this contract with the Afghanistan Government for the importation of their surplus into the United States?"
Today I can do that. They can get on the wire immediately to the Director of the Office of Munitions Control, and he can give me a policy answer at the most in 24 hours. Can you imagine doing that in the same Embassy, and they say, "Well, I have to refer it to the Treasury," so it would go back by diplomatic bag, and come to the Treasury.
They have no knowledge whatsoever of whether the Afghanistan Army should get rid of their surplus, or not, or that we should bring it to the States.
They would have to refer to the State Department, refer to the Treasury, the NSC, and who knows how many other Feredal agencies, and by the time the matter was resolved, if it ever was, the material would probably be moving into Tibet at the behest of the Communist Chinese, or some other absurd solution, which would hardly benefit our country.
I can't see any possible reason for giving the international control of arms imports to the Treasury Department, none whatsoever.
If it should go to any other Department of the U.S. Government, the logical one is Commerce. At least they have offices in every embassy. But the State Department is the true one, in my view, and with all our experience I can see no other agency that should handle that except the Department of State.
Mr. BATTIN. Thank you. Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Cummings. Mr. CUMMINGS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. King. Particularly for cooperating with the committee, and with the pressure on time.
(The following material was received by the committee:)
LADE WITH ONE IMORTET) MILITARY ACTIOX AXD 16 PARTS MADE IN 7 STATES
Mr. King. The session will now adjourn and convene again at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 1:10 p.m., the committee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 28, 1965.)
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO FIREARMS ACTS
WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 1965
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to notice, in the committee room, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Wilbur D. Mills (chairman of the committee) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please be in order.
Our first witness this morning is our colleage from New York, the author of some of the legislation that the hearing is based on, and We appreciate very much having him with us, the Honorable John M. Murphy.
Mr. Murphy, you are recognized. STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. MURPHY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK Mr. MURPHY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to testify in support of H.R. 6628 and H.R. 6629, two bills which I introduced in this 89th Congress on March 23, 1965. Their purpose, as we all know, is to amend the Federal Firearms Act and to amend the National Firearms Act.
I had introduced in the 1st session of the 88th Congress, on August 20, 1963, H.R. 8176 and reintroduced this measure as H.R 3395 in this 89th Congress on January 25, 1965, and these are measures also dealing with the Federal and the National firearms acts.
The first mentioned bills are companion bills to Senator Dodd's S. 1591 and S. 1592.
I would at this point like to commend Senator Thomas J. Dodd of Connecticut, and his Senate Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency for their intensive, productive efforts in researching, analyzing, and finally recommending some positive steps to combat the growing crime menace in this country. Senator Dodd has stated that he has
conducted hearings covering every section of the country in an attempt to bring before the public the tragedy and imbecility of our failure as a society to civilize the use of firearms.
Senator Dodd went on to say, however, that in terms of legislative accomplishments, the result of his 4-year effort so far has been a lamentable cipher.
At this time I would like to bring to your attention two newspaper articles from my community within the past week, and if you would like to look at these two articles here they are. Both are isolated inci