Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
The Obama-run Washington bureaucracy has classified a common and reliable rifle, the M1 Garand, as a “threat to public safety in the U.S.,” and the State Department has canceled plans by the Republic of Korea to return tens of thousands of surplus rifles to the U.S. for sale in the consumer market.
The stunning classification of an ordinary gun that was used in the U.S. military for two decades and issued to thousands of soldiers and Marines during World War II and Korea as a threat came in a document by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“If I read this right, what they’re saying is, every gun poses a threat to public safety in the U.S.,” he wrote. “This is the same rationale used in model-specific ‘assault weapons’ bans – the type of gun is somehow deemed relevant, even though untold numbers of such firearms are already peaceably owned in this country, and even though no supporting evidence for this conclusion exists beyond agenda-promoting speculation.”
A source who sought confidentiality because of his current status in the industry told WND that the document posted by Codrea is at least an accurate draft, if not the final version, of the document assembled by the ATF.
According to the document itself, it came about because of this scenario: The State Department in May 2009 approved a “request by the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to transfer 87,310 M1 Garand rifles and 770,160 M1 carbine rifles to U.S. private entities for subsequent commercial resale in the United States.”
But the ATF contacted the State Department and argued the stock of rifles “poses a threat to public safety in the U.S.” As a result, the State Department reversed its decision.
The transfer of such weapons would raise the number of guns available and, therefore, lower the price, making them more generally available, the agency found.
Tracking ability sought
“They may be legitimately sold, trafficked or otherwise transferred. The only controls are the ones in the [Gun Control Act of 1968] and, while these controls require federal firearms licensees to keep certain records and place some restrictions on their firearms sales, such as requiring a background check and limiting interstate shipments to licensees, very few records are required to be provided to ATF and ATF is specifically prohibited from maintaining any form of a firearm registry,” the argument said.
The ATF also expressed concern that anyone who can purchase seven separate parts for the gun and install them correctly – or those individuals who can machine their own steel parts for guns – probably could convert the carbine into a machine gun.
The Garand, once praised by Gen. George S. Patton, arrived as a service rifle in the military in 1936 and was issued routinely until 1957, when it was replaced.
The gun expert who acted as a source for WND said the implications of the case are significant for several reasons. One is that a “5-year-old” could figure out that if the government classifies one type of rifle as a “threat,” there could be similar designations for other kinds of firearms.
Further, he said a team of ATF managers actually took the initiative in writing the agency’s condemnation of the Garand. He noted the agency from 2003-2009 traced an estimated 1.8 million guns for various reasons.
But of those, only some 1,900 were Garands.
“It’s a very select core of old-school ATF narcissists who have just become too powerful and too arrogant,” the source reported.
Officials with the ATF declined to comment to WND, but a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State explained that the permission had been granted for the rifles to be shipped to the U.S., then it was rescinded.
The decision, explained Karl Duckworth, was prompted because of “concerns that such large numbers” of weapons would be brought into the U.S. and they could be “exploited for illicit purposes.”
However, he said he could not elaborate on just exactly who expressed the concerns.
Codrea told WND the classification was a “beachhead” for gun control. The WND source said it was just a symptom of the larger problems at the BATFE, citing a CleanupATF website that describes the work of “returning integrity, accountability and decency to the management of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive.”
The site explains that there have been some 400 employee complaints in the agency in just the last two years.
According to Codrea, “This is the grave threat to the republic? This is nothing less than legislation by unaccountable bureaucrats with an agenda that has nothing to do with legitimate delegated authority.”
“A U.N. resolution adopted in October calls upon member nations to negotiate the matter and finish writing a [gun control] treaty by 2012. The United States voted for the resolution, which was adopted almost unanimously,” he said in a commentary. “President Bush, for all his mistakes and miscalculations, never allowed his U.N. representatives to participate in such negotiations. But Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reversed course and agreed to join the negotiations.”
He said it is such treaties that offer serious threats to the U.S.
“What conventional arms treaties do is constrain the actions of law-abiding nations and law-abiding citizens while allowing outlaw nations and leftist guerrilla groups to build their arsenals,” he said. “If you think such international treaties apply only to sales and exchanges among nations and not to individuals, you have not been paying attention to the Obama administration’s agenda and to what activist judges have been doing in American courts.”
WND reported on a Department of Homeland Security report that warned against the possibility of violence by unnamed “right-wing extremists” concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty and singled out returning war veterans as particular threats.
The report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” dated April 7, stated “threats from white supremacist and violent anti-government groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.”
However, the document, first reported by talk-radio host and WND columnist Roger Hedgecock, went on to suggest worsening economic woes, potential new legislative restrictions on firearms and “the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
The report from DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis defined right-wing extremism in the U.S. as “divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
Most notable was the report’s focus on the impact of returning war veterans.
“Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists,” it said. “DHS/I&A is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize veterans in order to boost their violent capacities.”