Gun manufacturers continue to aid gun banners

Editor's Note: This article has also been published on U.S. Concealed Carry Magazine's national website.

By Ken Hanson, Esq.

Having just devoted a substantial chunk of pro bono legal work fighting governments committed to destroying your gun rights, I was horrified to read the March 2008 editions of several of my favorite gun magazines. Prominently featured in each edition was a feature story about a large manufacturer of 1911-type guns, breathlessly detailing the “gee whiz” details of their newest model dedicated to a California police agency. Each of the stories went into the history of the department the gun was designed for, yet one critical piece of background information was omitted from the tide of “fanboy” coverage.

These guns were all designed for a local government committed to stripping civilians of the right to own this same gun.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love this particular manufacturer, and I personally carry their product almost daily. I have unreservedly recommended their product to students when asked. Honestly, given a choice, I PREFER their product. But there is no avoiding this conclusion: This manufacturer is designing firearms for police agencies in California at a time when California is committed to abolishing civilian ownership of these same firearms. If any of the gun writers who covered the unveiling of this product chose to question the wisdom of this sell-out, I have not yet found it.

The height of unintended irony comes in the March 2008 American Rifleman, which prominently featured this gun on the cover. Numerous sentences in the review article talked about the gun’s features, the accuracy and the other general minutiae expected of the genre. Flipping a few pages past the review article brings the reader to a separate article talking about how yet another complete handgun ban in San Francisco has been thrown out by a court decision, but the NRA legal team remains ever-vigilant for the next attempt by California to destroy your gun rights.

Think about this for a moment. These governments in California will work continuously to strip civilians of the right to own handguns, whether through outright bans or by requiring “smart gun” technology or other “safety measures” that makes it impractical to sell handguns in the state, or makes it dramatically more expensive to do so. (The fanboy coverage neglected to mention whether this new model is being shipped to the police with chamber microstamping or if it would function with non-lead ammo, in case the police department finds itself in a shootout with nesting condors nearby.) Not to mention the fact that these same local governments are waging a legal jihad against gun manufacturers, attempting to recover money judgments against gun makers for medical treatment costs associated with the criminal misuse of their products.

So in an environment that is committed to the very destruction of the gun industry as a whole, this manufacturer wades in and designs a custom edition gun for a California police agency. This makes as much sense as General George Custer taking a quick look around at Little Bighorn and deciding “This Native American Calvary is pretty high-speed low-drag. Imagine the free P.R. if I was supplying them with custom arrows!”

This manufacturer has placed the short term benefit gained from selling several hundred units to a “prestige” law enforcement agency ahead of the longer term benefit of not dealing with those committed to their very destruction. All police departments rely on private firearm manufacturers, and for far too long police have enjoyed a “good for we but not for thee” atmosphere, thanks to a complicit firearms industry. I, for one, am sick of it, and I am not going to silently abide this absurdity.

It is time that gun owners coalesce and organize to bring these wayward manufacturers into the correct frame of mind. Unfortunately, it is apparent that not all manufacturers are as enlightened as Ronnie Barrett or STI International. In case you do not know the story, Ronnie stopped selling his products in California in response to California banning his rifles. The cherry on top was when he wrote a California police chief and told him to come pick up the department’s rifle, because Ronnie wasn’t working on it and wasn’t shipping it back. Similarly, STI stopped their practice of selling to California Law Enforcement when the chamber microstamping bill was passed.

This is a difficult journey to undertake. This manufacturer, like many others selling to California, supports shooting sports graciously, and is a large advertiser in most gun magazines. The mainstream gun press is not going to rally to this particular flag willingly, and this is understandable. It is uncomfortable to take friends to task for their wayward ways, and it is legitimate to question whether the harm they cause by dealing with California is outweighed by the good this manufacturer does for shooting sports? It is a familiar quandary.

In my analysis, this is an intervention that is very worthwhile. We, the consumers, must intervene to help save gun manufacturers from their self-destructive habits. Like any other intervention, tough love is needed. “We love you, we love your products and want to support you, but we can no longer stand by and watch you destroy yourself.” Make no mistake, this is what is happening. Gun manufacturers are in the co-dependent relationship from Hell, faithfully committed to those that would destroy them. Gun manufacturers blindly believe that these cities do not intend them permanent harm. “Sure, California sues me and bans my products, but they don’t really mean it, and besides, they buy a few of my guns occasionally.”

Girlfriend, it is so over. California would not care if you ceased to exist tomorrow, and the fact that you giddily make guns for the gun banners intent on your destruction has everyone laughing at you, not with you.

This is not a “California problem.” Just as Mayor Bloomberg is trying to regulate gun sales nationwide, California is attempting to regulate the entire firearms industry through their “consumer protection” powers. It is already expensive for a manufacturer to meet California’s requirements, and that expense grows daily with measures like microstamping. Do you honestly feel that manufacturers will segregate this development expense and asses it only against models sold in California, or do you think our gun prices will increase nationwide? That is very much the situation we face today – if you are buying from a manufacturer that does business under California’s absurd laws, you are paying the costs of those absurd laws.

California will continue to pass new law after new law so long as the gun industry continues to sell in the California market. This will continue until 1.) Manufacturers say enough is enough, we aren’t selling in California anymore, or 2.) California gains de facto regulation of the entire firearms industry through our indifference. It will not matter what your local legislative bodies allow, California will be the standard that all must adhere to so long as the industry chooses to sell in California. The costs associated with setting up dual-production runs is simply too prohibitive in a slim profit margin industry like firearms.

So, today I announce project “Correct Kimber.” While I readily acknowledge Kimber’s valuable support of shooting sports, it is my intention to publicly call gun owner’s attention to Kimber’s support for gun banning regimes, and encourage gun owners to do all within their power to correct Kimber’s wayward ways. The Kimber SIS, which is the second example of Kimber fawning over a California police agency, is an exercise in anti-gun idolatry, a tribute to an agency that is part of an apparatus dedicated to the destruction of the firearm industry. Kimber needs to be chastised for this. They aren’t going to self-correct, so gun owners need to encourage Kimber to do so.

Please take a moment to contact Kimber today at 914-964-0771 x324, or via US Mail at Kimber, 2590 Hwy 35, Kalispell, MT 59901. Please be polite, professional yet firm. A suggested script for either a letter or phone call would be:

  1. Introduce yourself and any Kimber Products you own.
  2. Acknowledge and thank them for their generous support of shooting sports.
  3. Say that you are greatly distressed that they are selling to California Law Enforcement departments, and that you think it is wrong that any gun manufacturer deals with agencies of government committed to stripping civilians of the right to own the same pistols Kimber is selling to these law enforcement agencies.
  4. Tell them you wish them the best of luck, but as long as they are selling to California Law Enforcement, you will no longer be purchasing Kimber products.
  5. You are sending a copy of the letter or making a phone call to your local dealer to share your feelings with the local dealer.

Let us know about any feedback you receive!

Ken Hanson is a gun rights attorney in Ohio and is the attorney of record for Buckeye Firearms Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the Heller case. He is the author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws, is a certified firearms instructor and holds a Type 01 Federal Firearms License.

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