Monday, March 4, 2013

Stereotypes Not Helpful In Gun Debate

Read the column here.

Note that, as stated, I did not delve into policy questions in this column. I merely recounted my own experiences as a law-abiding, responsible gun owner and asked that policymakers differentiate between folks like me and the bad guys (which, unfortunately, is what routinely does not happen with proposed gun control legislation).

That said, I will offer a brief bit on policy here: even my friends on the left of the political aisle should be alarmed at the baldly political maneuvers employed to secure the hurried passage of New York's SAFE Act. More than half of the Empire State's counties have adopted resolutions opposing the legislation and several more are considering doing the same. Even the New York Sheriffs Association, which agrees with many parts of the Act, has criticized the brazen manner in which it was enacted. Also, the New York Supreme Court has given the state until 29 April to explain, in detail, how the law is constitutional or have an injunction issued by the Court against it.

Be that as it may, while the GLOCK 17 was not the first firearm with a plastic/polymer (plastic in the scientific sense meaning malleable) stock or receiver, it was the first pistol so equipped to be commercially accepted outside the narrow confines of pistols suitable for hunting.

To my knowledge, a couple of Remingtons were the first to have plastic/polymer stocks or receivers.  The Nylon 66 rifle, chambered in .22LR, appeared in theNylon 66 rifle, chambered in .22LR, appeared in the 1950s and was very well received.  The same company’s XP-100 bolt action pistol, chambered in a variety of hunting calibers, made its appearance in 1963.

Heckler und Koch’s VP70, chambered in 9X19mm, debuted in 1968: the “M” variant (Milit√§r) allowed for semi-automatic and three-round burst fire (the latter when fitted with a specially designed shoulder stock that housed the burst mechanism); the Z variant (Zivil – civilian) fired in semi-automatic mode only.  Sales, outside of a few military contracts never amounted to much.

I remember when the GLOCK first hit the American market – and the near hysteria it caused among the gun control crowd, who claimed that it was a “plastic” pistol that could not be detected by existing airport metal detectors.  Of course, this was (and remains) pure fiction.  I also remember how some handgun traditionalists disparaged the newfangled GLOCK with terms such as “drastic plastic” and “tactical Tupperware.”

The GLOCK 17 was first devised in 1981, a marvel of engineering comprised of just 34 parts (perhaps a couple more with the latest “Generation 4” designs), including three separate internal safety mechanisms.  The pistol was adopted by the Austrian military in
1983.  A year later, following the GLOCK’s passage of NATO durability testing, the pistol was adopted by the Norwegian military.  In 1986, the company established an American subsidiary and established its U.S. headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia.

And the folks at GLOCK have been laughing all the way to the bank ever since.  In fact, according to the company’s web site, by 2012 more than 65% of the nation’s police forces issued the company’s pistols to their members.

GLOCK (the company always uses all capitals)

GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation

International Defensive Pistol Association

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