L. Neil Smith's
Number 218, April 7, 2003


What The Hell Are Gun Owners Coming Too?
by Patrick K Martin

Exclusive to TLE

For those of you who are not regular readers of the magazine, last week I wrote an article entitled "Me and Century International Arms". Wherein I discussed my plans to ruin the aforementioned company for selling me a defective rifle and failing to correct the problem. I posted a message similar to this on a number of forums and bulletin-boards as well. While many of the responders supported me (mostly people who had been burned by C.I.A. in the past), I was astounded by the number of people who disagreed with me. I would like to share with you some of the responses;

"... I agree they have had some issues with manufacturing, but if it was not for Century, the world's largest importer and dealer of firearms, ... we all would have junky Ruger Mini-14s and not much else ..."

{So it's ok to sell non working rifles to the uninformed, as long as they sell a lot of them?}

"... Too bad about your exeperiences. However it would be near impossible to boycott Century and purchase very many Milsurp rifles ..."

{It's ok to sell me junk because they sell you stuff you want?}

"... I'm sorry for your troubles, ... However "Lemons" Happen. C.I.A. didn't manufacture the rifle they just distribute them (even if they assembled it from a kit, they still didn't manufacture it) ..."

{They sold it to me as something that worked, not as stuff somebody else built that might not work.}

"... Third, while Century has it's share of "drunken monkeys" doing its assembly (can we spell "headspace" or "gas tube"?) they offer a hell of a product 50% of the time to people who otherwise couldn't afford a battle rifle ..."

{This is DEFENDING them? It's ok to sell junk to people 50% of the time? Does this mean that junk is acceptable, as long as it's cheap?}

Another, somewhat larger group, is composed of people who simply believe that C.I.A. has the right to stand by their warranty. Well, I've never denied that Century Arms has the legal right to do so, I simply contend that it is a bad business policy. This is not a 90-year-old Turkish bolt-action we are discussing, this rifle was rebuilt from used parts which were installed on an American built receiver. Century hired subcontractors to build the receivers and install the parts, and C.I.A. put THEIR NAME on them. My rifle does not say "Bubba's cheap parts and stuff", it says "C.I.A.", do they not therefore have an obligation to see that the rifle works as advertised? Century seems to think so, why else did they fire most of their subcontractors and start building their own receivers and assembling these rifles in-house (at least according to a story in Shotgun News Treasury, Vol. III)? I don't think Century arms reduced their M.S.R.P. by 50% out of the goodness of their hearts either. Century knows that my complaint is not unique, they know that the weapons produced by their subcontractors were substandard, so why not regain the goodwill of customers by ignoring the warranty and repairing ONLY those defects that they know about?

Do you think that those who say its ok for C.I.A. to stand by their warranty would be singing the same tune if, say, Ford Motor Company sold trucks whose engines fell out right after the warranty was up? Would they buy Sony T.V.'s if 50% of their picture tubes took a dump right after the warranty period ended? Would you buy a BIC lighter if you found out that half of them only worked a few times?

We are talking about a rifle here, do you understand what that means? Pulling the trigger causes an explosion mere inches from your face and eyes? Have we forgotten why we wear eye-protection on the range? 40 to 50 THOUSAND FOOT POUNDS of energy or more, blasting a chunk of lead downrange, more than enough to convert a rifle to red-hot, whistling shrapnel, is that something that you want to play with?

Oh, my rifle just didn't shoot where I aimed it you say? Well guess what, that means that I don't know where my bullets are going! If some lowlife had broken into my house the night after I got this weapon, and it was the only one I could get to, would you have liked to have been somewhere downrange? Now, I would never use a weapon that I have never fired, simply because I wouldn't know if the damned thing worked or not. But I'll bet we all know at least one person who would.

The problem here, I think, is because we ARE gun-owners. I think that we have become so used to being slapped in the teeth by politicians, the media, and our ignorant brainwashed fellow citizens, that we have simply come to accept it from anybody. Think about it. How many times have we been stabbed in the back by people on our own side? Bill Ruger supported the "Assault Weapons" ban and nobody boycotted Ruger. Colt was building post-ban rifles before it passed and nobody said boo. Smith&Wesson only got boycotted because they made the NRA mad by jumping into bed with the Clinton's.

Hell, look at the NRA. They quit fighting the "Brady Bill" when they got the government to agree to set up their "Instant Check" system, knowing that it was nothing more than a stealth-registration scheme. They offered to drop opposition to the "Assault Weapons" ban if the magazine restriction was made 20 rounds instead of 10. Charlton Heston said that AK-47's were not appropriate for civilians to own. Do we boycott the NRA? Do we hear about members throwing out the board and fighting for our rights instead of "compromising" us right into the ground? Hell no, all we hear are people whining about how the NRA is the only group that can save us. Well I'm sure the NRA will be begging for the money to fight for our flintlocks when they have let the government take everything else away from us.

Like battered wives, we can't tell what we should do anymore. "He tells me he loves me", right after we've had our eyes blackened again. So what if they treat us like dirt, where else would we go? So when a gun company sells us junk we just shrug and say "Better luck next time". When they spit on our right to keep and bear arms, we'll scowl and buy their guns anyway, like the guy at the gun-show who told me, "I don't care, I like their guns". When the NRA calls for more and better enforcement of 30,000 illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional gun-laws, we'll dig in our pockets and shell out to "Keep them fighting".

Well I for one am not going to accept it. I'm tired of being played for a fool and treated like dirt. I will stand up for myself and every other gun-owner against those who would prey upon us, come what may. Maybe it's not as important as some of the other fights we gun-owners are fighting, but it is important. It's about respect, respect from those who should be standing with us, not trying to empty our pockets. It's about demanding our rights as consumers, as shooters, as gun-owners from people who seek to make a profit from us. It's about getting "Liberty's Teeth", not a crappy set of dentures.


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