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Could Government Arsenals Build America’s Small Arms?

There are many political and legal challenges facing America’s small arms industry. Their future could be in jeopardy should highly restrictive legislation be enacted. Since the early days of American independence, firearms used to supply her armies have come from private industries and government arsenals. If private industries were to suddenly disappear, it would be incumbent upon the arsenals to supply the military’s firearms. Springfield Armory and Harper’s Ferry Arsenal were both originally purposed by President George Washington to build the military’s small arms. These arsenals developed the expertise and acquired equipment for the job. Both have been closed for many years. Today, Rock Island Arsenal has limited small arms manufacturing capability and would be the obvious successor should there be no private industries to rely on.

What could we expect if government arsenals became the sole source for military and law enforcement firearms? A glimpse into the past may provide useful insight into what might lie ahead.

Commercial sales are largely responsible for the $42.3 billion dollar annual revenue of America’s privately owned small arms industry where more than 288,000 workers are employed. The small arms industry is currently a flourishing business because it is located in one of the few remaining countries with free access to firearms. The firearm is the single tangible item the U.S. Constitution grants to its citizens the right of ownership. Besides commercial sales, many of the small arms manufacturers compete for government and law enforcement contracts. Those contracts alone would not be sufficient for long-term sustainment if commercial sales vanished.

Challenges to Private Small Arms Industry

In 1999, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) initiated lawsuits against almost 100 small arms manufacturers.

The stated purpose of the lawsuits was not to win, …read more

Read more here:: Small Arms Defense Journal (Land)

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