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Letter: Government is selling guns

How many people know that the U.S. government is engaged in selling “assault weapons” to the public?

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a U.S. government-chartered agency devoted to supporting firearms programs for the public benefit, with special emphasis on youth education. The CMP was created by Congress in 1903. It was administered by the U.S. Army until 1996, at which time Congress created a federally chartered 501C3 corporation to take over the CMP. It receives federal funding primarily in the form of surplus rifles and ammo from the Army’s inventory for sale to the general public.

U.S. citizens not otherwise prohibited can purchase a military surplus rifle or ammo from the CMP if they are a member of a CMP-affiliated club, of which there are 30 in New Hampshire. Notably at least one of the rifles they offer – the M1 carbine – is among the ranks of “assault weapons” under both the (defunct) 1994 gun ban and recent proposals for its reinstatement.

(However, not surprisingly, they are currently sold out of the back-ordered M1 carbines!)

Everyone is free to draw, if not jump to, their own conclusions. But with just a slight stretch of imagination, we have the U.S. government itself, hands “dripping with blood” along with the NRA, promoting the proliferation of “assault weapons” to children, at the same time that it contemplates banning them outright. Wherever there’s an irony, you’re likely to also find subtle complexities, too.

ROBERT S. RENO

Hopkinton

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