SHOCK and AWE...
The tentacles of the internet reached out and pulled the Brotherhood of the Gun together, launching a massive strike.
An electronic impulse that may have mirrored a sunspot hit Washington, DC as gun people everywhere called and e-mailed their congressonal delegations.
Larry Haynie is owner of Georgia Arms (http://www.georgia-arms.com/) and one of the largest manufacturers of centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition in the country, producing 1.2 million rounds of reloaded .223 ammunition a month, mainly from expended military cases.
"We're right up there behind Hornady," he told me.
Haynie first alerted us to the move by the Department of Defense to stop selling whole fired brass cases to the remanufacturing market, requiring instead that all expended brass be "mutilated" ("Shredded..." as Haynie put it) before it was sold as brass scrap.
On Sunday, March 15, he was interviewed by Tom Gresham on his nationally syndicated show "Gun Talk" (http://www.guntalk.com/) where he informed us he had two months worth of whole cases left, and then he would have to lay off half of his 60-person work force.
We discussed it on this blog, and alerted other gun bloggers who joined in warning the firearms community that here was a serious threat against their sport--one that could push the cost of ammunition well beyond the means of the average shooter.
The shooters responded--in droves. E-mails were sent. Letters were written that will probably continue arriving for days, and outrage was expressed.
Not only did the gun folks contact their congressmen, they contacted DOD too...even to verify the action had been taken, and Government Liquidators, LLC, the corporation that auctions government surplus, had been told to cease the auctions of whole expended brass.
On Tuesday, March 17, Georgia Arms posted this message on their website:
Dear Loyal Customers,
Thanks to your voice, DOD has rescinded the order to mutilate all spent cases as of 4:30 pm on 3/17/09. We appreciate the time and effort that you expended, together we all made a difference. We will be posting the email we received from DOD as well as any additional information within the next 12-16 hours. Thanks so much and lets get to work!!! Georgia Arms
Perhaps the most poignant message received of the many dozens that were posted here was from the wife of a long time employee of Georgia Arms:
"My husband has worked for Ga Arms for about 20 years...We have two kids in college..My husband is 50 years old, I am sitting here trying to come up with ways to reduce our spending and thinking about who would hire a 50 year old man! Please pray for our family! I guess we could sell off all his guns!!"
Thanks to you out there, this lady and many other long-time employees of Georgia Arms and all the other remanufacturers of expended military brass will now continue to be gainfully employed--a part of a productive American work force rather than forced onto the government dole.
There are too many people to thank for helping this occur--everyone pulled together.
But of special note are Larry Haynie, and Tom Gresham, who sent a link to his radio program: http://www.guntalk.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=443576
Caleb of Call Me Ahab alerted us to corroboration by www.AR15.com which has been on this since the beginning, and special thanks to the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (http://www.jpfo.org/), who also broke the news early on with a letter from Gary Marbut,the president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. He described what was going down, and asked everyone to write Senators Max Baucus and John Tester to demand the DOD rescind this outrageous action against the shooting community--which they did.
David Codrea of The War On Guns leaped into the fray early on with his highly read Gun Rights Examiner columns http://www.examiner.com/x-1417-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2009m3d18-Military-ammunition-policy-rescinded
But mainly, it was YOU--the Brotherhood of the Gun--who responded so quickly with cogent, lucid complaints to your political representatives--putting them on notice we would not take such attacks against our sport, avocation, and livelihoods lying down.
It was a quick, massive response. The comments on this blog alone were outraged and rancorous, but never vile--and they worked.
You are the Minutemen of today.
I am proud of you all.