05 September, 2010

Unique opportunity for T&T

The M1 is described as “rugged, reliable, accurate, and durable.”

The US government has forbidden the sale of 850,000 rifles to the US.

“The South Korean government, in an effort to raise money for its military, wants to sell nearly a million antique M1 rifles that were used by U.S. soldiers in the Korean War to gun collectors in America.”

This is a unique opportunity to increase national and private gun ownership at a very affordable price. These rifles usually retail for about US$400-500 each. At that quantity, the TTDF could conceivably bag them at US$200 each, or even less. That would be just over TT$1B. Less than the cost of 2 summits, with more immediate and tangible return on investment.

Most air rifles in Trinidad sell for 6x more (at the lower end of the market!).

The government can easily recover that money by reselling some to other Caribbean governments, with some set aside for sale to T&T citizens.

Even though they aren’t considered “sexy”, they are functional rifles that have proven their utility during the Korean War, and over time. The M1 is described as “rugged, reliable, accurate, and durable.”

The TT Cadet Force, TT Defence Force Reserves and others are all short of rifles. This is an excellent, inexpensive training rifle and a battle-proven tool.

With the right planning and contract negotiation, we could manufacture our own ammunition, as the M1 has an uncommon caliber (.30). A new industry can be born. New armourers and gunsmiths can be trained. The same Caribbean governments that buy the rifles can be tied in by contract to buy our ammo too.

If the government doesn’t want too much risk, then we can partner with other Caribbean nations through CARICOM and share the risk.

With more armed citizens, we should see a dramatic decrease in murders and other violent crimes. The Minister of Food Production has said he is looking at re-starting the praedial larceny squad. The squad cannot be everywhere, and therefore cannot protect all farmland. Armed farmers can dispatch vermin attacking their crops and livestock, and also protect themselves, their families and employees from violent criminals. Arming farmers can improve food security for the nation.

A word to the anti-gunners: Please, no knee-jerk reactions. No tired platitudes of these rifles “falling in to the wrong hands”. The “wrong hands” are already filled with all the guns and ammo they need. It’s the “right hands” that are empty and defenceless.

This is one time we can ask Israel for technical assistance in creating a new industry and arming citizens, as they have expertise in that area. Be prepared for them to turn us down though, as selling arms and ammunition is one of their biggest industries. We can also ask Venezuela, the US, or Brazil for technical assistance.

Some legislation may have to be enacted, but with a three-fifths majority in Parliament, the government should not have any problems in this area.

This should be seen for what it is: an opportunity for our nation to improve national security, increase employment, create a new industry, re-skill our citizens and increase national food security.

“An armed society is a polite society.” -Robert A. Heinlein.

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