You may find yourself looking out over this vast and abundant land of ours and yet still finding a country with unmet material needs. More potable water in the Southwest. More sunlight in the Northwest. More high speed rail, everywhere.
But the one exigency that clearly dwarfs the others, in our society of unfailingly polite strangers, incurious children and pharmacologically-based anger management, is self-evident: the lack of available AK-47s.
Fear not, for even with the threat of a falling inventory of Kalashnikovs—due to sanctions against manufacturer—Mother Russia, this little kink in the supply chain has been solved.
We’re gonna make them here.
By “we,” I mean arms company RWC, and by “here” I am referring to Tullytown, Pennsylvania, where RWC is based. The gun maker conveniently owns the rights to the “AK-47 Kalashnikov brand of guns” in the only high-income country that thinks it’s a good idea for any schmo on its streets to port around mass homicide in the palms of his/her hands.
This is yet more proof—as if we needed it—that even as states like Washington pass ballot initiatives instituting universal background checks, in the Washington on the Potomac, nothing’s changed. In that Washington, the military wing of one of our two major political parties—the grand old one—is still only too happy to bestow upon those wishing to bring domestic harm the ability to do it, with one of the most efficient killing machines ever created.
Even Mikhail Kalashnikov himself, on his deathbed a year ago at the age of 94, expressed “spiritual pain” that was “unbearable,” because of the weapon he had created. But then again, unlike today’s Republican Party, he didn’t rely on campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.
Back here in the good ol’ US of A, it has become pretty clear to anyone who’s paying attention, why we should ensure that as few people as possible get their hands on weapons such as these. Twice in the past week and a half, armed gangs referring to themselves in innocuous terms such as “open carry enthusiasts” showed up to state capitols—in Texas and the aforementioned Washington State—to try and intimidate lawmakers into supporting even more permissive gun bills. There is a name for using physical threats to get the legislation you want. It isn’t democracy.
Afterwards, Washington State’s legislature banned open carry on their premises. Meanwhile, Texas did nothing, except—and this is not a joke—provide “panic buttons” for lawmakers. Yes, in their infinite wisdom, instead of precluding cocksure radicals from transporting the actual item causing “panic” into their legislative chambers, they’ve given each and every Texas lawmaker their own Bat Phone.
One of these Texan open carry groups, “Open Carry Tarrant County”— dubbed “Open Scary” by Fort Worth Weekly—has had among their members, a woman who murdered her husband and stepdaughter before driving herself to a mental hospital. The group has also called for an armed march on Washington, and in a stroke of genius, has followed around local police officers, threatening them and searching for opportunities for armed confrontation. Members of this group were apparently insulted that police officers were mean to them (yes, this is actually true) when they were walking around the streets carrying assault rifles.
Get these folks some more AK-47s, forthwith!
Then they can shoot more people, and perversely, gun sales go up. As it was put by Dr. Boyce Watkins, in the new documentary, Gunland, "weapons manufacturers tend to do really well when people are killing each other.” If you’re bold enough, you might actually call it a key part of their business plan.
No, we don’t need more AK-47s, believe it or not. We don’t need them domestically produced. And we sure as hell don’t need them available, without background checks, to any criminal, domestic abuser, terrorist, drug-runner or person suffering from delusions—which covers a bunch of the current executive leadership of the National Rifle Association—in just over 30 states in this country.
There is a reason why gun deaths are on a trajectory to surpass car fatalities for the first time ever this year. It’s because if we allowed those who make our gun laws to make highway laws, there’d be no seat belts, no airbags, cars would still flip over with a stiff breeze, drivers could be drunk or never have driven before, and the speed limit wouldn’t exist.
As Yuri Orlov, the super-arms dealer in the film Lord of War (based on a true story), put it succinctly:
Of all the weapons in the vast Soviet arsenal nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947, more commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It’s the world’s most popular assault rifle, a weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple nine pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood, it doesn’t break, jam, or overheat. It will shoot whether it’s covered in mud or filled with sand. It’s so easy even a child can use it, and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin, Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people’s greatest export.
And now we’re making them here. Maybe those who doubt evolution have a point.