Norm Vandal: A dark and dangerous underbelly of the gun industry 

Gun Rights

This documentary is by Norm Vandal, a resident of Roxbury.

In the battle for reasonable control of guns, one fact is indisputable. More guns in circulation means more gun violence and more guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. 

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Semiautomatic handguns made by Glock have always been the most popular weapons among various law enforcement agencies. Glocks are also the most popular guns used in gun crimes by armed criminals. Glocks are light, easy to conceal, function flawlessly and are lethal. Multiple iterations with little functional changes, sometimes in new calibers, generate customer interest. 

Thus, policemen want the latest-model handgun, or they become convinced that they need them, even when their current guns are more than adequate. So, what happens to all the handguns that police forces, security organizations and sheriff’s departments replace with newer models? 

Are they destroyed? No. Most of them are sold on the open market for low prices. 

Consequently, police departments are adding substantially to the number of guns that are used to commit crimes on the street and are ironically even used against them. 

Glock, in the insidious wisdom of marketing its products, has devised a terribly effective scheme for promoting this madness that relies on the used gun market. Guns that are traded in to special Glock dealers by law enforcement organizations are reconditioned by Glock and resold through these same dealers for a price much lower than retail on new handguns. These guns become manufacturer-certified. Parro’s, in Waterbury, is one such dealer. 

This produces a ready market, and these handguns are snapped up quickly for attractive prices. One online gun dealer advertises that “The Glock 23 Gen 4 was once one of the most popular police sidearms in the United States, but today many of these .40 S&W Glocks are thus hitting the secondhand market as departments return to the 9mm. That means .40 handguns can be had for cheap, and ammo is readily available in a caliber that is still very effective. So, you might want to check out this lot of trade-in Glock 23 Gen 4s that have been phased out of police service.” 

This really serves as a synopsis of the entire program. Many thousands of these guns are traded in and sold every year. Dealers usually sell these in lots that correspond to how they are turned in. 

This occurs all over the country. Law enforcement agencies are distributing and selling their used handguns and contributing to the proliferation of semiautomatic handguns, which are by far the weapon used most frequently in gun crimes anywhere. 

Unfortunately, assault rifles are also traded in by law enforcement. This is a heinous practice, and when law enforcement agencies replace any firearms, the old ones should be taken out of service and destroyed. Law enforcement agencies should not be adding to the immense number of guns circulating in the country already.

Glock, and other companies such as Sig Sauer, are using this same tactic to distribute guns in other countries where gun numbers have skyrocketed, and crime has increased dramatically. After Mexico, most immigrants that come through our southern border seeking asylum are from Guatemala. It is the terrible violence that makes them want to escape, and American gun companies are fueling that violence with arms sales. 

The number of guns sold in these vulnerable countries is astonishing. These companies use the same tactics they use here in the U.S.: putting huge amounts of guns in the hands of the military and the police, knowing they are sure to be then distributed among the entire population. As has happened here, the more people have guns, the more people feel they need guns for defense, and the dangerous circle keeps going around. Gun manufacturers reap huge profits.

To add to this sinister plan, Glock has another successful marketing scheme. Law officers, members of the military (current or retired), and everyone who can certify that they carry a gun as part of their employment can purchase up to two new handguns per year at a substantial discount. The typical practice is for customers to buy these guns cheaply, only to flip them for a profit. Every year, thousands of these discounted guns are sold, and many end up on the street. In this scenario, Glock makes money on the initial sale. The buyer makes money selling these guns at a small profit, and the Glock dealer profits from ammo, accessories and the sale transfer. Everyone makes out, and another large group of semiauto handguns ends up in the hands of criminals. 

Clearly, we need to put an end to these practices, both here in Vermont and across the nation. We need laws that prohibit these practices. All law-enforcement arms that are put out of direct service must be destroyed. Huge manufacturer discounts offered to law enforcement personnel and military members, presently serving and veterans, should be eliminated. Military weapons that are discontinued must be destroyed and not distributed to the public in any manner. 

Currently, the military M4 is being replaced with a new, AR-style weapon by Sig Sauer. What will happen to all the discontinued M4s? If we don’t act with appropriate legislation soon, they will eventually find their way into the general population, albeit altered so they can’t fire in fully automatic mode.

Of course, gun-rights lobbyists, fueled by contributions from the gun industry, will fight this legislation. They all feed out of the same trough: Let’s have more and more guns. 

Know that if you support any of these groups — such as the NRA nationally, or Gun Owners of Vermont or the Federation of Vermont Sportsmen’s Clubs locally — you are contributing to this problem. You may think you are simply preserving your right to own a gun, but you are really contributing to practices that directly result in innocent people dying needlessly. Or, if you vote for Republican candidates at any level of government, your hands are soiled with the grime of this travesty. 

You can own guns, take part in shooting sports and even speak up for your right to do so, but you don’t have to do it with blood on your hands. Have the courage to support such legislation and to refuse to join these sinister organizations.

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