Peace through inferior firepower

The Ruger Mini-Thirty next to a banner displaying the character for "peace."

The Ruger Mini-Thirty next to a banner displaying the character for “peace.”

The prez made his statement last night, and good for him. I made mine on Thursday, when I turned over my Ruger Mini-Thirty to the Albuquerque Police Department crime lab.

My intention was to have the weapon destroyed, after deciding that an untrained civilian really doesn’t need a 7.62x39mm semiautomatic rifle lying around the crib. But the weapons wizards at the Metropolitan Forensic Science Center said they didn’t have a Mini-Thirty in their collection — which includes the worst machine gun in the world — and asked if they could keep it for use in their work.

I could’ve sold it on consignment at one of the local dealers, I suppose. Made a little money. But after Bibleburg and San Bernardino I decided I wanted to take this one out of circulation. One less gun.

It’s not much of a statement — “One less gun” — but I was sick and tired of writing about the issue and it felt right to actually do something for a change, however feeble the gesture might be.

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30 Responses to “Peace through inferior firepower”

  1. Stan Thomas Says:

    Top man.

  2. Doug Glondeniz Says:

    You should have sold it and put some money in your pocket. Ruger makes plenty of them every year and 1 less won’t matter. I owned the .223 version of it.

    • JD Dallager Says:

      Au contraire! If it’s to be, let it begin with me!

      Every journey starts with but a single step.

      Et al.

    • Ira Says:

      I’m with O’G on this. One less does matter. Good on you Patrick.

      • Doug Glondeniz Says:

        I don’t know about you but around here that rifle is worth $700 or so. That’s not exactly lunch money. BTW, It’s not one less after each day of Ruger’s production. It’s net gain.

      • Steve O Says:

        A million feeble gestures and we might be onto something.

        If one guy were to walk in, sit down, and sing a few bars …

      • Steve O Says:

        $700?! You’re right. That’s 3, maybe 4 lunches. Or one nice dinner. I’m assuming you’re counting drinks in the tally, yeah?

        I know this place, $700 will get you the worlds best MLT, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are perfectly ripe.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, I think the Mini-14 was by far the more popular of the two models. I almost went that route myself. The APD crime lab has a metric shit-ton of those, along with just about every other weapon you can imagine.

      Ever cradled a Thompson submachine gun? I have, now; they let me try one on for size. I had a toy model when I was a sprout, and as I recall it was a whole lot lighter.

      The decision to dispose of the Mini-Thirty triggered (hawr hawr hawr) quite an argument among the voices in my head. Destroy it! Sell it! And so on. What it boiled down to was this: I couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t wind up in the hands of a loon, even if I used a reputable gun shop. Somebody sold the guns that wound up in the hands of Robert Lewis Dear Jr., Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

      Buying a gun is like adopting an insane, immortal child. You can either watch over the thing until you’re dead, send it out into the world and hope nothing bad happens, or put it down. I put mine down.

      I may have cost myself a few bucks, but I can always get some more. Can you believe some people actually pay me to make stuff up for bike mags? Me neither.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Shit, I would have taken it. Such a pretty gun. Would have been nice to have the brace of Mini-14 and Mini-30.

        But I agree with you that no matter who you could have sent it to for consignment (or even me, for that matter), there is no way of knowing what would eventually happen to the damn thing. My worry is about my own shit, and I have lined up a couple people at the bomb factory who I know well, who can take things off my better half’s hands should I croak it. Folks who go through far, far more than a NICS check.

        Follow your conscience. You are absolutely right. The best statement any of us who own these things can make is that we are ultimately and absolutely responsible for ensuring they are never misused, and we will work to keep them from being misused. If that means welding them into a Zen sculpture, so be it. On the other hand, O’G, did you read about the guy up your way who chased off three car burglars with a spray of high velocity cheers on Sunday?

        Speaking of Thompson. Remember Roy Bates who moved to Weirdcliff? He had a federal license for a fully automatic Thompson. I shot it once at the range. Quite the hoot, but man, you could bankrupt yourself that way buying 45 ACP ammo and going through a box a minute.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Yow. I hadn’t heard about that. That crime scene is spitting distance from El Rancho Pendejo, no shit. Maybe a five-minute bike ride, all of it uphill.

        Roy should hook up with the gang from Bear Basin Ranch, if he hasn’t already. There are a couple Vietnam vets in the bunch, and now and again they enjoy a little full-auto shoot.

        That Mini-Thirty wasn’t cheap to shoot, either. I bought a mess of Russian ammo to use for target practice. After a while I decided that it would be cheaper to dope-slap evildoers with a fat roll of greenbacks.

  3. Jay Fromkin Says:

    Good on ya.

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    If your mind is at ease, then it was the right thing to do. Had you sold it to a shop, if would go back in circulation. The next owner would have passed a background check as you did, after that, who knows. I find it ironic that the Sheriff’s department deputies responding with the San Bernardino shooting were carrying Ruger Mini14 rifles.

    • Doug Glondeniz Says:

      How do you know the people you donated it to aren’t eventually going to re sell it? You probably should have run it through a band saw if you wanted to make sure it was gone forever.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Anything is possible, of course. I recall some Fort Carson sergeants selling Uncle Sammy’s M-16s out the back gate and without the proper authorization back in the day.

        In this instance I chose to trust a cop. A science cop, to be sure, but a cop nonetheless. That was something of a leap of faith for an old criminal like me. But they process something like 600 to a thousand items per annum in the APD crime lab, so maybe they’re too busy to run an illicit garage sale.

      • khal spencer Says:

        APD are good people, by and large. I say that having lived here for 14 years and reading the Journal every day and railing about the James Boyd shooting.

        If the cops can use it for forensics purposes (one of my fields, as it happens), so much the better. Put it to a good use with the police or as I said, weld it into a Zen sculpture.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    Interesting story about the Chauchat. Never heard of it!

  6. Libby Says:

    It seems you have considered doing this for awhile and made you decision for Peace and your own peace.

  7. Larry T. Says:

    The arguments here clearly illustrate why we have a gun problem in the USA. These weapons of war should be melted down. The gun nuts and their continual screeching about the 2nd Amendment remind me of the Bible-thumpers’ railing against homosexuality when mixed-fiber clothing’s on the same page of abominations.
    I fail to see how Elmer Fudd having an automatic weapon = freedom from tyranny, so my “useless” gesture was a check to the Brady Campaign. Good on ya PO’G!

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Good morning Larry. I could hunt deer with a military rifle, but I could also cut a steak with a sword. You can do it, but there are tools DESIGNED for hunting or table cutlery. I think the mini14 falls into the sword category. As I discussed with Stan in a previous post, where your draw the line is a problem to be solved. Patrick has personally drawn and acted on a line I agree with. Well, time for a ride. Trying to get some miles in before the crappy weather hits this weekend.

      • khal spencer Says:

        The Mini-14, to be sure, is a scaled down version of the M-1 Garand, a WW II vintage semiautomatic (autoloading) rifle. The Mini-14 fires the 223 REmington/5.56×45 NATO round. The Mini has an external magazine, making it possible to equip it with a 20-30 rd magazine, so it is substantially equivalent to the other autoloading black rifles that everyone gets heartburn about in terms of capacity and firing rate. That’s what makes it problematic. Interestingly, the only versions of the Mini-14 banned under the old Federal assault weapon ban were the ones with black, evil looking stocks, even though all of the versions were functionally equivalent. Go figure.

        The M-1 Garand in autoloading form had an internal magazine that could not hold more than 8 rounds maximum, so it would be legal in all fifty states. Aside from three rounds capacity, there is very little difference between the M-1 and several autoloading hunting rifles, such as the Browning, Winchester, and Remington examples, all of which are offered in calibers similar to the old M-1 or M-14 (30/06, 308 Winchester/7.62×51 NATO) because these are ideal deer, elk, etc, cartridges.

        Weapons of war have evolved. The WW I weapon of war was the old bolt action Springfield, countless numbers of which were sold army surplus and converted to deer rifles, including the one my old man owns. Pat is right–there is no reason to hunt deer with an AK. Its actually kind of a bizzare idea. If no one had them, we would probably be better off.

        I’ll likely put it in my will to have my own Mini-14 melted down if I don’t get to it first. No need for someone else to have it. As Patrick says, you don’t leave an amoral child for someone else to deal with. Hell, I brought my old hunting shotgun home from Buffalo, even though I’m now a vegetarian, because my youngest brother kept wanting to convert it to some sort of militarized street sweeper, which I thought was immoral.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Oops. That should have been “five round capacity”.

  8. Jon Paulos Says:

    Well, for the little it’s worth, I agree with your decision, but what really counts is that you did what you felt you should do.

    And it has more effect than one less gun. You have readers who are influenced by what you write, and you make solid arguments.

    Remember the Aesop’s fable about the guy taking his donkey to the market with the load of firewood? In the end he learned that he had to do what he felt was the best thing, in spite of the conflicting interests. You did that.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Yeah. After reconsidering Patrick’s logic, I will make sure the Mini-14 leaves this planet when I do. No one else gets it. I don’t want a tap on the shoulder from St. Peter some day saying “uh, Khal, remember that Mini-14 you once owned? Guess what….”

  9. khal spencer Says:

    With all this talk about guns, we seem to have missed Bummernacht.

    Well, better late than never.

  10. psobrien Says:

    I owned a sporterized Springfield, early Remington production, back in the mid 70s. I don’t own a rifle now, and probably never will at this point, but if I wanted something to shoot the local Buffalo matches with, this would be it. It would be the 1874 Creedmoor in .45/70.
    http://www.shilohrifle.com/rifles.php

  11. Hurben Says:

    I missed this one due to a visit to Australia to catch up with my errant offspring, (doing nicely, thanks for asking).

    As I said in a previous post, during the course of my life I’ve fired many weapons in anger & I never want to touch one again.

    Good on you Po’G

  12. Peter W. Polack Says:

    Patrick did the right thing because he wouldn’t get squat for it on the open market. For which thug or terrorist would buy or bother to steal such a weapon with that emasculated magazine; there just ain’t enough firepower there to make the news.

    Note that the homeowner in the Albuquerque Journal article said the legally correct words to deflect charges against him, at least for now-” I was scared. I thought I was going to die.” His lawyer or the NRA taught him well. No mention on whether the PD found a gun, however.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Factory mags are 5 or 20 rd. 30rd aftermarket magazines are available. Same as those evil black rifles. That looks like a 10rd version. Probably to make it legal in Colorado, NY, or other states with magazine restrictions.

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