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Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BATFE recommends destroying history

Readers may already have noticed by now that I am no fan of the ATF. Today's topic would hardly be the worst of the ATF's crimes--it does not appear that they will kill or imprison anyone in this episode, or even destroy anyone's livelihood, but it is still appalling.

A library in Nahant, Massachusetts has an unusual artifact--a Maxim machine gun captured by Sergeant Alvin York in World War I. The story of the heroic charge, led by Sergeant York, to capture this machine gun (and others) was immortalized in the 1941 Gary Cooper movie "Sergeant York." The story of how it ended up in Nahant is, of course, rather less well known. The short version (free registration required) is that a Nahant resident, Corporal Maryland Lewis, was part of Sergeant York's unit, and he simply shipped the gun home to Nahant (a common practice back then--how things change). Nahant has no historical museum, and so except for a brief stint at an American Legion hall, this piece of history has languished, almost forgotten, in the library's attic--until library director Daniel deStefano stumbled over it three years ago.

With the library much more in need of funds than a machine gun, the obvious solution was to sell it, capitalizing on the historical significance of the gun, which might push its value to well over $100,000 (and perhaps double that). That's where the ATF comes in.

John Welsh, a library trustee, said a bureaucratic tangle soon emerged and hasn’t been resolved. “It’s a machine gun and it’s not registered, so apparently we can’t sell it until we find a legal way to own it,” he said. “We’ve had estimates that it could be worth up to $200,000, presuming we can show its relationship to Sgt. York.”

Both Welsh and deStefano said at least two agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have listened to the story but offered no recommendations, other than to suggest the machine gun be destroyed.

“Imagine destroying the German machine gun that was captured by Sgt. York just because it’s not registered,” said Welsh, adding that the library trustees’ decision to seek legislative help was equally unproductive. “We didn’t get anywhere. It seems nobody wants to touch the problem and be credited as the politician who put another machine gun back into society. But it’s not like we’re going to sell it to some street gang. Besides, there’s no ammunition.”
But certainly the BATFE is not so blind to history, so intoxicated by its bureaucratic power to bully lesser mortals, that there is not a way to work something out.
Negotiations with the ATF have put deStefano in a funk. He described a four-way conference call during which an obviously young ATF agent admitted not knowing the story of Sgt. York or much about WWI.
Yeah--I suppose jackbooted thuggery is a whole lot more fun than learning about a bunch of boring old history.

According to another article, library officials have tried to get Senators Kennedy and Kerry involved (how is that for an interesting choice of senate saviors?). Shockingly, they have not shown any interest in getting involved.

That's where things stand now, with the BATFE recommending the destruction of an artifact of one of the greatest feats of arms in U.S. history, and with its fate apparently in the hands of two of the most anti-gun Senators in Congress.


Anonymous said...

You would think that there would be a benefactor out there that could buy his way through all of the red tape just to see the gun preserved.
I find it hard to beleive that there are no supporters of the second ammendment or history buffs in the state of Ma.

Anonymous said...

Oh, there are second second amendment history buffs in MA. I AM one.

But there are probably few or none that are among the ruling elite of MA.

Sadly if you are not part of the powerful "click" of libtards in MA you end up "pissing up a rope".

John R said...

Since this is an unregistered Title II firearm, I am a bit surprised that there has been no multi jurisdictional raid led by the BATFE to forcibly recover and destroy it.

Anonymous said...

I know this might not get them any money, but it may be legally transferred to a government-owned museum. In MA, the Springfield Armory (US Govt) may be interested, for instance. Or maybe something in Tennessee? Maybe the 82nd Airborne Division Museum (York was in the 82nd Inf. Div. in WWI)Perhaps the Army Historic and Educational Center at Carlisle PA?

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Anon, I think you might be right that the way to handle this is for the library to give up the idea of turning a profit on this, and to donate it where it can be displayed with pride.

I'm still appalled that the arrogant brownshirts of the ATF suggested destroying it.

Anonymous said...

1894c: Name-calling is always an effective argument. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

I agree that preserving that piece of history should be more important than making money. Oh, and 1894c wasn't making an argument you libtard.

Anonymous said...

I know Dan DeStefano and have seen this museum piece up close - so close I can tell you it has not been cleaned since it was paraded about town in 1919! It is, in fact, an MG08/15 - the first "SAW" and could be operated by a three man team ... if you could find the 3 gallon water can and some ammunition ... oh yea, and clean the action, chamber & barrel! If we could possibly convince the Democrats that this piece will find a home in a museum, and not a gang-bangers pick-up truck, we might just save a piece of history! Write your congressmen and Senators ... someone out there might help!

Anonymous said...

All you idiot Wingnuts blaming "libtards" and Democrats ought to take a look at whose in charge of your brownshirts!

Anonymous said...

It was libtards that put the brownshirts into power in the first place, jackhole.

Anonymous said...

Thats the prob with this country too many libtards {retards} lol Saving history will always out weigh money,asnd money in general is the root of all evil.Libtards are like lil kids lol just my two cents worth.Oh and i dont care what anyone thinks about what i say cause i dont know any of you.