The May/June issue of Mother Jones has an article by Josh Harkinson entitled Fully Loaded, which exposes the truth behind this country’s 10 biggest gun makers. I will be posting a series of blogs based on the article’s excellent research and analysis.
According to Harkinson, the ten companies he researched produce eight million firearms a year, accounting for two-thirds of the market. The men in charge “are all white, live lavish lifestyles, but the majority fly under the radar.” They all are members of The Golden Ring of Freedom, an exclusive National Rifle Association (NRA) club for people who donate $1 million to the NRA.
Many of these men who champion the virtues of the Constitution and the Second Amendment, have been the focus of criminal investigations and lawsuits for everything from arms trafficking and fraud, to armed robbery and racketeering.
For example, Mother Jones reported that Joseph James Minder, former chairman of Smith & Wesson, resigned in 2004 because he had committed eight holdups in Michigan. In 2010, the company’s Vice President of Sales was indicted for attempting to bribe an FBI agent, who was posing as an African emissary for a $15 million arms deal. (The magazine did not indicate whether he had been tried on the charge.)
Then in 2014, Smith & Wesson agreed to pay $2 million to settle a case in which the company was accused of bribing foreign officials in Pakistan and Indonesia.
There is also the gun manufacturers’ use of the “honey trap.” Mother Jones turned to Paul Barrett’s book, Glock: The Rise of America’s Guns for evidence that Glock used sex to sell guns. Quoting Barrett, the magazine reported, “In the 1980s some of Glocks biggest law enforcement contacts were allegedly won with the help of … strippers near the company’s US headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia.” Barrett quoted a former police official, “For a lot of guys coming in from out of town, this was the best time they were going to have all year, or maybe their entire life … You go to Smyrna, get laid at the best strip club in town, drink champagne—you are not going to forget the experience when it comes time choose between Glock and Smith & Wesson.’” (To be continued)