United States lifts the Arms Embargo against Vietnam
On May 23, 2016, President Obama announced lifting the arms embargo against Vietnam. For a full discussion on the situation, see this issue’s legal column.
Smith & Wesson Donates $50,000 to Honored American Veterans Afield
Smith & Wesson Corp. presented Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) with $50,000 at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Louisville, KY. The donation will support ongoing programs designed to assist disabled veterans and wounded active duty military personnel. Matt Buckingham, President of Smith & Wesson’s Firearms Division, presented the donation to Tom Taylor, Chairman of HAVA, during a special ceremony at the Smith & Wesson booth.
“For the last nine years, HAVA has enhanced the lives of thousands of military men, women and their families by enabling them to reconnect with the shooting sports as they return home from active service,” said Buckingham. “These men and women have made incredible sacrifices on behalf of our nation and we view it as a privilege and honor to continue to support them throughout the healing process as they seek to reconnect with the outdoors.”
Formed in 2007 by several companies in the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry, HAVA has focused its efforts on raising awareness and assisting disabled combat veterans with their healing process through outdoor activities as they transition back into their normal lives. To date, HAVA has sponsored events in over 20 different states. With continued support from its co-sponsors, which include major firearm and outdoor equipment manufacturers, HAVA has been able to heighten awareness of issues facing disabled veterans upon returning home. Donations from these companies are crucial for HAVA, which hosts numerous outdoor activities, including hunts and shooting events, each year.
National Rifle Association Endorses Trump
During the 2016 Annual Meeting, the National Rifle Association issued its endorsement to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Some gun owners remain wary of Republican Trump—who as early as 2000 supported an “assault weapons” ban as well as longer waiting periods for gun purchases. Nevertheless, “[o]n behalf of the thousands of patriots in this room, and the five million NRA members across this country, and the tens of millions who support us, I’m officially announcing the NRA’s endorsement of Donald Trump for president,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA-ILA. “We have to unite, and we have to unite right now,” he said.
Trump followed the endorsement with a speech designed to both re-assert his support of gun rights and remind the pro-Second Amendment community of Hillary Clinton’s avowed hatred of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
“I will not let you down. Remember that. I will not let you down. Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment. We’re not talking about changing—she wants to abolish the Second Amendment. We’re not going to let that happen.”
Trump jumped back and forth between a pre-written speech and his usual off-the-cuff technique. That he referred to a script is significant and, according to one report, suggests that Trump knows how important the pro-gun community’s support is to his continued success.
Mossberg Files Suit Against Makers of AR15 “Drop-in Triggers.”
Mossberg has threatened to file a series of lawsuits against AR15 drop-in trigger manufacturers. Mossberg holds the patent to the concept of the trigger pack, which they acquired from CMC triggers.
So far Mossberg has listed 12 companies in their lawsuit filings, including Black Rain Ordnance, Elftmann Gun Products, Franklin Armory, the Patriot Ordnance Factory and Rise Armament. Other companies may be added to the lawsuit as the drop-in trigger group is a popular type of aftermarket upgrade for many firearms. This kind of aftermarket trigger is very common for ARs, the most popular firearm in America today. If successful, Mossberg may seek damages, royalties, or force competitors to stop manufacturing drop-in trigger systems altogether.
Critics of the suit claim that the patent is overly broad and describes a trigger system that pre-dates the patent. Similar trigger designs have been in use for decades such as with Heckler & Koch firearms. Other trigger pack systems have been around for a while, and today, even some handgun designs use a single-piece sub-frame that contains the trigger components of the firearm.
Meprolight to Supply Thousands of Reflex Sights to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
Meprolight, a leading manufacturer of electro-optical systems, thermal and night vision equipment, and self-illuminated sights for military, law enforcement and civilian applications – will supply thousands of MEPRO MOR reflex sights to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The MEPRO MOR was selected in a tender that includes ongoing maintenance and quick delivery. This win was achieved as the company completes deliveries to the IDF of a previous order for thousands of MEPRO M5 Red Dot Sights (known in the U.S as MEPRO RDS PRO).
According to Benny Kokia, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Meprolight, “We are proud of winning this tender. The sight was selected by the IDF in an open tender following in-depth testing and rigorous trials. According to the army’s demands, we were required to set up a rapid delivery schedule for the sights, and to quickly establish an effective and efficient maintenance system appropriate for the Israeli army – an active army – and sufficient to ensure the proper ongoing functioning of its systems.”
The MEPRO MOR is a compact, rugged, multi-purpose, multi-activated red dot reflex sight with integrated laser pointers. Designed for quick, instinctive, accurate shooting, it has a 30mm diameter lens, ensuring rapid target acquisition with either one or both eyes open, and quick transition between long-range and close-quarter encounters. MEPRO MOR’s large field of view enables effective operation in all weather, temperature, and light conditions. The passive self-illuminated system provides integrated day/night operation, LED for extra bright modes, two laser pointers – visible and IR, and multiple mounting options. The sight is suited for use with 5.56 mm caliber light weapons and 7.62 mm caliber light machine guns.
Beijing to participate in US naval drills amid South China Sea tensions
China is sending a flotilla of five vessels, including two warships and a hospital ship, to the US-hosted naval drills in the Pacific. The decision comes despite persistent tensions between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea islands.
The Chinese Defense Ministry announced late Thursday that it would send the flotilla to the Rim of the Pacific exercises, also known as RIMPAC. Beijing said the flotilla would participate in live fire, anti-piracy, search and rescue, and other drills, Reuters reported.
The announcement comes despite critics of the Obama administration – including Senator John McCain – urging Washington to ban China from the drills in a show of disapproval of Beijing’s military actions.
The US has expressed repeated concern over China’s behavior in the South China Sea, where it has laid claim to almost the entire region, despite conflicting partial claims from Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
Beijing has reportedly built military installations, including runways and missile launchers, on reclaimed islands in the South China Sea, prompting international concern.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ruffled Beijing’s feathers by stating that “China’s actions could erect a Great Wall of self-isolation.” That comment spurred a response from China, with Beijing accusing Carter of having a Cold War mentality.
“China has no interest in any form of Cold War, nor are we interested in playing a role in a Hollywood movie written and directed by certain US military officials. However, China has no fear of and will counter any actions that threaten and undermine China’s sovereignty and security,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.