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Making a buck

A conundrum!

Seems Ronnie Barrett (who I met at NRA Con) set a precedent. A bit back, when LAPD used one of his rifles as a prop to advocate banning his rifles, he sent them a letter stating he would not sell nor service rifles to police departments in Cali.

STI did almost the same thing by just cutting off sales to Cali.

Now, there’s money to be made in police contracts. Heck, I think 60% of PDs carry a GLOCK of some kind. Buckeye Firearms is none too happy with gun makers selling products to PDs in oppressive regimes and announces Project Correct Kimber:

Having just devoted a substantial chunk of pro bono legal work fighting governments committed to destroying your gun rights, I was horrified to read the March 2008 editions of several of my favorite gun magazines. Prominently featured in each edition was a feature story about a large manufacturer of 1911-type guns, breathlessly detailing the “gee whiz” details of their newest model dedicated to a California police agency. Each of the stories went into the history of the department the gun was designed for, yet one critical piece of background information was omitted from the tide of “fanboy” coverage.

These guns were all designed for a local government committed to stripping civilians of the right to own this same gun.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love this particular manufacturer, and I personally carry their product almost daily. I have unreservedly recommended their product to students when asked. Honestly, given a choice, I PREFER their product. But there is no avoiding this conclusion: This manufacturer is designing firearms for police agencies in California at a time when California is committed to abolishing civilian ownership of these same firearms. If any of the gun writers who covered the unveiling of this product chose to question the wisdom of this sell-out, I have not yet found it.

There’s a letter writing campaign too.

I remember cringing when one of the gun mags I get said Kimber was selling a special 45 to LAPD’s SIS unit.

Now, I own and carry a GLOCK. And GLOCKs are issued to police in oppressive regimes like NYPD and Chicago PD.

What say you? Should I accept that gun manufacturers should want to make a buck? Or not?

42 Responses to “Making a buck”

  1. Kevin Baker Says:

    I own three of their pistols, a Classic Stainless, an Eclipse, and an Ultra CDP. The Classic I bought new, the Eclipse used, and the CDP I won.

    I love these guns.

    But I won’t be buying another new Kimber, and I intend to tell them so.

    Good post. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. JR Says:

    The large issue with Kimber’s SIS for me is that the pistol is purported to have been developed specifically for an LAPD unit. The same LAPD which has lobbied to register ammunition and supports every anti gun idea that pops up. Kimber is running with this ad campaign because they feel that folks with CHL’s and firearms for home defense would appreciate a firearm developed for the pros.

    One problem. The SIS is not on the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale in CA.

    Kimber has 84 pistols on that list, but not the SIS. Why do they develop something for sale to CA cops that they do not offer to CA residents?

  3. JR Says:

    Oh, forgot to mention that I carry a Kimber. So I’m not bashing them out of spite.

  4. Laughingdog Says:

    It is perfectly reasonable to not buy products from gun companies that are so short sighted that they’ll keep selling firearms to the same state governments that try to hard to ban their products. If enough of us stopped buying their products, and letting them know why, they might finally follow the lead of STI and Barrett.

  5. JT Says:

    As a company involved in commerce, it is their right to sell or not sell to whomever they wish –

    Just as it is OUR right to not purchase from whomever we wish, including those companies we feel may be doing the perfectly WRONG thing.

    Were I in a position to purchase a new Kimber, I would give serious consideration to giving my business to someone like STI instead – and let Kimber know exactly WHY they aren’t getting my money.

  6. HardCorps Says:

    I’m glad you guys are finally recognizing what the sides are. It sure as hell ain’t hunters vs shooters…

  7. nosmo Says:

    “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” -V.I. Lenin

  8. Rustmeister Says:

    It’s not only the gun manufacturers needing to make a buck, it’s also the citizens needing a competently armed police force.

    Imagine your police all carrying Lorcins.

    Don’t get me wrong, Ronnie was right in what he did. They banned his guns, he dropped them. Anytime a government bans a gun, the manufacturer should drop them, if possible. Just not to the point of making Hi Point the sole provider to the police force.

  9. chris Says:

    Many of us, and many gun stores, boycotted S & W 7 or 8 years ago after it entered into its “deal with the devil”/agreement with HUD.

    S & W went through some lean times and then extricated itself from the HUD agreement.

  10. Madrocketscientist Says:

    Gotta disagree there Rusty, I think if the police forces start finding that the only guns they can get are cheap pieces of crap or very, very expensive ones, they might start asking the governments to rethink their positions

  11. ben Says:

    Except, nosmo, that the commies ended up hanging themselves with that rope.

  12. Robert Says:

    I’ve always wondered about this kind of thing. I’d admire Kimber a lot more if they passed on Police business in states that repress the Bill of Rights.

    “Tactical”, by the way, means you use it to shoot citizens.

  13. mike w. Says:

    I don’t think this makes a difference one way or the other, aside from hurting the bottom line of the manufacturer. Even if manufacturers stopped selling to police in commie states HK would jump in and say “Hey, here are some USP’s.”

  14. Robert Says:

    Kopel described the need for a “Goose and Gander” law. If citizens can’t have it-neither can the government.

    Barrett is a patriot. Kimber is selling out.

  15. Joe Huffman Says:

    Uncle, I wondered if that was you that did the search for “joe huffman sti california”. Glad I could help.

    Back on topic… I am fairly understanding of companies sell to repressive regimes as long as the product is primarily used for legal purposes. Should we be hard on Ford for selling cars to those same police departments? Or how about Dell/HP/Gateway/etc selling computers to them? Or Microsoft for selling software?

    I would be intolerant if General Electric, Westinghouse, or some such company, started selling ovens whose primary function was the cremation of the Jews the repressive regime had murdered.

    Between those extremes we have some gray area. IMHO the guns, for the most part will be used for protection of the innocent and I won’t be as vocal about them as I would “the ovens”. But if given a choice between a company that refused to sell to them and one that did sell I would buy from one that did not sell to the repressive regime.

  16. Kevin Baker Says:

    Should we be hard on Ford for selling cars to those same police departments?

    Didn’t Ford stop selling Crown Vics to departments that were suing them over fuel-tank ruptures? Is this not the same thing?

  17. Laughingdog Says:

    “Just not to the point of making Hi Point the sole provider to the police force.”

    Actually, I’d be perfectly happy to see the California police reduced to being unarmed, like most British police, if that’s what it takes to make them finally get rid of the bulk of their gun laws.

    “I’m glad you guys are finally recognizing what the sides are. It sure as hell ain’t hunters vs shooters…”

    There is still an awful lot of that one floating around, and it’s a large part of the hunters that feel the need to box the rest of us into a different side by leaving us out for the wolves. There are two sides: one wants to protect all gun rights, and the other just wants to protect their own gun rights. There are too damn many hunters at my range, and where I work, that blurt out crap like “why do you even need an assault rifle”, without having a clue what kind of gun they are talking about. Along the lines of the original subject of this post, there are too damn many gun manufacturers that just keep selling guns to the same people that are trying to put them out of business.

  18. Laughingdog Says:

    It’s not only the gun manufacturers needing to make a buck, it’s also the citizens needing a competently armed police force.

    There are very few police officers that I’ve met that I would call competently armed, regardless of what brand/model they were carrying. I still loved when a group of Norfolk, VA police officers all tried to insist to me that Glocks all shoot to the left. I told them that only two things make a Glock shoot left: poor trigger technique or misaligned sights. Strangely, none of them were willing to accept my $500 bet that I could shoot their guns better than they could.

  19. Saladman Says:

    I think there’s a difference between just selling to police on the open market, and treating law enforcement and civilians differently. As far as I’m aware Glock doesn’t make a distinction, but Kimber does. I may be biased because I own a Glock but no Kimber. But I think I’d stop buying Glock if they ever start making that distinction.

  20. Laughingdog Says:

    Back on topic… I am fairly understanding of companies sell to repressive regimes as long as the product is primarily used for legal purposes. Should we be hard on Ford for selling cars to those same police departments? Or how about Dell/HP/Gateway/etc selling computers to them? Or Microsoft for selling software?

    If states started banning Fords, Dell Computers, and Microsoft software for civilian ownership, and those companies continued to sell to the governments in those states, I’d be pretty pissed off with them as well. Hell, one reason I get pissed off with Harley Davidson is that they sell bikes to California police, knowing full well those police proceed to equip them with exhausts that violate the same state noise codes that they’ll enforce on everyone else. More importantly, there are dealers there in the state installing those illegal exhausts on those police bikes, when they know they can’t put them on the bikes of any of their other customers.

  21. ATLien Says:

    I think i remember that one state can’t invade another.

    Damn that sucks.

  22. Joe Huffman Says:

    Kevin, that is a little different I think. Laughingdog captures it much better.

    Laughingdog, yeah. I concede the point to you on principle. My only reservation is that the reality of laying people off, cutting back on new product development, or even closing a company can motivate people to do unprincipled things. I’m not saying I would ignore the unprincipled act I’m just saying I would understand why they did it. I would still buy from someone else given a comparable product and let them know there was a price to be paid.

  23. Stormy Dragon Says:

    Hey, do you know who just built a huge new training facility in Sand Diego to train all those LAPD SIS officers?

    Blackwater USA.

    Maybe if Kimber just offers to let you blow up a car with their guns you’ll be back to writing about how cool they are.

  24. SayUncle Says:

    you’ll be back to writing about how cool they are

    Where did I do that the first time?

  25. ParatrooperJJ Says:

    The San Diego facility for Blackwater is for a Navy contract actually.

  26. Stormy Dragon Says:

    They don’t just train the navy there, they also train local and government law enforcement. (cf. http://www.blackwaterusa.com/advanced_training/AT_West_overview.html)

  27. Rustmeister Says:

    I think if the police forces start finding that the only guns they can get are cheap pieces of crap or very, very expensive ones, they might start asking the governments to rethink their positions

    MRS, you’re right, I’d just hope the various governments would stop their foolishness before it came down to that. It would have to be on the cheap side, though. I doubt any .gov would mind spending strong more money. 🙂

  28. Rustmeister Says:

    Oops, messed up the code there.

  29. Linoge Says:

    As the saying goes, every man has his price, some just happen to be lower than others.

    Kimber is a commercial company, interested in making money. If that desire, coupled with whatever passes as their business ethics, indicates they should cater to organizations intent on disarming and disbarring people from their Constitutionally-protected rights, then they are definitely on the field to make a buck.

    That said, we, as consumers, have the right to buy from whomever we so desire, for whatever motivations we desire, and I have a hard time supporting a company that is, directly or indirectly, supporting another organization intent on keeping me from exercising my rights.

    *shrug* I do not, personally, own a Kimber, but I have heard nothing but good things about them, and whenever I finally get around to purchasing a 1911 frame, they were on the list of possible sources… However, I do intend on voting with my dollars, insignificant though they may be.

    And, yeah, it could be argued that other companies are supporting organizations who are intent on stripping me of my rights – and that would be accurate. However, those companies are not providing similar services or products that would be unavailable to me if those anti-rights organizations had their way… A small difference, granted, but an important one in the context of the situation.

  30. Weer'd Beard Says:

    I think there’s a difference between just selling to police on the open market, and treating law enforcement and civilians differently.

    Actully here in Mass that distinction IS made.
    http://www.fsguns.com/fsg_information.html
    I’d say at least half the police here in Mass carry one Glock or another (Boston PD carries G19 IIRC) yet only guns that were sold before Mass banned them in ’94 are legal to be sold by Dealers, and I’ve read of a few people who got cracked frames and ended up just getting a check from Glock as the Mass AG gave them such a hard time about shipping a replacement frame into the state that they just gave fair market value to the customer and cut them loose.

    Glock did go through the trouble of getting their guns approved for Mass sale, but the AG screwed them after the first shipments were sold and ordered dealers to buy back the guns and return them to Glock. More information here:
    http://www.fsguns.com/glocks.html

    I wouldn’t be suprised if Glock had a similar story with Chicago and California.

  31. Mike Says:

    Actually, I think Glock has almost 80% of the Law Enforcement market due mainly to shrewd marketing and Dept head who are not “gun people” making the decisions about what is bought. Personally, I’m a cop who is not in favor of issue pistols and thinks if a gun is illegal for civilian carry, it should be illegal for cops too.

  32. Xrlq Says:

    What say you? Should I accept that gun manufacturers should want to make a buck? Or not?

    Accept it. They’re businesses, not political advocacy groups. It’s great when a gun manufacturer chooses to refuse to sell to cops where civilians can’t buy, but when they do they are going above and beyond.

  33. HardCorps Says:

    Their business is political now. Just like the oil companies. We’ve regressed back to the time of mercantilism, where you have to kiss the feet of the rulers to be able to not be taxed into oblivion.

  34. pax Says:

    I think the article was a good one that took an articulate, rational and well aimed shot at a grave problem. Ronnie Barrett and STI International made the right choice, and I sure hope Kimber’s people have the character and resolve to join with them.

    The thing that was most on target? Ken’s analogy of Kimber enabling an abusive boyfriend!

  35. straightarrow Says:

    Ok, let’s grant that they are in the business to make a buck. And why not? Nobody is in business to break even or sustain a loss?

    The next question; can they make enough bucks to avoid layoffs, lower production and even bankruptcy with the sale of only SIS pistols to that agency?

    Because if the law enforcement business won’t provide them with the revenue they are accustomed to and need to remain viable, how intelligent or capitalistic is it to alienate their major customer base with the proof of their belief that a) the customer base is too ignorant to be incensed at aid to an enemy of their liberty,and b) the company,itself, agrees that non-LEO citizens are not entitled to the same level of liberty aiding and defensively effective tools as are the agents of the entity trying to strip the citizen of his constitutionally guaranteed and inalienable rights?

    Leaving out the morality aspect of it, if they are trying to “make a buck” they may well end up losing many more than they make.

    So, not only is their stance wrong it is economically stupid. Unless, of course we are more stupid and continue to buy their wares. Which is a possibility.

    I still will not buy anything made by S&W. I own one, a very fine firearm, I will never sell it, trade it or let anyone else shoot it. Because I don’t want to do anything that will aid S&W. Yeah, I know they recanted and Tompson (Tomkins?) sold them to an American concern. I would rather have seen them boycotted so strenuously that there would have been no value to entice a prospective buyer. Now, we would be talking effective clout for when the next company hurt us and relied on recouping a fortune during a sell-off. Much better they lose all, or that the subsequent owner lost all. That would put one Hell of a damper on “make a buck and screw our main customers” process.

    just my view. Can you tell, I don’t tolerate enemies of my liberty or their assistants well?

  36. Joe Says:

    STI really hasn’t stopped selling to Kali. The just made Bar-Sto a disstributorship deal and sell them branded frames & slides which Bar-Sto then builds. I understand Bar-Sto has some Kali LE contracts.

  37. Gary Says:

    Link broken for letter writing campaign.

  38. SayUncle Says:

    gary, site looks down for maintenance. try later.

  39. Patrick Says:

    This so called boycott is ridiculous. Get real. Gimme a break. Okay, let’s discuss.

    I understand you’d like to boycott Kimber because they – horror of horrors – sell guns to Kalifornia Police Departments. (And worse, these are 1911’s with a special SIS marking on the handle.) I also understand that you equate the Police Departments to Kalifornia Oppressive Regime. Now that’s a leap I’m not willing to make. Since when did the Kalifornia Police become the makers of the Kalifornia Oppressive Regime political policy. (Okay, let’s forget about New Orleans for now.)

    Good grief, you’d have to boycott everything sold in Kalifornia and purchased by anyone employed by any state or municipal agency. What are you going to buy or eat if that is really your standard?

    The logic of this so-called Kimber boycott is juvenile at best, and, well, just downright foolish.

  40. SayUncle Says:

    Since when did the Kalifornia Police become the makers of the Kalifornia Oppressive Regime political policy.

    since they took one of their rifles to a press release and said see, look how scary these are.

  41. B Smith Says:

    Wow, thanks for the info. I copied the article to show to my local dealers, and a few friends.
    I’m not currently in the ‘Buy a Kimber’ league right now, either, but this definitely means that, unless they change, I will not enter that league in the future.
    Writing my letter now.

  42. Nick Says:

    Patrick says,

    Good grief, you’d have to boycott everything sold in Kalifornia and purchased by anyone employed by any state or municipal agency. What are you going to buy or eat if that is really your standard?

    The logic of this so-called Kimber boycott is juvenile at best, and, well, just downright foolish.

    No, your logic is what’s foolish. I don’t have to boycott everything sold in California to be consistent. I only have to boycott companies who sell things to “only ones” in CA but are prohibited from selling the same product to its peaceful citizens.