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Springfield Armory's Controversy: How the Firearms Brand Stirred Up Debate

By    |   Monday, 27 April 2015 04:31 PM

Sale and use of semi-automatic weapons are deeply divisive issues, inevitably drawing companies who manufacture them into the debate.

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Over the years, the Springfield Armory manufactured a wide range of weapons from muskets after being established two centuries ago by George Washington to semi-automatics. It’s the latter weapon that has often been mired in controversy.

According to the NRA, semi-automatic firearms have been around since the late 19th century; the first semi-automatic rifle was used in 1885, with the semi-automatic pistol appearing on the scene in 1892. The first semi-automatic shotgun made its debut in 1902. John Garand, who spent his career at Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, invented the M1 semi-automatic rifle, which was used by the U.S. military. In 1959, the M1 was replaced by the M14.

The original Springfield Armory closed in the mid-1960s, but the name was sold to the Reese family, which continued to keep the M14 legacy alive. The new company introduced the M1A, a semi-automatic version of the M14 for the gun-buying public, according to its website. Springfield Armory’s M1A Series, includes several options, including the Standard M1A model, the M1A Scout Squad model, and the National Match M1A, which is made for competitive sport. Several other semi-automatic models are also available.

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With its business depending on semi-automatics, any move on a national or state scale in favor of gun control would affect Springfield Armory’s business. Business Insider listed Springfield as one of the gun manufacturers that offers financial support to the National Rifle Association, which in turn fights and lobbies to push back gun control.

“Today less than half of the NRA's revenues come from program fees and membership dues,” the Insider reported. “The bulk of the group's money now comes in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources.”

On its own, Springfield Armory doesn’t spend much money on lobbying activities; in the 2014 election cycle, OpenSecrets.org reported that individuals at the company donated just $13,000 to a political candidate.

It takes going back to 2007 to even see the company CEO Dennis Reese speak out against legislation that would limit gun sales. Specifically, Reese and his brother/co-owner Tom Reese spoke out against Illinois legislation that would have made it illegal to make magazines that hold more than 10 bullets. The legislation, they told QCOnline.com, would have put them at a competitive disadvantage in such a way they may have to relocate.

“It would create a lot of soul searching for us,” then spokesperson Bill Dermody said. “We would have to make reduced capacity magazines for our guns to comply. It would put us at a significant competitive disadvantage with other gun manufacturers across the country.”

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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Sale and use of semi-automatic weapons are deeply divisive issues, inevitably drawing companies who manufacture them into the debate.
guns, springfield armory, firearms
Monday, 27 April 2015 04:31 PM
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