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Heckler & Koch Gun Control: Five Quotes From the Heated Debate

By    |   Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 12:41 PM

A gun maker doing business in the United States can expect to take part in some form of the debate regarding Second Amendment rights. When it comes to gun control for German high-end gun maker Heckler & Koch, that debate took a very specific form in 2012. H&K distanced itself from the editor of a startup gun magazine – who agreed with the company's policy regarding one of its guns.

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More than most, the gun maker couldn't afford to alienate a significant – and vocal – segment of its market, according to a 2013 article by the Pulitzer Center. "For Heckler & Koch, everything depends on the demand from the U.S. market," gun industry expert Peter Lock was quoted in an article by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Things blew up when Jerry Tsai, founding editor of Recoil magazine, agreed with H&K's decision to not sell its MP7 "Personal Defense Weapon" – a gun H&K's web site identifies as an "enhanced-performance submachine gun" – to non-police and non-military users.

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"The MP71A is unavailable to civilians and for good measure. We all know that's technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of," Tsai wrote in the magazine's fourth issue. The original article in Recoil its entirety is available by subscription, but the quotes from it are included in coverage by Guns and Ammo magazine.

Pro-gun-rights people such as blogger Herschel Smith immediately seized on the "sporting purposes" qualifier in Tsai's article: "(F)or something to have a 'sporting purpose' means nothing more than it can be taken to the range and operated by the owner to his or her entertainment or training. The shooting skills … are sports. All of them. Period. This is non-negotiable. If it is a firearm, it has a sporting purpose."

Heckler & Koch distanced itself from Tsai's editorial as many firearms-related companies pulled their ads from the magazine. "Heckler & Koch has a long presence in the U.S. civilian market and throughout that time has been an ardent and passionate supporter of the Second Amendment and the American civilian shooter. This will always be the case," the company said in a statement quoted on Guns.com.

"The Second Amendment doesn't come with the caveat of being only for sporting purposes and for good reason," blogger Bryan Black wrote on itstactical.com."The primary purpose for owning a gun is for defense. Maybe Mr. Tsai has forgotten that if it wasn't for civilian weapons, we'd still be a British colony."

So, what was the final fallout? Jerry Tsai stepped down as editor of Recoil to "allow Recoil to continue to grow and engage gun enthusiasts."

Recoil Magazine, despite gleeful predictions from Tsai's more venomous critics, is still publishing its mixture of guns, gear, and pictures of girls with guns.

It's still illegal to for a civilian to have an MP7 in the United States, though firearms blogger "Alex C." created a stir on TheFirearmBlog.com with an April Fool's Day 2014 prank post about test-firing a non-existent "civilian version."

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

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A gun maker doing business in the United States can expect to take part in some form of the debate regarding Second Amendment rights. When it comes to gun control for German high-end gun maker Heckler & Koch, that debate took a very specific form in 2012.
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Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 12:41 PM
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