By Henry Bowman
A couple months back, I crossed state lines to purchase two beautiful relics of war. Well, they weren’t actually beautiful. They’d been abused, mistreated, left out in the elements, and were generally neglected. Strictly speaking, they weren’t relics either. I mean, they’re old and from a bygone era, but they’re definitely “modern.” I’d spotted them in a classified ad, called up the guy, negotiated a price and set up a meet. As a tinkering hobbyist, I receive great joy from restoring such equipment to its former glory. I paid in cash, took no bill-of-sale, and loaded them up. No paperwork, no ID, no background check. Just cash and carry, so to speak . . .
When I got home, I immediately set to work. First, I had to completely strip them down. With all the parts laid out in my shop, the tedious job of rust removal began. I salvaged what I could, bought or built replacement parts for the pieces too far gone. Swapped out a few bolts, pins, brackets, etc. until they were functional again. Then, I began to work on aesthetics. Try to imagine, the high-gloss polished wood, gleaming steel, crisp and clean lines. Over the next month, it all came together, producing two completely restored, fully functional war machines.
With my labor of love complete, I posted them for sale via various internet classified sites. I eventually got a bite from a collector up north. He sent payment and I arranged for delivery. They shipped out last week, directly to his door. No licensing, no transfer fees, no registration, no taxes, and no forms; just good old unfettered free trade.
Right now, you might be wondering why someone would openly admit to egregious violations of numerous federal regulations, but I assure you, everything I did was completely legal. My efforts were focused on the restoration of a 1943 Wileys Jeep and a Harley Davidson WLC of the same year.
“Hey, these entries are supposed to be about guns!”
Well, that’s just the point, isn’t it? If I’d done any of what I just described with firearms, I would have committed probably half a dozen felonies and, if caught, face many years in Federal “PMITA” prison. Why, when in reality there is no difference between military surplus vehicles and military surplus weapons (or any weapon for that matter… or any vehicle)!? They’re both fun, beautiful, functional, useful in combat, and potentially dangerous. They require training in proper use and care in operation. They’re tools! Inanimate objects with no inherent moral capacity. The same argument is true of chainsaws, baseball bats, swimming pools, and rope.
Every liberty-loving gun owner knows this. The point has been made often enough and most recognize the truly bad intentions behind the laws. We can all see that the irrationality, inconsistency, hypocrisy, arbitrariness, and downright meddlesomeness of existing firearms regulation (and, dare I say, all federal regulations) is a clear demonstration of the burdensome yoke we wear in this “Land of the Free.” The question is “What do we do about it?”
My answer: Become an Unlicensed Dealer*.
* This work of fiction/opinion is written to demonstrate the absurdity of all firearms-related laws and regulations. I am NOT actually an unlicensed dealer. NSA, please don’t send ATF goons to raid my home.