Op-ed Pieces

As published in Sierra Times

Below is a letter from Mr. Ronnie Barrett to the Chief of Police in Los Angeles California. Barrett's position should be one all firearms manufacturers take in dealing with law enforcement agencies that toe the line of their tyrannical employers who support disarming the public.

Barrett has seen himself become the primary target of the Washington based Violence Policy Center. The VPC has engaged in a program of deception and out and out lies against Barrett Firearms Company. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, VPS released the following outrageous statement:

U.S. Gun Industry Sent Weapons to Osama bin Laden.

The transfer of 25 Barrett anti-armor sniper rifles was revealed in the 2001 criminal trial of bin Laden operatives convicted of bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa. Government witness Essam al Ridi, a naturalized Egyptian, testified that he bought the 25 anti-armor sniper rifles and shipped them to bin Laden's group.

Upon delving further into VPC's release, we learn that the time frame was 1988-89, during a period when the U.S. was aiding bin Laden and his rebels in their fight against the soon-to-be-former Soviet Union. Further investigation reveals that Barrett sold these items to the U.S. Government, and it was they who sent the .50 caliber "anti-armor" rifles to the Middle East.

Tired of dealing with the propaganda campaign of the antigun crowd, Ronnie Barrett decided to fight fire with fire and sent this letter to the Chief of Police in Los Angeles. We should all use this letter as an example and mail it to all the folks in the firearms industry and urge they follow Barrett's shining example.

Barrett Firearms Letter of Opposition to the proposed LA Ammo Ban

December 11, 2002
Via Facsimile (213) 847-0676 and U.S. Mail

Chief William J. Bratton
Los Angeles Police Department
150 North Los Angeles Street
Re: LAPD 82A Rifle, Serial No. 1186
Point of Contact: Jim Moody
213 485 4061

Dear Chief Bratton,

I, a U.S. citizen, own Barrett Firearms Mfg. Inc., and for 20 years I have built .50 caliber rifles for my fellow citizens, for their Law Enforcement departments and for their nation's armed forces.

You may be aware of the latest negative misinformation campaign from a Washington based antigun group, the Violence Policy Center. The VPC has, for three or so years, been unsuccessful in Washington, D.C. trying to demonize and ban a new subclass of firearms, the .50 caliber and other "too powerful" rifles. This type of nibbling process has been historically successful in civilian disarmament of other nations governed by totalitarian and other regimes less tolerant of individual rights than the United States.

The VPC's most recent efforts directs this misinformation campaign at your state, attempting to get any California body to pass any law against .50 caliber firearms. In March 2002 the VPC caused the California State Assembly, Public Safety Committee to consider and reject the issue by a 5 to 0 with 1 abstaining vote.

Regrettably, the same material has been presented to your city council. I personally attended the council meeting in Los Angeles regarding attempts to bar ownership of the .50 caliber rifle in your city. I was allowed to briefly address the council. The tone of the discussion was mostly emotionally based, so the facts that I attempted to provide were ineffective to the extent they were heard at all. The council voted to have the city attorney draft an ordinance to ban the .50, and further, to instruct the city's representatives in Sacramento and in Washington D.C. to push for bans at their respective levels.

At that council meeting, I was very surprised to see an LAPD officer seated front and center with a Barrett 82A1 .50 cal rifle. It was the centerpiece of the discussion. As you know, there have been no crimes committed with these rifles, and most importantly, current California law does not allow the sale of the M82AI in the state because of its detachable magazine and features that make it an "assault weapon." This rifle was being deceptively used by your department. The officer portrayed it as a sample of a .50 cal rifle currently available for sale to the civilians of Los Angeles. One councilman even questioned how this rifle was available under current laws, but as I stated, facts were ineffective that day.

Your officer, speaking for the LAPD, endorsed the banning of this rifle and its ammunition. Then he used the rifle for photo ops with the Councilmen each of whom, in handling the firearm, may have been committing a felony. I was amazed.

Since 1968, with the closing of the U.S. Springfield Amory, all of the small arms produced for the various government agencies are from the private sector. Every handgun, rifle or shotgun that law enforcement needs comes from this firearms industry. Unless the City of Los Angeles has plans of setting up its own firearms manufacturing, it may need to guard the manufacturing sources it has now.

When I returned to my office from Los Angeles, I found an example of our need for mutual cooperation. Your department had sent one of your 82A1 rifles in to us for service. All of my knowledge in the use of my rifle in the field of law enforcement had been turned upside down by witnessing how your department used yours. Not to protect and serve, but for deception, photo opportunities, and to further an ill-conceived effort that may result in the use of LA taxpayer money to wage losing political battles in Washington against civil liberties regarding gun ownership.

Please excuse my slow response on the repair service of the rifle. I am battling to what service I am repairing the rifle for. I will not sell, nor service, my rifles to those seeking to infringe upon the Constitution and the crystal clear rights it affords individuals to own firearms.

I implore you to investigate the facts of the .50, to consider the liberties of the law-abiding people and our mutual coexistence, and to change your department's position on this issue.

Sincerely,
BARRETT FIREARMS MANUFACTURING, INC.
Ronnie Barrett, President