Historical artifact repatriation: firearms from overseas
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For many years our service people serving oversea had the opportunity to bring back historically significant or "trophy" type gear and equipment from foreign lands. Cases involving weapons were sometimes de-militarized and/or placed in the custody of military units, museums and so forth. Especially in the case of weapons that were of the cannon or fully-automatic variety, they were rendered safe and inoperable so as to comply with our current federal laws.
In more recent days the policy has been to severely limit what can be returned to the United States although it would not violate any laws here in the states. Sometimes this is mistakenly interpreted as part of the law of land warfare as; "U.S. Soldiers/Marines don't steal". However, military material that has been discovered or captured does not fall under the definition of being stolen. In many cases this results is historically significant items being destroyed instead of providing their preservation in museums, archives, testing centers like the Aberdeen Proving Ground and others, or even in the hands of our veterans if they are items that can be legally owned.
This is especially offensive when the material to be demolished are historically significant, legal to own, and were often initially paid for by the United States Taxpayers. Many times these curios are staged for destruction with historically significant items sitting side by side with American material because our service people are denied the age old permission to claim them under honest prize or trophy rules. Routinely destroyed during the early parts of the Iraq/Afganistan conflicts were vintage foreign and rare rifles such as Mausers, Enfields and countless others, some over 100 years old, right along side M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, 1903 Springfields that are perfectly legal to own today in the United States. These are historically significant and/or were originally the product of our forefathers defending the freedom of the United States.
Please help take the steps needed to preserve that history and to allow these unique, rare, and becoming-more-scarce items to be brought home with our service people.
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