Small Arms, Long Reach: America’s Rifle Abroad
ON January 16th 2016, two California National Guardsmen pleaded guilty in a Federal court to a variety of weapons trafficking charges. They had previously worked in an Army National Guard armory not far from San Diego, and, being entrepreneurial sorts, had gone about gathering a small cache of guns to sell themselves. Some were military-issued, others were purchased in Texas (both over-the-counter, with serial numbers, and “hot,” with serial numbers defaced). The Guardsmen thought the guns were destined for south of the border; in fact, their client was an undercover ATF agent, and his purchases from the Guardsmen – three AR-15-style rifles, an AK-47, numerous high-capacity magazines, more – ultimately wound up as evidence at their trial, which was well-reported. Coverage from multiple sources all underlined one particular detail: for one of their meetings with that ATF agent, the two soldiers had arrived in full military uniform.