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I designed AK-47s to defend USSR - it's not my fault terrorists use them

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Desertdog, Jun 10, 2006.

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  1. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

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    I designed AK-47s to defend USSR - it's not my fault terrorists use them
    HENRY MEYER IN MOSCOW
    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=854842006&format=print

    IT WAS the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that motivated Mikhail Kalashnikov to design the assault rifle that bears his name. But, six decades later, he laments its transformation into the worldwide weapon of choice for terrorists and gangsters.

    The 86-year-old Russian gun- maker says: "Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question, 'How did it get into their hands?'

    "I didn't put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists and it's not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon?"

    The question is especially acute, as an 11-day United Nations' conference on curbing the small-arms trade is due to convene later this month in New York. Mr Kalashnikov may send the delegates a statement.

    Sturdy, simple and cheap, and firing 600 bullets a minute, the world's estimated 100 million Kalashnikovs account for up to 80 per cent of all assault rifles. In Africa's civil conflicts or in violence-ridden Latin American nations, they sell for as little as £8.

    The weapon's genesis dates back to 1941, when Mr Kalashnikov was in hospital with severe wounds from a German shell that hit his tank in the battle of Bryansk in western Russia. Thinking about the Soviet forces' inferiority due to their lack of an automatic weapon, he had a brainstorm one night and jotted down a rough design that he worked on for much of the next six months, assisted by Red Army colleagues.

    They worked, he says, "in a burst of enthusiasm, out of a huge desire to make a contribution to victory over the fascist invaders".

    That weapon would become the Kalashnikov, also called the AK-47 after the year the design was finally perfected. Two years later, it became standard issue for the Soviet army.

    It came too late for service in the Second World War, but it earned its reputation in the Cold War that followed, exported by the Soviet Union to arm Third World allies and insurgents.

    The rifle proved ideal for desert and jungle - easily assembled and able to keep firing in sandy or wet conditions that would jam an American-made M-16 equivalent.

    Although the Soviet Union is dead, the Kalashnikov's empire thrives. It is manufactured in updated models in more than a dozen countries and is used by the armed forces of more than 50 states, as well as militant groups from Afghanistan to Somalia.

    It is seen in Osama bin Laden's videotapes and on the flags of Mozambique and the Hezbollah fighters of Lebanon. "We sold the weapons to some countries at a symbolic price, or even for nothing, with the aim of assisting national liberation struggles. Of course, this meant the Kalashnikov became available around the world," its designer says.

    Today, it is the first piece of technology many children in conflict zones will encounter. Boy soldiers routinely carry the weapon. It has also come back to haunt the modern Russian army. In the war in Chechnya, both sides wield Kalashnikovs.

    Viktor Myasnikov, a defence expert from the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper in Russia, says many imitations are produced in Africa.

    At the UN conference, human rights groups will push for an international treaty banning the export of small arms and other conventional weapons to countries where they are likely to be used to destroy human rights.

    Mr Kalashnikov says Amnesty International and Oxfam have asked him to write a statement for their campaign against small-arms proliferation, and he is thinking of sending a separate statement to the UN conference.

    Izhmash, the company in the Russian city of Izhevsk that manufactures the AK series, refuses to name customers. Mr Myasnikov says the rifles have only been sold in their thousands each year, and that they are exported to Latin American and Middle East police. But a recent Venezuelan order for 100,000 has hugely boosted production.

    Mr Kalashnikov is still the state-controlled company's chief designer. He never made any money from royalties because his invention was never patented: "At that time, patenting was not an issue... we worked for socialist society, for the good of the people, which I never regret."

    He is proud that US soldiers in Vietnam and Iraq have compared the Kalashnikov well with the M-16.

    • Kenyan police said yesterday a man killed five people in a rampage with an AK-47. A mob beheaded his brother after failing to find him.
     
  2. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Mikhail Kalashnikov, the next Alfred Nobel? Well, except he doesn't have the money to start his own foundation.

    Fact is, just about everything gets abused somehow. It's just that explosives and firearms are a little easier to abuse.

    Terrorists use AK's so much for the very reason that the USSR, Commie Block, and poor nations used and loved them: They're cheap to make, easy to maintain, extremely reliable and accurate enough. Their ready availability in countries that only marginally secure them only exasperates the problem.
     
  3. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

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    I am sure the Wright Brothers would be thinking the same thing about their airplane:(

    Kevin
     
  4. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    I agree with Mr. K's thoughts. Not his fault the terrorists use a good, inexpensive weapon. Maybe his country's fault they exported so many to so many different governments? Not my call. However,


    This scares the snot out of me. Anyone remember the last UN council on small arms? They really wanted a resolution CONDEMNING PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF SMALL ARMS. It was repeatedly vetoed by the US delegate, recently appointed by recently elected President Bush (first time around.) Final result was a resolution condemning illegal use of small arms.

    I shudder to think how that might have turned out had AlGore appointed the delegate. If that first resolution had passed, would the (liberal-led) US government have endorsed the resolution? What would've happened next? Shudder.

    Let's watch this one very, very carefully.
     
  5. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    No, not MK's fault, but he's not saying that the USSR and now Russia aren't selling them/giving them away to anyone with a trigger finger?

    (One more thing we can't get in California.)
     
  6. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    Good thing China makes their own small arms. I wonder if North Korea does.
     
  7. twency

    twency Member

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    I have no sympathy for this unrepentant socialist.

    -twency
     
  8. Langenator

    Langenator Member

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    You know, I was under the impression that the right to keep and bear arms IS a human right.

    The problem is not the tool, it is in how it is used, and by whom.
     
  9. Leanwolf

    Leanwolf Member

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    A couple of years ago, I read in one of the gun magazines that over the years, there have been over one billion AK47s manufactured. Nothwithstanding those that have been destroyed, etc., those are still a lot of AKs for the U.N. to confiscate.

    FWIW. L.W.
     
  10. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    according to IANSA there are 650 million guns in the world,
    one for every ten people, and 200 million are owned by private
    citizens in the US.

    I saw that "one billion" figure for AK production in an
    earlier article about Mikhail in the MSM. I do not think
    they have their facts right. BUT even the more realistic
    figure of 60 to 70 million AKs would be one out of ten guns
    in the world. Compare that to 6 million M1 carbines,
    1 1/2 million Thomspons, or 4 million Winchest 1894s,
    that is a lot of one model.
     
  11. progunner1957

    progunner1957 member

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    Do your part, fellow Americans!

    So United States citizens own almost 1/3 of all the guns in the entire world?
    Makes me proud to be an American!:D

    Let's all do our part and see if we can get it up to 1/2!!

    I gotta get me a few AK47's...
     
  12. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    I don't believe he asked for any.
     
  13. AF_INT1N0

    AF_INT1N0 Member

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    I think MK's got it all wrong. AK's have been the guns of the people for several years. His firearms has no doubt saved millions from extermination from their own governments. Inexpensive, easy to use, easy to re-create. Hell, some of the afgans make their own; using charcoal kilns to harden the metal.

    As far as not being able to get them in Califrornia, odd how those in charge wouldn't want that kind of weapon in PRK, isn't it? :scrutiny:

    Damn fine rifle. hell they should do a Miller light toast to Mikail Kalishnakov

    [Music/] Mr. AK-47 inventer! [/music]
     
  14. twency

    twency Member

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    Ok, if we're going to be picky, I don't believe I said he did.

    Whether or not he asked for any sympathy, he "laments" the use of his weapon by certain people, whose goals he disapproves of. He can lament all he wants, but I'm not going to shed any tears for him.

    He made a gift to "socialist society", and "socialist society" passed on his gift to millions of enemies of the USA and our allies worldwide. He is unrepentant about supporting socialist society, even though socialist society willingly shared his invention with many of the people he "laments" having it.

    I interpreted the tone of the story as an attempt to seek sympathy for the poor, misunderstood inventor, who never realized his weapon would be used for ill. I don't have any problem with his creation of the weapon (quite the contrary). I dislike his apparent ongoing support for the Soviet socialist movement.

    I may have misinterpreted the tone of the original article, but that's where I was coming from with my comment. Does that help clarify it?

    -twency
     
  15. oh blanky

    oh blanky member

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    I think it's time for Mr. Kalishnakov to shut his piehole.

    Who honestly give a crap what he thinks?
     
  16. marshall3

    marshall3 Member

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    money for Mr. K

    I think every inventor should profit from his work. It's too bad Mr. K hasn't gotten a dollar for every AK made.
     
  17. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    Yes, it does. Thanks.
     
  18. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    A lot of people.
     
  19. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's look at this in context. If Eugene Stoner had said it, substituting democratic for socialist, folks in other parts of the world would call him an unrepentant capitalist. Kalishnikov was a patriot on the other side. He didn't want to build a terrorist tool; he wanted to build a tool to defend his country and their allies. We can disagree with his politics, and I do, but we can not argue he patriotism. I read in article a while back where he talked about meeting Eugene Stoner. He was shocked that Stoner had never been formally honored by his home country. Kalishnikov has many of the USSR's highest awards, but made nothing from his rifle; Stoner made a fortune, but was never officially recognized. Both men designed weapons for their respective sides of the world with patriotic duty being their primary motivation. The AK and AR families of rifles have developed into the premier military rifles in the world. Just as coalition soldiers are finding Iraqi's with old British Enfields even today we'll also undoubtedly see ARs and AKs all over the world fifty to one hundred years from now.
     
  20. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

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    He designed a weapon which would ensure that millions of his own people would not be laid waste by an invading government.

    Unfortunately, his own government used it themselves to accomplish the same ends, and they also exported it to other places where it has been the tool of both liberation and oppression.

    I believe Mr. Kalashnikov is an honorable man, and designed the weapon with good intentions. Not because I know him personally, but because I have not seen anything to indicate otherwise. The inventor often has little to no control over the end uses of his or her inventions (for example, substances discovered in an attempt to create a pesticide have been used to kill thousands as nerve gas), and that which can be used for good can often be used for great evil. Moral responsibility lies more in the hands of the user than in the hands of the designer.
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    This UN conference is an attempt at global gun control. If you dont' think the treaties drafted there can impact you, you haven't been paying enough attention. Even if the US refuses to sign their proposals, if the EU nations sign off on a treaty that, for example, requires them to sell only to nations with a registration tracking program from seller to seller, then you can kill all the European made firearms goodbye.

    These animals must be STOPPED. They've already shown they have zero interest in stopping genocide around the world. Their efforts are aimed squarely at YOU AND ME--whom they have identified as the real enemy to globalization.
     
  22. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    While I am against UN proposals as a matter of principle, is this "example" an actual proposal or alarmist conjecture?
     
  23. Hyunchback

    Hyunchback Member

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    Oh? Can they ship to my FFL?
     
  24. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    I also believe the Mr. Kalashnikov is an honorable man. If it makes any difference, Eugene Stoner, the designer of the M-16, also thought so. He and Kalashnikov met late in Stoner's life and became good friends. Why not? Both were talented designers, and both did exactly the same thing: design a rifle for their country to use for its own defense.
     
  25. Koobuh

    Koobuh Member

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    "I think it's time for Mr. Kalishnakov to shut his piehole.
    Who honestly give a crap what he thinks?"

    Strangely enough, very many people do, including me.

    Mikhail Kalashnikov is a patriot and excellent engineer who has contributed much to the world of firearms design. His engineering skill contributed to the complete reshaping the world in the 20th century and beyond.
    No single firearm is as easily recognized as his original AK-47 design, and few approach it's elegant simplicity and ruggedness as a select-fire infantry weapon.

    As he himself has stated many times, he designed the AK-47 to protect his motherland from aggression, a very honorable goal no matter what country one may hail from.

    Today, the old politics are best discarded and forgotten, as all political squabbles must be. Socialist or not, I would be so honored to meet this man that I'm not sure I could see straight- he is literally one of my heroes.

    Sadly, Oh Blankey, I can't say the same about you. :rolleyes:
     
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