L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 84, August 7, 2000
Smith & Wesson Announces New Commemorative Handguns
by David Roberson
Special to TLE
SPRINGFIELD, PEOPLEíS REPUBLIC OF MASSACHUSETTS -- Officials at Smith & Wesson, formerly the nationís largest manufacturer of handguns, announced today plans for a new series of commemorative handguns to be introduced this fall.
Officials said the commemorative handguns, part of what the company is calling the Heritage Series, will be specially engraved versions of classic models in the S&W handgun line. The guns will command a premium price, but S&W officials noted that engraved firearms usually are priced much higher than plain guns, and they denied that the new guns are intended mainly to boost plummeting sales for the faltering gun company.
"Certainly weíve had some tough economic times lately due to customer misunderstanding of our recent pact with the dev--Ö, I mean, our agreement with the federal government," said S&W spokesman Joseph M. Blow. "But itís ridiculous to suggest that a series of commemorative guns could reverse the sales decline weíve experienced since our selloutÖ, er, I mean, since signing that agreement.
"We realize that some misinformed consumers will probably continue their boycott of S&W products, and we accept the Senateís recent decision that will prevent our company from getting preferential treatment in government gun-purchasing contracts," Blow said. "But our agreement with the government was never about improving our position in the market. We betrayed our industry, our customers, and the Constitution for other reasons."
Blow said sales of Heritage Series models are expected to be limited, "but thatís fine. These special commemorative guns are designed to honor our glorious heritage, and for no other reason."
Blow offered these descriptions of the guns in the new S&W Heritage Series:
The Judas Iscariot -- This version of the Model 36 will feature fine scrollwork engraving and 30 small silver inlays. "If you look at the historical treatment of Jesusí early followers, itís clear that Judas has never really gotten the same recognition as the other disciples," Blow said. "Itís unfortunate that because he made one decision that was misrepresented by extremists among the Apostles, Judas has been denied the honor he deserves. We think this beautiful commemorative will help correct that error."
The Benedict Arnold -- This gun, a version of the Model 629, will be decorated in a patriotic motif including both the 13-star Betsy Ross flag and the British Union Jack. "It symbolizes General Arnoldís tough decision to go over from one side to the other," Blow explained. "In a world in which acting from political expedience has somehow gotten a bad name, we thought it was time to recognize that not everyone possesses the courage to act from principle."
The Neville Chamberlain -- This gun, a special non-firing version of the Model 10, will be heavily decorated with palm-leaf engraving and the motto "Peace in our time," a slogan popularized by former British Prime Minister Chamberlain. "Not every political leader can be a tyrant," Blow explained, "but many of them are proud advocates of the cause of appeasing tyrants. With the Chamberlain model, we give those political leaders their due." Blow noted that the Chamberlain model recognizes S&Wís British heritage -- the gunmaker is owned by a British firm -- since it honors a British politician. Also, he said, because the Chamberlain model is not a functioning firearm, it can actually be owned by subjects of the British police state.
The Vidkun Quisling -- This gun, the only semiautomatic handgun in the series, will be based on the Model 639. It will be liberally engraved in a Norwegian snowflake motif, with the gunís back embellished with a gold inlaid dagger. "The word Ďtraitorí is thrown around so easily sometimes, without taking the time to understand the complicated circumstances in which it is sometimes advantageous, I mean necessary, to become a traitor," Blow said. "We hope this new model will encourage people to think twice before using that word so casually. After all, if more people didnít have morals or personal convictions, they might become traitors, too."
Blow said that S&W officials will monitor sales of the Heritage Series before deciding whether to proceed with a second limited-edition series under consideration by the firm. This second group of guns has tentatively been named the Presidential Service Series, Blow said.
"But we donít envision it as a group of commemoratives honoring American presidents who have served our country," Blow said. "We intend for this new series to honor special people who have been of particular service to various American presidents."
For example, Blow said, the first model in the proposed Presidential Service Series would be The Bill Clinton, and would feature detailed engravings of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and S&W President Ed Schultz. He declined to say whether the engravings would depict Lewinsky and Schultz actually servicing President Clinton.