LMT Opens New Plant, Confirms Large Military Contract

LMT AR MARS rifle

LMT, founded in Illinois in 1980, in now an Iowa-based company. (Photo: LMT)

LMT Defense this week announced they have successfully relocated their manufacturing plant and headquarters from Illinois to Iowa and are busy filling a huge new military contract.

The company, formerly known as Lewis Machine & Tool, moved from their Milan, Illinois home of four decades to nearby Eldridge, Iowa. The new facility, reportedly more than twice the size of their older one, will better allow for company growth as it consolidates three separate operations under a single roof, which should yield a more streamlined process.

“We are tremendously excited by the opportunities provided by room to grow, expand, and improve our manufacturing processes and capabilities,” said the company in a statement. “LMT Defense was able to quickly and efficiently perform a move, of dozens of class-leading CNC machines, over 120 employees, and nearly 40 years of experience in just a matter of a few weeks.”

While the shift is only about 25 miles south as the crow-flies, LMT president Karl Lewis told local media earlier this year that the atmosphere was more welcoming in the Hawkeye State than in the Land of Lincoln, with a succession of Iowa governors assisting in laying the groundwork for the move.

“For us, Iowa has a better climate,” Lewis said. “The people are more receptive to the needs of business and Eldridge is still part of the Quad-Cities.”

The company last week also confirmed that the Estonian Defense Forces have selected LMT Defense from a field of 12 companies to provide as many as 16,000 rifles to that NATO country’s military. The rifle will be from LMT’s MARS series, including the AR-15 type and AR-10 type rifles, in addition to LMT-produced 40mm grenade launchers. The contract with Estonia, set to run through 2021, includes an option for the purchase of additional weapons through 2026.

The Estonian award is not the first large overseas small arms contract for LMT, as the company is fresh off supplying the New Zealand military with over 9,000 of that country’s new MARS-L rifles. This came after a $30 million deal for DMR rifles with the United Kingdom in 2009.

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FN Announces MK 48 Machine Gun Variant in 6.5mm Creedmoor

FN Mk48 6.5mm Creedmoor

FN this week announced plans to make the MK 48 machine gun, typically chambered for 7.62 NATO, in 6.5mm Creedmoor (Photo: FN)

Virginia-based FN America this week is unveiling a new version of their MK 48 light machine gun chambered in 6.5mm Creedmoor.

To be shown off at the 2019 edition of Special Operations Forces Industry Conference & Exhibition in Tampa, the new chambering comes just after USSOCOM’s qualified the caliber last year. Developed from the now-classic FN Minimi, the standard 7.62x51mm version of the MK 48 was adopted by SOCOM in 2013.

The 6.5 CM model of the gun, which is in the prototype stage, features an adjustable stock for length of pull and cheek height as well as an improved, locking charging handle. The gun has also been updated with an improved, double-notched sear; improved handguard with 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions with a new style bipod; and a more robust feed tray latch.

The MK48 seen in Afghanistan

Both SOCOM special operations units and light infantry such as troops from the 101st Airborne, seen here in Afghanistan, have been using the MK 48 since 2013, chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. In a nod to its roots with the FN Minimi, which went on to become the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the MK 48 is often called the “super SAW” in service. (Photos: U.S. Department of Defense)

Besides the MK 48, which is used by both special operations and light units such as Airborne and Air Assault troops, FN has supplied the military with models of the 7.62x51mm FN MAG — adopted since 1977 as the M240 — and the 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon since 1984. A 5.56mm version of the MK48, the MK 46, is also in SOCOM service as is the FN SCAR and MK 20 SSR rifles. Going back even further, FN is a modern manufacturer of the iconic M2 heavy machine gun as well.

FN is currently one of the five Next Generation Squad Weapon competitors — along with AAI, General Dynamics, PCP, and Sig Sauer — to submit a single NGSW for initial testing to begin sometime this summer to replace the M249 in Army service with a new, 6.8mm, weapon.

In related news, Sig Sauer has been showing off their own new SLMAG lightweight machine gun, a variant of which is billed as a contender for the Army’s NGSW contract. Chambered in .338 Norma Magnum and easily swappable to 7.62 NATO, the SLMAG has a three-position gas setting and is optimized for use with a suppressor– a key aspect of the Army’s next generation of automatic weapons.

Sig SLMAG machine gun

The Sig SLMAG (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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Senate Republicans Introduce Constitutional Carry States’ Rights Act

Springfield TRP 1911

The bill, as introduced, would protect those carrying without a permit in states that recognize constitutional carry from the specter of federal charges should they cross within 1,000 feet of a school zone (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

A bill to keep gun owners in constitutional carry states out of a federal legal pitfall while near a school zone was introduced this month to the U.S. Senate.

The Constitutional Carry States’ Rights Act was filed last week by U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, who stressed the state’s pending permitless concealed carry law could pose an issue for those passing near school zones. In short, the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act bans carrying firearms within 1,000 feet of a school zone, with an exception for those with a carry permit. Supporters of the bill fear that those practicing legal constitutional carry may not meet that exception.

“This legislation would help ensure that gun owners exercising Constitutional carry will no longer be stuck with confusing laws about where they can and can’t have their firearms,” said U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, a co-sponsor.

According to sponsors, the bill, filed as S.1506, would cover both local and out-of-state individuals lawfully carrying a concealed weapon within 1,000 feet of a school zone in states that recognize constitutional carry. The move is needed, points out Enzi’s office, because for example a traveler driving along Interstate 25 in Cheyenne will come within the school zone limit set by the GFSZA, which, if the driver is carrying without a permit, could technically be a violation of federal law.

The Constitutional Carry States’ Rights Act currently has seven sponsors, all Republicans, and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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President Trump Signs Bill Making It Easier to Build, Maintain Public Ranges

Shooting range table

The new law makes it easier for states to use already-existing federal funds to create public gun ranges (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

President Donald Trump recently signed a measure backed by pro-gun groups to increase the number of shooting ranges available on public land. The bipartisan proposal, H.R.1222, was introduced in February and passed in a voice vote in April while the Senate likewise approved a similar bill earlier this year.

Currently, states looking to begin work on public shooting ranges must match federal government grant funds to the tune of 25 cents on the dollar. The range bill signed by Trump this month drops the matching formula to 90/10 while also allowing funds to accrue for up to five years – up from two.

Now law, the move tweaks the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. This 80-year-old law uses an 11 percent excise tax levied on all guns and ammo commercially sold or imported into the country to perform conservation-related tasks such as restoring habitat, funding hunter safety programs and establishing public ranges. Paid for by firearms industry manufacturers, conservation officials announced over $670 million in Pittman-Robertson funds would be available to states this year alone.

The change, which has been proposed in one form or another no less than 29 different times over the past 14 years, was a top priority for the gun industry’s trade group.

“We deeply appreciate President Trump’s swift enactment of this legislation that will give state fish and game agencies greater flexibility to build new recreational shooting ranges and expand and improve existing ranges,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The latest National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, compiled by the federal government every five years since 1955, counted a population of least 11.4 million hunters in the country. These sportsmen, in turn, pumped $25.6 billion into the economy in 2016.

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane said the new range law is important as, “Now more than ever, America’s sportsmen and women need places to hone their skills and learn the fundamentals of hunting and the shooting sports.”

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White House, 2A Groups Urge Supreme Court to Scrap NYC Gun Law

Steyr Arms M9-A1

Gun owners in New York City with “premises permits” are largely restricted from taking their legally-owned guns off the property. A challenge to the ban is now before the Supreme Court. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Over two dozen legal briefs have been filed this month with the U.S. Supreme Court on a case challenging one of New York City’s restrictive gun control laws.

The case, brought by three NYC gun owners and the state’s NRA affiliate, argues the city’s “premises permit” scheme, which drastically restricts the ability to leave one’s premises with a firearm, is unconstitutional. While the nation’s high court has turned away an effort by New York officials to derail the challenge, the justices will have no shortage of paperwork to consider as part of the case.

So far this month, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-AL, and 119 other GOP members of Congress have filed a brief in support of the gun owners, followed by another brief submitted by the allied attorneys general or governors of 24 red states. Add to this are separate briefs from dozens of gun rights groups ranging from Gun Owners of California and the Firearms Policy Coalition to Black Guns Matter, the Liberal Gun Club, and the Pink Pistols. Importantly, the U.S. Justice Department has also gone on record as being against New York’s gun restriction.

“The ban all but negates the textually protected right to bear arms, and interferes with the right to keep arms as well; few laws in our history have restricted the right to keep and bear arms as severely as the ban does, and some of those few have been struck down,” said a 39-page brief filed by the office of Noel Francisco, the U.S. Solicitor General.

Other briefs have been filed by anti-gun groups such as the Brady Campaign and Giffords, who are urging the court not to use New York’s largely unique ban to revisit the Second Amendment as a whole and instead steer clear of larger constitutional questions posed by the case. Notably, these groups have filed their briefs in support of neither party.

No group has filed in support of the city’s law.

The last major gun case the court decided was the McDonald case concerning carry outside of the home in 2010. Since then, the court has ruled in a series of cases concerning guns that are focused more on property law, for instance, that felons could sell their guns after a conviction, rather than challenges brought on Second Amendment grounds.

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LAPD Impound 1,000 Guns from California Man (PHOTOS)

An anonymous tip from a neighbor triggered a search warrant on the Bel-Air residence of a California man that held over 1,000 firearms.

The Los Angeles Police Department on Wednesday described the search warrant at an affluent Holmby Hills residence as “one of the largest recoveries in LAPD history,” and released images of some of the guns heaped on the pavement.

The collection was extensive and wide-ranging, judging from photos released by the LAPD.

LAPD Impound 1,000 Guns from California Man (PHOTOS) (1)

This pile of handguns includes numerous rare Colt “snake” guns, Ruger Blackhawks and Redhawks, Webley break action revolvers, Smith & Wessons of all sorts and at least one Dan Wesson. (Photos: LAPD)

LAPD Impound 1,000 Guns from California Man (PHOTOS) (3)

While this array may look impressive for the cameras, it is heavy with Ruger rimfires including over a dozen 10/22 Takedowns, a Boy Scout commemorative, a few Ruger Mini-14s, and a single M1 Carbine.

Another image shows semi-auto Thompson carbines, more rimfires, hunting rifles, a few AR-pattern guns and a couple of SKSs including one in a TAPCO SVD stock of the type popular in the 1990s.

While authorities say they received info that a person was selling and manufacturing illegal firearms at the location, the man arrested in the case, Girard Saenz, 57, was out on a $50,000 bond Thursday. Saenz is reportedly a contractor who owns several pieces of real estate in both the LA and San Franciso area.

Los Angeles area officials have long maintained a strict policy of melting down recovered and impounded firearms as well as those purchased via “buybacks.” In the past, this has included rare and collectible guns including a pistol once owned by performer Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Florida Governor Signs Bill for More Armed Teachers

HP VP9SK Heckler & Koch in a man's hands

Just 25 of Florida’s 67 public school districts currently participate in the narrowly-structured Guardian Program which bars many types of school employees from volunteering. A new law could bump those numbers up. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday approved a measure that would make it easier to arm educators and school faculty in the state.

DeSantis eschewed calls from gun control groups and signed SB 7030 into law this week. The move allows school or contract employees, as well as law enforcement officers, to be armed under Florida’s new Guardian Program provided they are appointed by the local district superintendent and approved by the school board. The current program is more limited in who can participate, in most cases specifically excluding teachers.

Selected volunteer Guardians must complete extensive training and have a valid concealed carry license. The training course includes some 144 hours, of which about two-thirds consists of firearms use. About half of the districts in the state currently utilize the more narrowly tailored version of the program. As of January 2019, 688 guardians had been assigned to public schools in the 25 participating districts.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled state legislature earlier this year with largely partisan approval.

Nationwide, at least eight other states in addition to Florida allow school employees to carry firearms on campus. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all these states require the employee to get approval from a local school board or superintendent and most require either a concealed carry permit or additional training as a prerequisite.

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