Gun That Fired the First Shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill Goes to Auction

The gun that fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill is heading for sale Morphy Auctions in Denver later this month.

The Revolutionary War musket belonged to John Simpson, a Private in the 1st New Hampshire Regiment who fought during the historic battle in Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 17, 1775.

As the British troops advanced, Simpson fired his weapon prematurely – disobeying the famous order given to American soldiers not to fire “until you see the white of their eyes”.

Having been passed down by Simpson’s descendents for almost 250 years, the historic weapon will now be offered for sale for the first time, and is expected to sell for up to $300,000.

The musket will be sold along with John Simpson's original military commission dated March 17, 1778 (Image: Morphy Auctions)
The musket will be sold along with John Simpson’s original military commission dated March 17, 1778 (Image: Morphy Auctions)

“We have the privilege of auctioning a firearm that symbolizes one of the most important battles leading to American independence,” said Dan Morphy, President of Morphy Auctions.

“It will be exciting to see whether the Simpson musket ends up in a private or institutional collection.”

The battle of Bunker Hill was one of the most significant early battles of the Revolutionary War.

During the Siege of Boston, British troops attempted to fortify the hills surrounding the city, where they met with resistance from 1,200 colonial troops determined to defend the position.

Although the British eventually captured the hills, the victory cost them a large number of casualties – twice as many as the American troops – and proved that the inexperienced militiamen were more than a match for their experienced soldiers.

They remained more cautious in their tactics for the rest of the war, an approach which some historians believe helped the Americans forces to their eventual victory……..

Grandpa’s Lesson

Pappy took to drinkin’ back when I was barely three.
Ma got pretty quiet. She was frettin’, you could see.
So I was sent to Grandpa and he raised me up real good.
He taught me what I oughta and he taught me what I should.

I learned a heap ‘o lessons from the yarns he liked to tell.
There’s one I won’t forget because I learned it ‘speshly well.
There jist ain’t many folk who live a peaceful, carefree life.
Along with all the good times there’ll be lotsa grief and strife.

But there ain’t many troubles that a man caint fix
With seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six.”

Grandpa courted Grandma near the town of old Cheyenne.
Her daddy was cantankerous – a very greedy man.
He wouldn’t give permission for a fancy wedding day
‘Til grandpa paid a dowry – biggest ever people say.

Her daddy softened up when Grandpa said that he could fix
Him up with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six.

Grandpa herded cattle down around Jalisco way.
Ended up behind some iron bars one dusty day.
Seems the local jefe craved my Grandpa’s pinto mare.
Grandpa wouldn’t sell her so he lit on out of there.

Didn’t take much doin’ ‘cept a couple special tricks
Plus seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six.

Then there was that Faro game near San Francisco Bay.
Grandpa’s cards was smokin’ hot and he took all one day.
He woke up nearly naked in a ditch next early morn’.
With nothin’ but his flannel shirt, and it was ripped and torn.

Those others were professionals and they don’t play for kicks.
He lost seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six.

He begged some woolen trousers off the local storekeep there
Who loaned him both a pony and a rifle on a dare.
He caught those thievin’ cardsharks at another Faro game.
He got back all his property and also his good name.

He left one bleedin’ badly and another mostly lame.
My Grandpa’s trusty rifle shoots just where you choose to aim.

Grandpa’s slowin’ down a bit and just the other night
He handed me his rifle and a box sealed up real tight.
He fixed me with them pale grey eyes and this is what he said,
“You’re awful young but steady too and I will soon be dead.

I’ll bet this here old rifle and this honest money too
Will come in mighty handy just as readily for you.
There jist ain’t many folk who lead a carefree peaceful life.
Along with times of happiness, there’s always woe and strife.

But…..ain’t many troubles that a man caint fix
with seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six.”

Lindy Cooper Wisdom

Winchester Awarded U.S. Army Contract to Manage and Operate Lake City Army Ammunition Plant

Since 2001, Lake City has been run by  Alliant Techsystems, who owned Federal until they split into two companies (Vista Outdoors for commercial & Orbital ATK for military) in 2014 . Olin previously had the contract when they took it over from Remington in 1985.
This is a big change that will take effect in October 2020.
Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see M855A1 ammo hit the commercial market now.

CLAYTON, Mo., Sept. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Olin Corporation (OLN) announced today that its ammunition division, Olin Winchester, LLC (“Winchester”), has been selected by the U.S. Army to operate and manage the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri. Following a one-year transition period, Winchester will assume full operational control of the Lake City plant on October 1, 2020. The contract has an initial term of seven years and may be extended by the U.S. Army for up to three additional years.

“Winchester is honored to have been selected by the Army to operate, maintain and modernize this unique, strategic asset of the U.S. Government’s munitions industrial base,” said Brett Flaugher, President of Winchester. “Our team is fully prepared and 100% committed to the safe, reliable, and responsible operation of Lake City, in the best interest of and service to the U.S. Military.”

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE’S AWARD NOTICE:

Olin Winchester LLC, East Alton, Illinois, was awarded a $28,313,481 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for production of small caliber ammunition and the operation, maintenance, and modernization of the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 27, 2029. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois is the contracting activity (W52P1J-19-F-0742).

ATF says bump stock possession is still a felony.

 

U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In the latest court filing, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, (ATF) has stated that they do not possess the authority to legislate the banning of bump stocks.

A bump stock is a device that allows the user to use the recoil of the firearm in conjunction with a forward pushing motion on the handguard to pull the trigger rapidly. In theory, this combination enables the user to increase the rate of fire of a firearm.

On the day after Christmas in 2018, the ATF released a final ruling on bump stocks stating that the devices are “machine guns.” All machine guns are a National Firearms Act (NFA) Item. Since the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 bans citizens from owning any machine gun produced after 1986, it made every bump stock illegal.

Owners of bump stocks could either destroy their device or turn them over to law enforcement to hold or be destroyed. States like Washington State held bump stock buybacks which paid owners $100 to turn in their bump stocks. If a bump stock owner refused to turn in their device or make it inoperable, they faced a $10,000 fine in ten years in federal prison.

In Aposhian v. Barr, et al., Firearms instructor W. Clark Aposhian of Utah sued Attorney General Bob Barr. He claimed that the ATF lacks the authority to change the definition of a machine gun. The plaintiff further asserts that only congress can make a new federal law that would ban the device.

AmmoLand reached out to our sources in the Firearms Technology Branch of the ATF. Our source, who was not authorized to talk on the matter stated that the new interpretation of machine gun did not come from their branch. He went onto point out that a person doesn’t need a bump stock to bump fire a rifle. He explained how common items like belt loops or rubber bands can be used to bump fire a gun.

Our source went onto say that the Firearms Technology Branch has reviewed bump stocks on multiple occasions since getting one from Slide Fire in 2010. Every time, they have ruled that these devices do not violate the NFA. He speculates that it was pressure from the White House that caused the definition to change, but he states that he doesn’t have direct evidence.

I reached out to several other ATF agents and lawyers about the court filing. All our contacts expressed the view that this admittance isn’t a deal. In the eyes of the ATF, anyone caught with a bump stock is still guilty of a felony, and they will fully prosecute the owner to the full extent of the law.

The ATF isn’t arguing in court that they have the legal authority to change the definition of a machine gun. The ATF is merely claiming they are using the “best interpretation” of the statute.

Sources close to the case on the plaintiff side have also told me that this admittance from the ATF doesn’t do much other than creating headlines. This court filing is not the end of the case, and in all likelihood will have little effect on the outcome since the ATF has never claimed to have the power to legislate.

AmmoLand reached out to several sources in the ATF, but none were willing to go on the record.

ATF Admits No Legal Authority For Bump Stock Ruling

Show of hands, who has been paying attention to the various lawsuits dealing with the ATF’s reinterpretation of Bump Stocks? Because to be completely honest, I haven’t been paying as much attention as I clearly should have been. In their most recent court filing, the ATF has admitted some truly explosive news. Namely, they concede that they do not have the authority to reinterpret the definition of machine guns in the  bump stock ruling under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

ATF Admits No Legal Authority for Bump Stock Ruling

Let’s back up and provide some context. So, on December 26th, 2018, the ATF issued a final ruling on “bump stocks”. A bump-stock is a device that allows an operator of a firearm to simulate automatic fire by muscle power. While previously the ATF had decided that bump-fire or slide-fire stocks were legal devices, they then reclassified them as illegal machineguns. All current owners were ordered to destroy them. If you did not do so, you faced up to 10 years in federal prison.

Naturally, a lot of people became somewhat ticked off that the ATF would seemingly arbitrarily change their ruling to make thousands of Americans potential felons overnight. As a result, many people filed lawsuits. One such lawsuit was filed by the New Civil Liberties Alliance on behalf of plaintiff W. Clark Aposhian.

This Case in Particular

This lawsuit rests on a fairly straightforward presumption. The complaint states that since all legislative powers lie with Congress, the ATF, as a part of the executive branch, cannot reinterpret statutes to mean something else. Since the law regarding machineguns has not changed, bump stocks can’t be reclassified as machineguns.

There are another 30 odd pages of the original complaint, but that’s about the gist of things. Mr. Aposhian is a law-abiding citizen, the ATF told him that bump stocks were legal so he bought one. The filing states that the ATF lacks the authority to reclassify bump stocks, and thus the ATF has violated Mr. Aposhian’s constitutional rights, as well as exceeding its constitutional remit as part of the executive branch.

ATF Bump Stock Ruling Admission – Why Should We Care?

The million-dollar question. Why do we care? Because as of September 18th, the ATF has written a court brief that admits it exceeded its constitutional remit as part of the executive branch. The court filing states specifically that;

The statutory scheme does not, however, appear to provide the Attorney General the authority to engage in “gap-filling” interpretations of what qualifies as a “machinegun”. Congress has provided a detailed definition of the term “machinegun”…

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, on behalf of Mr. Aposhian, quickly filed a for a preliminary injunction. Essentially, as Mr. Aposhian has suffered “irreparable harm” from the deprivation of his lawfully-acquired bump stock, and the ATF (in the opinion of the Plaintiffs) clearly lacks the authority to cause such deprivation, the Final Rule on Bump Stocks should be struck down.

NCLA Brief

ATF’s Brief on the bump stock ruling is behind a login-wall in the PACER system. It can be found in the 10th Circuit Court’s filings, case number 19-4036, Aposhian v. Barr, et al.


ATF Admits It Lacked Authority to Issue Legislative Rule, NCLA Condemns the Agency’s Attempt to Ban Bump Stocks Anyway

This case is not about whether gun control is a good idea. Rather, Mr. Aposhian’s appeal raises key issues about how an agency may create such a ban—that is, whether agency regulations may contradict a statute passed by Congress. The appeal also challenges the notion that a mere interpretive rule can bind third parties, such as owners of bump stocks.

The bump stock rule made it a new federal crime to own a bump stock, even one purchased with ATF’s prior permission. ATF knows it didn’t have the authority to enact such a law. Instead of defending the rule, ATF now pretends the ban is just a recommendation for the public. NCLA is confident the court will see through ATF’s games and strike down this invalid rule.” Caleb Kruckenberg, Litigation Counsel

ATF is caught between a rock and a hard place. The agency lacks legal authority to issue a so-called legislative rule, but a mere interpretive rule is not legally allowed to bind any third parties outside the government. By ordering half a million bump stock owners to surrender their devices—or face prosecution—ATF has acted in a completely unconstitutional fashion. It is high time for the federal courts to put a stop to this regulatory nonsense.”
Mark Chenoweth, Executive Director and General Counsel

Congress could have passed bipartisan legislation making bump stocks illegal. Instead, ATF has tried to ban them via administrative action in the Bump Stock Final Rule. This Court has a constitutional obligation to strike down ATF’s attempted legislative rewrite. Otherwise, the Executive Branch will usurp Congress’ legislative function in other areas, and the Constitution’s careful limits on how laws are made will be undone.

Colt awarded $42 million for M4, M4A1 carbines for U.S., allies

So that’s what the brouhaha was about.

Famed U.S. gun maker Colt has received a $41,9 million foreign military sales contract for M4 series 5.56 mm carbines, according to a recent U.S. Department of Defense news release.

The U.S. Department of Defense has contracted Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC to supply M4 and M4A1 carbines to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Federated States of Micronesia, Hungary, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Palau, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Tunisia.

Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 18, 2024.