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Originally Posted by virion
I don't think many people would disagree. In the end Germany with their " Pyfekt , JA VOHL" MG42 lost. And there's a reason for it. For every 8 man squad armed with an MG42 2 more men had to follow them with ammunition.
In the meantime M1 Garands assisted with BARs (Or cal.30 on larger operations) could output similar firepower. Well, not similar but it allowed suppressing fire to be effective.

Also after the war Americans used some of the MG42 systems and ...nerfed them. Because of the above. That's how the M60 was born. Rambo exists because of it. We can salute the MG42 for giving us Rambo + a tragic backstory for our civilization and leave it here.

I have a BAR Model D lying around somewhere (I'm really going to have to stop doing that!) Nice gun, only downside being the bottom-loading mag which limits it to 20 rounds; of course FN famously fixed that by making a minor change to the locking mechanism and grafting on a belt feed, so the mag-less BAR Model D became the now very familiar MAG/GPMG/M240-or-whatever-the-US-Army-calls-it.

The M60 was a sort of mix of the FG42 (paratrooper gun, using an almost Lewis-style gas-riven rotating bolt; not a success because 8mm ammunition was way too powerful to be fired on full auto out of something so light, probably being at least one motivating factor behind the development of the StG44) and the MG42, at least its belt feed. Sounded good on paper but was beset by multiple really terrible design decisions: the most conspicuous being that the bipod and most of the gas assembly went on the "quick-change" barrel and the carrying handle on the gun instead of the other way round, making spare barrels unnecessarily heavy and bulky,leaving the gun with nothing to support it while being changed and requiring an asbestos glove due to the lack of carrying handle (heard horror stories about people who tried not using one...) And the tendency of the entire trigger mechanism to just fall off leaving the gun in a runaway firing state and so on. I think they eventually got it right many revisions later but by that time someone had finally decided, why don't we just use the MAG like everyone else?


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Originally Posted by Sadurian
You don't need MBTs for low-tech enemies, but there is nothing to say that these will exclusively be the UK's military enemies for the future. It is worth training and preparing for overseas policing actions, but not at the neglect of our first-line forces developed to face peer enemies. We went down that route in the late C19th and the result was seen in Belgium in 1914. We then went down the same route in the 1920s and 30s, and 1939/40 showed what happened. We have wandered down that same old avenue again, and should the British Army be called upon to deploy, we better hope that the enemy are even worse equipped than we are.

Whilst trawling files in the UK archives at Kew, I came across a press clipping attached to a file. It was an announcement that Britain should never allow herself to be caught unprepared for war by letting her military forces deteriorate in peacetime. The announcement was by Queen Victoria in the late C19th.

Every single time we neglect the expensive forces intended to face peer enemies, the result is that we are caught on the back foot when war against such an enemy breaks out. Tanks aren't something you can suddenly re-introduce at a moment's notice. They need training and integration, logistical practice and experience. That takes years to attain. Worse is the neglect of the domestic tank industry. By allowing it to wither to a token rump f what it was, Britain is in real danger of not having a replacement for Challenger 2. The tank is already obsolescent (but not yet obsolete), and there are no replacement designs in the pipeline. We will either have to collaborate on a new design (and all efforts in that field have historically failed) or buy a foreign design 'of the shelf'. That will be the final nail in the UK tank industry's coffin, as well as becoming reliant on a foreign power for licences, support and training.


And yet, at the start of WW2 the UK, France and to some extent Russia (KV1 for eg) had better tanks with apparently better production rates than Germany. It was to a degree, surprise and good leadership (and probably a lot of luck) that led to the success of the blitzkreig (or so I've read). War drives creativty and I think we saw that during WW2. I think if we ended up in another similar situation, we would see that same drive and creativity. AS long as we dont rely too heavily on code to fight our wars.... Or better still, focus on political and economic causes of conflict and prevent the bloody awful things in the first place. But how realistic is that really...

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Originally Posted by Topper


And yet, at the start of WW2 the UK, France and to some extent Russia (KV1 for eg) had better tanks with apparently better production rates than Germany. It was to a degree, surprise and good leadership (and probably a lot of luck) that led to the success of the blitzkrieg (or so I've read). War drives creativity and I think we saw that during WW2. I think if we ended up in another similar situation, we would see that same drive and creativity. AS long as we don't rely too heavily on code to fight our wars.... Or better still, focus on political and economic causes of conflict and prevent the bloody awful things in the first place. But how realistic is that really...


Not russia. Before the mass production of T-34 and it's variants, they were kinda screwed on this aspect. The same goes for France. Although you are right and their tanks were technically better than most of germans tanks apart from maybe the Panzer III ( and the german army was mostly PII /PI) they didn't use something that obvious as a radio. They were designed as infantry support vehicles and that's how they were deployed and behaved. Not too sure about UK state of tanks before 42.

The thing about leadership and lucke -> I would totally agree personally, read the same thing about the campaign in France. In Russia it was a bit different. I'm still not sure how the french just assumed sending 1 plane to scout the south of Belgium was not worth it but that's what they did and a gigantic german traffic jam went unnoticed laugh Their whole army was on 1 road for a few days and went unharmed. Like if that's not lucke not sure what is.

We'll see how it will go in the future wink In my opinion we'll go with the standard " Naaah, we don't REALLY have a war...." while the whole country just explodes.


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As I have mentioned somewhere on these forums before; the best tank is the one you have available. If your Char B is sat motionless because its wheeled logistics train is stuck in the roads jammed with refugees, then for all that engineering makes it a vulnerable pillbox and not a tank. As Rommel demonstrated. The German tanks in Normandy were badly positioned and struggled to move due to interdiction of their logistical support - even a King Tiger in that situation is less effective than a Sherman which is properly supported and available at the Schwerpunkt. Good tactical use of the tanks you have is also essential, of course, and that depends on communication and training.

Obviously, employment of armour is a major factor in a tank's usefulness. Throwing unsupported tanks against AT gun lines will lose you whole battalions of tanks that could have been battle-winning in other circumstances, and the heaviest tanks need major modification before being effective in built-up areas (and then only when well supported by accompanying infantry).

Last edited by Sadurian; 15/11/20 12:23 PM.
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Originally Posted by vometia
The "tanks are obsolete" thing has been going on since well before I first developed an interest in them, and that was nearly 40 years ago.

I found the first calls that tank were obsolete in a presentation from 1919. The argument that tanks are no longer useful on the battlefield has existed almost as long at the tank itself.

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The BAR is too heavy and unwieldy for what it provides.
I would like to completely disagree with Vometia on the FG42. The initial versions required special steel that was in short supply and even the later redesigns could not be produced in large quantities. The wooden stock was its major weak point. It was hollow in order to make room for the recoil dampening system. If you can get your hands on a good reproduction (sadly no full auto), it is a great rifle and causes much less shoulder pain than the 98.
Of course the 303 didn't suffer the jamming issues in the Vickers gun. Beltfed weapons are immune to the kind of magazine chaos the form of the cartridge provokes. As far as I remember someone shot about a million rounds of 303 from a vickers gun (with lots of barrel changes) without a single jam. Curiously enough the water cooled Vickers is one of a few machineguns that can be legally owned by german citizens in germany.
There is a very nice swiss variant of the MG42, the MG51, which is very reliable and limited to approx. 1000 rounds per minute.

The tanks are obsolete thing has been going on a long time. Its about as longlived as the "battles never change anything" argument. There was a conference of proponents of said thesis in hastings of all places
BAE closed its tank facility at newcastle upon tyne in 2017. Britan can -to the best of my knowledge- not make new Tanks. They would have to build a new facility.

Last edited by ArmouredHedgehog; 15/11/20 04:26 PM.
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The original BAR is a bit of a weirdy in that it doesn't really fit the role of rifle or LMG very well. Though it looked cool in The Omega Man, along with the Swedish (Karl Gustav? I forget now) SMG. The Model D pretty much turned it into an LMG, and the MAG doesn't really need any introduction!

My opinion of the FG42 is admittedly exactly that: or perhaps "conjecture" is a better word. So I could be completely wrong about that; but having experienced the potentially lighter recoil of an SLR (though the 7.62 NATO is slightly higher velocity than the 8mm, it's also a fair bit lighter IIRC) I wouldn't want to try it on full auto even with a damper. I presume the mechanism was similar to the Bren, where the entire upper receiver could recoil about 2-3mm against a very stiff buffer spring. Nothing to do with the functioning of the gun, just to make it less argh to fire.

The one thing the .303 couldn't really do was push-through feeding, so belt-fed weapons had to use a rather more complex system where they'd carefully pluck the cartridge out of the belt, manoeuvre it into place and chamber it. The rather clockwork mechanism of the Vickers is quite a work of art. But magazine feeding wasn't a problem, the Bren being renowned for its solid reliability. I'm still a bit perplexed as to how the stripper clips worked with the Lee Enfield as common sense says that they "shouldn't" with their strange under-over-under-over-under arrangement. But they do.

Oh yeah, and the Vickers endurance test thing. I think it was a million rounds between 10 guns, the most prolific managing about 120,000 shots that evening. One of the biggest problems was obtaining enough coolant, with soldiers reportedly being ordered to "make water". The reports of the boiling water from the Vickers being used to make tea are very sadly nonsense as it would've contained rust, asbestos, cordite and, well, piss.

Edit: with regard to it being legal, I guess that's probably due to it being rather impractical. I mean unless motorbike-and-sidecar drive-bys start to become a thing. I used to work with someone who was an amateur sidecar racer. It's much more insane than I'd expected.

And firing rates: the Vickers was reduced from about 600 rpm in WW1 to about 450-500 in WW2. It seems the boosted firing rate was seen as unnecessarily profligate. Presumably by those who disapproved of the "let's fire a million rounds in one evening lol" publicity stunt.

Last edited by vometia; 15/11/20 04:35 PM.

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Guns are obsolete...Gimme a few lines of code instead.

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As far as I remember the dampening path for the FG42 is much larger than what the clever Czechs did for the Bren. Maybe some people from the factory at Brünn joined the FG42 development after the start of the occupation? They were often involved in the design of the most advanced rifles of the time. The SS renamed one of their most recent creations at the time of occupation the SS41. In my humble opinion the prettiest rifle ever made. Hard to get and I guess no ammo available these days. I wonder about the rights to the design. The locking mechanism reminiscent of a Tank is a thing of beauty and I would really like a 330 version.
"Guns are obsolete...Gimme a few lines of code instead."
Nah, they complement each other. Be a virtuoso in all things that come with Kali and find your opponent, then drop a bunch of good old 150mm shells on them. Combined arms is an evolving concept and encompasses C4ISR
"Edit: with regard to it being legal, I guess that's probably due to it being rather impractical."
Tempting thought. But we are talking about politicians. "Nazi stuff bad, lets limit it to guns produced prior to the third reich. Yeah. Most of these guns were water cooled, shall we ban the others? Whatever, just do it"

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Yeah, but what if your 150mm ammo requisition is intercepted (via hacking skullduggery) and changed to a request for Flumps?.....It could happen.

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Originally Posted by virion
Originally Posted by Topper


And yet, at the start of WW2 the UK, France and to some extent Russia (KV1 for eg) had better tanks with apparently better production rates than Germany. It was to a degree, surprise and good leadership (and probably a lot of luck) that led to the success of the blitzkrieg (or so I've read). War drives creativity and I think we saw that during WW2. I think if we ended up in another similar situation, we would see that same drive and creativity. AS long as we don't rely too heavily on code to fight our wars.... Or better still, focus on political and economic causes of conflict and prevent the bloody awful things in the first place. But how realistic is that really...


Not russia. Before the mass production of T-34 and it's variants, they were kinda screwed on this aspect. The same goes for France. Although you are right and their tanks were technically better than most of germans tanks apart from maybe the Panzer III ( and the german army was mostly PII /PI) they didn't use something that obvious as a radio. They were designed as infantry support vehicles and that's how they were deployed and behaved. Not too sure about UK state of tanks before 42.

The thing about leadership and lucke -> I would totally agree personally, read the same thing about the campaign in France. In Russia it was a bit different. I'm still not sure how the french just assumed sending 1 plane to scout the south of Belgium was not worth it but that's what they did and a gigantic german traffic jam went unnoticed laugh Their whole army was on 1 road for a few days and went unharmed. Like if that's not lucke not sure what is.

We'll see how it will go in the future wink In my opinion we'll go with the standard " Naaah, we don't REALLY have a war...." while the whole country just explodes.



It always surpised me that the UK actually had surplus capacity during WW2 hence the lend/lease thing with Russia. I remmember reading about the KV1 genesis and how when German observers saw it, they were extremly concerned. The Russians actually thought the observers where playing a game with them and felt sure that Germany would have something equally big and dangerous in production or in conception. Sending one scout plane is beyond stupid, totally agree.

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Originally Posted by Topper
Yeah, but what if your 150mm ammo requisition is intercepted .....It could happen.


It could. The enemy could also in theory invent a superior air defense missile and a giant phased array to go along with it. So disband the airforce because it could happen?
Sabotage and disinformation have pretty much always been a part of war. A german unit managed to disguise as americans during the ardennes offensive and sent an american unit packing because they were supposedly about to be replaced at the front.
Nothing fundamentally changed when C3ISR became C4ISR. Computer networks added new ways to disrupt things but that simply constitutes an expansion of the tools of the trade. Cyber Warfare does not replace anything, it merely adds new options. I don't see how the presence of it would make artillery obsolete.
Russia has already tested decoupling its part of the internet from abroad. If you strike first, start by decoupling your network from the rest of the world.
To turn your argument around: What if your hacker farm becomes useless by a 20 Dollar grenade blowing up its electricity supply? Easy to repair. Lets up the game: What if a submarine (Losharik comes to mind) places shaped charges over all subsea cables connecting your nation with the rest of the world and someone triggers them? Let us leave the realm of mere theory: It has placed them, that is the reason for its existence.
I think that this whole idea of network centric warfare is somewhat naive. Look at what happened in Ukraine: Jamming. Forget about wireless networks in a peer war. Satellites will be shot down, the electromagnetic spectrum will bristle with noise. Is hacking a part of warfare now? Yes Does it make anything obsolete? No
Critical infrastructure should not have an IP address. I think that the most useful aspect of IT based attacks is to be found in measures short of war. Sabotaging the economy of the enemy while maintaining plausible deniability is a bigger threat than interference with the military supply chain. Of course there were successful malware attacks on military infrastructure like the Israeli Stuxnet sabotage of Irans centrifuges. They usually require spies at the place (no network connection) and in-detail knowledge of the facility.
In contrast something like a steel plant with its Windows CE based security hole of an operating system is a trivial target. The whole IoT pandemic of microcontroller infested networked devices makes everything from church bells to IP Cameras to milling machines available on the net. Often without the need to exploit security loopholes: The interfaces are HTML and show up by simply typing in the IP. No password required. Add naive employees susceptible to opening attachements to the mix and it becomes pretty simple for a state actor to take down most of an economy.
The military is not immune to cyber attacks, otherwise TSMC would not build a separate US Factory for backdoor free military chips, but it is much less vulnerable than industry. Pick the low hanging fruit, sabotage the enemies economy and don't even declare war in the first place. Economic coercion and bullying work most of the time

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"I don't see how the presence of it would make artillery obsolete." smile It doesnt, just yanking chains. In that sort of mood today. Monday... Re the options to take me offline..... OK, I'd use a backup power supply (And employ better guards next time). Option two...I'd use satellite connectivity to connect to a range of well dispersed operators. Only need one operator and a laptop. Meanwhile, your Arty boys and girls are sitting on their hands, waiting for ammo. Eating flumps.

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Originally Posted by Sadurian
You don't need MBTs for low-tech enemies, but there is nothing to say that these will exclusively be the UK's military enemies for the future. It is worth training and preparing for overseas policing actions, but not at the neglect of our first-line forces developed to face peer enemies. We went down that route in the late C19th and the result was seen in Belgium in 1914. We then went down the same route in the 1920s and 30s, and 1939/40 showed what happened. We have wandered down that same old avenue again, and should the British Army be called upon to deploy, we better hope that the enemy are even worse equipped than we are.

Whilst trawling files in the UK archives at Kew, I came across a press clipping attached to a file. It was an announcement that Britain should never allow herself to be caught unprepared for war by letting her military forces deteriorate in peacetime. The announcement was by Queen Victoria in the late C19th.

Every single time we neglect the expensive forces intended to face peer enemies, the result is that we are caught on the back foot when war against such an enemy breaks out. Tanks aren't something you can suddenly re-introduce at a moment's notice. They need training and integration, logistical practice and experience. That takes years to attain. Worse is the neglect of the domestic tank industry. By allowing it to wither to a token rump f what it was, Britain is in real danger of not having a replacement for Challenger 2. The tank is already obsolescent (but not yet obsolete), and there are no replacement designs in the pipeline. We will either have to collaborate on a new design (and all efforts in that field have historically failed) or buy a foreign design 'of the shelf'. That will be the final nail in the UK tank industry's coffin, as well as becoming reliant on a foreign power for licences, support and training.

Yup, totally agree. I was shocked too at the announcement of cutting one of the tank regiments. Even at three regiments that's too small a force. Once you're at two regiments, then people can make the argument of what is the point of continuing to have any at all.

Even here in the US there are voices beginning to be raised about getting rid of tanks altogether. The Marines have already made this decision. The Army OTOH has added another armored brigade to the force, and the A5 version of the M1 is still pretty potent. But the exponentially increasing lethality of ATGMs is pushing tanks into extinction.

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A question for vometia
How did you obtain a permit for yor Bren in the UK? I have the impression that owning automatic rifles in the UK is quite difficult.

The Marines don't know what to do. Their new commander has said that landings against a peer enemy are not possible. They are trying to reinvent themselves, but some of it reads like a b-movie script. Marines hunting submarines, hidden jungle airbases,

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It's deactivated. The process is quite comprehensive so while it looks the part, cycles and is intact enough that it can be taken to bits to see how it works, it'll never fire again. The process involves milling away at least half the bolt face at an angle of at least 45⁰ and weakening/destroying/removing all other load-bearing surfaces, in its case the locking block in the upper receiver (gone) and the gas piston (unscrewed from bolt carrier and discarded, and the part it screws into having slot cut along its length). The barrel has a slot cut in its underside for about half its length, has the bore drilled out and a steel rod inserted and welded in place, has a hardened steel pin blocking the entrance of the chamber and is then welded to the receiver to stop it being removed. Which I think is everything; the bolt still has the firing pin (albeit ground down with the bolt face), the trigger mechanism still functions as it did originally and so on. The BAR Model D and MG42/53 have undergone much the same procedure, in the case of the latter the rollers have been removed as the load-bearing components, barrel and bolt treated the same way as with the Bren.

The regulations have become significantly more stringent recently, mainly due to weak politicians and media pressure where it's wrongly claimed that the above can be reactivated in a back-street workshop in under half an hour, which is obviously nonsense unless they mean with a new bolt, receiver and barrel, in other words essentially an entirely new gun. Rather worryingly, this take was claimed to be true by a police "expert": not sure if he wasn't as expert as he claimed or if he was just lying. So the bolt and carrier have to be entirely destroyed, a facsimile welded in place and the trigger mechanism also filled with weld. It seems absolutely pointless except as an act of vandalism which will prevent people interested in the history of small arms from studying them. Existing deactivations are unaffected due to laws usually not being retrospective but they can't be "transferred" (i.e. sold, inherited or gifted) without being re-deactivated to the new specification.

My own opinions about the legal ownership of live weapons are rather ambivalent and I'm unable to reach consensus even with myself. I think the laws are much too draconian; on the other hand an e.g. .303 Bren gun is an exceedingly powerful military weapon and I think I would be a bit uncomfortable with the idea of it existing outside of a military armoury.

That said, I'm reminded of when I was younger and daft(er) and spent a while in the Army being made to do the graveyard shift patrol of this really, really creepy old Napoleonic fort. They have me a sub-machine-gun and no ammunition. I would sort of try to look as menacing as a scrawny teenager with an unloaded gun could manage as I walked though deserted moonlit courtyards and past various archways with impenetrably black inky shadows. No ghosts nor vampires accosted me so it seemed to have worked.

Edit: here's a photo I found of the Bren's innards (well, actually a previously owned one, but they're much the same) so you can hopefully see what I'm on about. I'd forgotten about the hammer/unlocking cam which also has part of its face ground away, the bit that would strike the firing pin.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by vometia; 22/11/20 01:55 AM.

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Some eastern european salute versions had a simple stick welded into the barrel. Making the barrel shorter made the guns fully functional, so terrorists did just that.
Politicians were desperate to create an illusion of control after the paris massacre. Combine the will to symbolic political action with the absence of knowledge on guns and everything is present for more useless legislation
Someone confused these weapons with the more thoroughly modified german salute rifles and then these with the completely deactivated ones.
The result is phenomenal:
Decoration weapons now need to have their triggers welded, magazines welded and filled with epoxy resin, bolt carriers welded, bolt heads ground, barrels welded to the body, barrels drilled, barrels welded. Its a brick of steel that cannot be disassembled or used to demonstrate the function of the rifle. It lost most of its fun and educational value. Expected deaths avoided? 0 Probably someone will get hurt trying to disassemble one.
Also new regulations for live weapons. I had the pleasure of buying and moving a new heavy safe for my guns. Then there are those utterly dangerous large magazines. If you bought one (german law) before 2017, keep it. If you bought one a day too late it is a banned weapon and treated the same way as a complete assault rifle. Special permit on request, needs to be stored in a high security safe. If you don't own weapons and just the magazine and you bought it before 2017, store it on your kitchen table or whereever you like. Strictly speaking: If you have two magazines of the same type and you accidentally switch the one you are not required to store in the safe with the one you must lock there you are committing a crime.
When asked about it the parliamentarians say "We only do what the EU requires us to do" which is not true because the EU wrote nothing about the magazine thing and which becomes an outright lie considering that it was the german MEPs who started the EU firearms directive. Switzerland was forced to implement it, too. The threat was to kick them out of Schengen free trade if they said no. 36,2% of the voters would have risked free trade for keeping their gun laws. In other words: The EU forced millions of citicens of a neutral country to give up some of their rights. Fortunately the swiss are very liberal with special permits for semiautomatic rifles. The EU allows special exemptions, so almost everyone gets one.
All of this also represents compensationless devaluation of property. A good condition MP38 used to be worth as much as a car, now it cannot be sold (legally) anymore. All these pieces of history are marked for eventual destruction. Individual gun parts were legal here in germany. Only bolt head and barrel required a license. Now the receivers and triggers also count and need to be registered. Millions of individual parts are now illegal. 5 years of prison for buying a harmless brick of metal without a barrel.

As long as there are some checks for ownership (no history of violent crimes and no episodes of schizophrenia in the last 5 years) I don't mind civilians owning fully automatic rifles. Civilians are allowed to own planes and crashing a bombardier (interesting name) business jet into a crowd creates equivalent carnage. As these jets are often luxury items I don't accept the "but transportation is a legitimate use" argument. Allow the people to have some fun or build a prison state. Considering the amount of surveillance in london Britain seems to have chosen the second option. It's not just guns, even carrying knifes is now banned in many areas. The problem is that criminals just don't care. At least my gun permit allows me to carry a little knife in no-gun zones here in germany. That is about the only new law that makes sense. People with a gun license have never been sentenced for a violent crime, let them carry knives.

If I were the government, I would take a look at the used market for biomedical equipment. You can now get a lab better equipped than the soviet bioweapons program for a million euros. But nah, lets focus on imposing restrictions on legal gun owners. The illusion of security is so much easier to achieve than actual security.

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