Photo: Paul Szoldra
Gun buybacks across the country are grabbing some serious headlines, especially when they mention turn-ins of military rocket launchers.In December, the Los Angeles Police Chief proudly displayed one, then one showed up at Seattle’s gun buyback on Jan. 28 with another one in New Jersey showing up just today.
Despite the headlines and the wonder-inspiring fact that missile launchers are floating around U.S. cities, they’re all harmless — and very easy to get, especially if you’ve been in the Army or Marine infantry.
“There is no threat to the public, and it has no actual missile,” says Chris grey, a spokesman for Army Investigations, on the supposed-weapon turned into Seattle Police. According to grey, that launcher is actually a Cold War relic called the Redeye from the pre-Vietnam era.
And the same goes for AT-4 rocket launchers given to authorities in California and New Jersey. As we’ve reported before, they are just harmless fibreglass tubes. Once they are fired once, they cannot ever be reloaded.
Having fired two AT-4 rockets while I was in the Marine Corps, I know. I used to have one myself.
After getting a direct hit on the target tank on the range, I thought it was as good a trophy as any.
The services have regulations on signing for the rockets, which are considered ammunition and not weapons. But unlike weapons systems, which always need to be returned to the armory, something like an expended AT-4, which would just be getting thrown in the garbage after it’s fired, isn’t really a big deal.
For this reason, it’s not uncommon to have service-members take them home as souvenirs. Some might even mount them on the wall.
And if you’re a civilian, don’t worry because you can get one at a great deal online.
The headlines of “scary rocket launchers” will continue, but so will the laughter from the military ranks at how ridiculous the stories are that follow.
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