On Wednesday Feb 20th, 2019, the Oregon City Police department posted 3 pictures to their FaceBook page with a note thanking the Benchmade Knife Company for helping them destroy firearms but cutting guns with a bench grinder and torch.
The above image was taken a little over an hour after the post was made. By then, over 1,000 accounts had shared the post and almost as many had commented on it.
Minutes later, the Oregon City Police Department deleted the post. Presumably, this was an attempt at damage control.
However, it was too late.
Based on the overwhelming majority of negative comments against Benchmade on social media and forums, a large chunk of the online firearms community had already made up their minds: they were very angry at Benchmade.
Benchmade Destroying Firearms
Most of the ire directed at Benchmade was due to their destruction of firearms.
Many (most) of the angry commenters drew a hard-line. To them, helping police destroy firearms is inexcusable and clear proof that Benchmade was anti-gun.
Although unpopular with the mob, destroying firearms is not necessarily anti-gun.
For example, manufacturer FFLs often destroy firearms that don’t meet quality control standards. Clearly, firearm manufacturers aren’t anti-gun.
In this case, it appears that the firearms were surrendered for destruction or ordered to be destroyed by a court order. Oregon City Police made a subsequent post on FaceBook wherein they explained these details and asked that Benchmade not be blamed.[et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_3″]
Did Benchmade Violate Federal Gun Laws?
Some close inspection of the photos shared of Benchmade’s destruction of the firearms reveals what appears to be the commission of a felony.
The pictures seem to show that someone cut the barrel of a shotgun shorter than 18″ prior to destroying the shotgun (if it was subsequently destroyed).
A shotgun’s barrel may not lawfully be cut under 18 inches in length unless the person cutting the barrel is an FFL manufacturer and a Class 2 SOT -or- the person has a currently approved ATF Form 1. The cutting of a shotgun’s barrel in such a way creates an NFA firearm subject to strict federal controls – without the proper licensing or paperwork, a felony has been committed.
These gun laws are absurd.
There is also a serious double standard in the application of these laws. Anti-gun politicians (and perhaps anti-gun companies?) are able to break these laws without recourse but average citizens go to jail.
Benchmade Donates to Anti-Gun Democrat Politicians
The biggest evidence that Benchmade may be anti-gun is not that they agreed to help police destroy firearms. Again, there can be legitimate reasons to destroy firearms.
Instead, Benchmade’s political contributions that came to light because of this issue raise some very serious questions about their political motivations.
According to OpenSecrets.org, Benchmade Knife Company has a history of financially supporting Democrats.
Here’s a breakdown of Benchmade’s contributions by political party:
And here’s the totals of direct contributions to candidates in the last 5 election cycles. Overall, Benchmade has spent 1.2 million in their lobbying/political efforts.
In 2012 and 2010, they donated to Republican candidates. However, since then, they’ve solely supported Democrats.
Kurt Schrader, although a Democrat, doesn’t seem to be anti-gun. In fact, he supports national CCW reciprocity.
Martin Heinrich also supported national CCW, however, he also supports more gun control legislation and voted to ban magazines over 10 rounds in capacity and the bumpstock ban (among other gun control measures).
Ron Wyden has supported every gun control legislation he has been a part of.
Kurt Schrader is a gun-friendly Democrat. That not “pro-gun” but it’s not “anti-gun” either.
Mark Udall is an anti-gun Democrat with an F rating from the NRA And Jeff Merkley os also anti-gun.
So, is Benchmade Anti Gun?
If so, this will surely hurt their bottom-line as a major portion of their customer base is the firearm community.
If not, will they be able to convince an angry base?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Benchmade’s Official Response
UPDATE: Benchmade has responded to the news of their destroying guns with a statement.
As of now, they have not addressed their liberal political support except to deny that they do it on their website.
“Benchmade is aware of the recent post from our local Oregon City Police Department.
We apologize for the confusion and concern that this post created. These were firearms the Oregon City Police Department had to destroy in alignment with their policies. Oregon City Police requested the use of specialty equipment within the Benchmade facility to follow these requirements, and as a supporting partner of our local police force, we obliged the request.
Benchmade is a proud and unwavering supporter of both law enforcement and Second Amendment rights. These are commitments that we do not take lightly and will continue to support well into the future.
When asked for clarity from Oregon City Police Department, Chief Jim Band made the following statement: “When property is to be destroyed, it is the policy of the Oregon City Police Department to destroy property, including firearms, in accordance to our procedures and ORS. The Oregon City Police Department does not sell firearms.”
To us, this statement doesn’t do much to help Benchmade.
First, it completely fails to mention what may be the biggest news that came out of this whole fiasco: Benchmade supports anti-gun Democrats.
Second, it fails to address that Benchmade very likely broke federal laws and ATF rules and regulations by making an unregistered short barreled shotgun.
Third, it has a very “just following orders” vibe to it. Also note the “…had to destroy in alignment with their policies.”
If a department or company chooses to make their own policy and then they choose to follow their own policy, it seems like deflection to then blame the policy for their actions as if they “had” to do something and didn’t have a choice.
In today’s outrage-driven environment, it seems that both sides of the political aisle are racing to judgment and calling for boycotts a bit too quickly.
Again, there are plenty of valid reasons to destroy firearms. If that’s reason enough to boycott someone then you’ll have to boycott me too – I, and every major firearms manufacturer, have destroyed firearms at one point or another.
The bigger story here is the anti-gun politician support by Benchmade that they, and other sources, are failing to address.
Please… read what we’ve reported, read what others have reported, think things through for yourself and make up your own mind.
Regardless of the company’s policies, my favorite EDC Knife is a Benchmade 940-2. Will this influence my future purchasing decisions? Only time will tell.
For now Benchmade should address their political motivations (and hopefully re-think them) and maybe look for a new social media/public relations strategy.