There Are Lever Actions And Then There Is This

Lever action rifles are usually as traditional as you can get. They feed from a tube (Winchester 94), a tubular rotary magazine (Savage 99), or a box magazine (Browning BLR). They don’t feed from a belt.

Until now.

A guy in the UK decided to convert his Ruger 96 in .44 Magnum into a belt-fed rifle. He didn’t stop there. He also made it into a bullpup. Thus, he had a belt-fed, bullpup lever action rifle.

You see in the UK he couldn’t have a semi-auto rifle but they didn’t have a restriction on magazines. As with all laws restricting firearm design, there are ways around it and someone will be ingenious enough to do it.

Here is part of what he said in the introduction to his video on the project.

In 2019 I set myself the challange to see if I could produce a belt feeding mechanism for my Ruger Model 96. I also wanted to see if I could set this up in a compact Bull-pup stock to make, What I believe to be, the ultimate in manually operated Guns.

Here in the UK, we can’t have semi-auto firearms BUT – we can load our guns with as much ammo as we can (no magazine restrictions!). Therefore I believe this set-up offers the most fire power you can legally own here in the UK.

All I could think of while watching this video were very non-PC thoughts. Such as could you imagine if Custer and the 7th Cavalry were armed with these rifles when they faced off against Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and thousands of Sioux warriors? There would be no “Custer’s Last Stand” and no monuments to the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It would just be another battle in the Indian Wars of the latter half of the 19th Century. That is, of course, so long as the troopers carried enough belted ammo in their saddle bags.

First US Law To Treat Repeating Arms Differently

Attorney and Second Amendment scholar David Kopel had an interesting article published yesterday. It dealt with the racist history of gun control and how it is still being written by gun control advocates.

The article recounted the advice of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells to fellow blacks to “buy a Winchester”. As Kopel notes, Wells was the leading anti-lynching advocate of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She felt that a repeating rifle in the hands of armed black men and women was essential to lynch mobs.

On June 25, 1892, Wells penned an iconic article for the New York Age, which was reprinted as a nationally circulated pamphlet, “Southern Horrors.” After noting cases in which lynch mobs had been defeated by armed blacks, Wells continued: “The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for the protection which the law refuses to give.

“When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged, lynched.”

Wells was referring to an incident in Jacksonville, Florida in which armed black men with their repeating rifles prevented a black prisoner from being lynched.

The result of this incident is that that Florida legislature enacted a gun control law in the next session that required a license to carry or possess “a pistol, Winchester rifle or other repeating rifle.”

This appears to be the first American statute that treated repeating arms differently from other arms. The 1893 Florida tradition is continued today by states such as California and Massachusetts, which ban many common repeating rifles and shotguns, and limit magazine capacity to only 10 rounds. (emphasis mine)

In the 1941 case Watson v. Stone, the Florida Supreme Court construed the statute narrowly. The court held that the statute didn’t apply to carrying in an automobile. Concurring, Justice Buford explained the racial background:

“I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers. … The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied. (emphasis mine) … [T]here has never been, within my knowledge, any effort to enforce the provisions of this statute as to white people, because it has been generally conceded to be in contravention of the Constitution and nonenforceable if contested.”

This law was only repealed in 1987 when Florida adopted shall-issue carry permits.

The gun control lobby is still trying to keep “repeating arms” out of the hands of blacks – and whites and Asians and Latinos and Native Americans. Indeed, Joe Biden, he of the double-barrel shotgun, vows to do away with “repeating arms” on his campaign website. He may call them by a different name but they are still repeating arms.