American gun culture has a split personality: half the time we’re supposed to believe that gun culture is pure American patriotism, and the other half of the time the claim is that citizens need to be heavily armed to take on the American government. Whichever claim is more convenient for the gun lobby at any given moment. But mostly, the National Rifle Association just f’ing loves guns, the way Donald Trump loves the look of his name in big gold letters.
And if that means helping a Russian gun manufacturer promote a gun that the U.S. military says poses a danger to American troops, the only real question is … is it a really cool gun? David Corn reports:
In late 2016, the US Army released a report noting that the Russian military, through experience gained during fighting in Ukraine, was undergoing a transformation and becoming a more potent battlefield threat to American forces. One troublesome development identified by the report’s authors was the increased proficiency of Russian snipers. “The capabilities of a sniper in a Russian contingent is far more advanced than the precision shooters U.S. formations have encountered over the last 15 years,” the study noted. One reason for this was the Russian military’s recent adoption of the ORSIS T-5000, a relatively new Russian-made firearm that the report called “one of the most capable bolt action sniper rifles in the world.” As one military technology expert noted, after reviewing this report, the US Army faced “being outgunned” by foes armed with the T-5000—which can be accurate at a distance of 2,000 yards—and these Russian rifles were showing up in Iraq and Ukraine. That is, this weapon posed a threat to US troops and those of its allies. Yet the National Rifle Association—which boasts it is identified with American patriotism—has helped promote Moscow-based ORSIS and its sniper rifle.
When the NRA sent its now-notorious delegation to Russia in 2015, they visited ORSIS:
The day of the ORSIS visit, Clarke posted on Twitter a photograph of himself holding the T-5000 rifle.
The NRA trip to ORSIS was of use to the Russian gunmaker. The company produced a video showing the NRA delegates oohing and aahing over the T-5000. The video was one in a series of short films promoting ORSIS and its weapons. The video was posted on YouTube four weeks after the visit.
The T-5000 can pierce the body armor of U.S. troops and it’s spreading around the world. But to the NRA it’s just another sweet firearm to fondle.