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BATF Moves to Block Importation of 'Obsolete' US Military Guns
The New York Times Company | November 16, 2002 | JEFF GERTH and RICHARD W. STEVENSON

Posted on 11/17/2002 8:06:01 AM PST by kidao35

November 16, 2002 Agency Fighting Proposal to Import Old Weapons By JEFF GERTH and RICHARD W. STEVENSON

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - The federal gun control bureau is strongly opposing a proposal to let gun sellers and owners import as many as two million World War II era infantry weapons that were made in the United States and exported to the world's armies decades ago.

The objections from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms come as the State Department is considering the proposal, which is being pressed by a trade association that lobbies for gun importers. The bureau says the idea, which would lift a 50-year-old ban, would flood the market with outdated but deadly weapons that could fall into the hands of criminals and would be hard to regulate.

A letter from the firearms bureau, part of the Treasury Department, warned that the change would prevent it from stopping the criminal use of "particularly dangerous" old guns: pistols that are readily concealed and carbines and Garand rifles, which can be easily converted into automatic weapons. Moreover, the letter warned, the carbine and Garand can fire bullets capable of piercing the soft body armor worn by police officers.

The weapons, exported to Asia, South America and countries elsewhere and still available around the world, have generally not been allowed back into the United States, though there is a legal exception that permits the import of equipment classified as "curio or relics."

The State Department, which by law regulates trade in United States defense equipment, is weighing a proposal made last year by the Firearms Importers' Roundtable Trade Group, which is led by a top dealer in and collector of machine-gun parts and accessories. The group, set up in the wake of import restrictions by the Clinton administration, argues that the imports would be used by collectors, in shooting competitions or for other legitimate purposes.

A briefing paper prepared by the firearm importers says the guns "are not crime guns" or "weapons of choice among criminals," an argument based on the group's analysis of crime reports by the firearms bureau.

But the bureau warned that the change could allow as many as two million weapons, many of them able to shoot the deadlier kinds of bullets, to enter the private commercial market legally for the first time. The bureau cited a recent report of its own that found that 7,243 American-made weapons intended for military use had been used in crimes, even though it was unlawful to re-import most if not all of them.

John P. Malone, the assistant director for firearms and explosives at the bureau, cited this statistic two months ago when he wrote the State Department to oppose the proposal.

A department spokesman declined to discuss the proposal, saying it was still under review.

"It is a matter of interagency discussion, and it would be inappropriate to comment," the spokesman said on the condition of anonymity.

At issue are rifles and handguns sold to United States allies more than 50 years ago. The potential universe, a 1998 federal report says, includes more than 950,000 Garand rifles, more than 1.2 million M-1 carbines and nearly 300,000 M-1911 pistols. A firearms expert who supports the policy change estimates the market at 1.5 million, but says many of them may not be capable of being fired.

It is not known how many of the weapons still work. The firearms trade group says "there will not be millions of guns flooding the marketplace" because "market forces will control what is imported" and there would be "unusually lengthy" reviews by the firearms bureau and the State Department. The group also says buyers would be subject to the "same requirements that apply when purchasing other firearms," like background checks.

But Mr. Malone, in his letter to the State Department, said the group's proposal "would open the United States commercial market to potentially 2.5 million new weapons" which "A.T.F. generally has no authority to control."

Mr. Malone's letter was provided by an official opposed to the policy change.

The gun trade group was set up in 1994 after the Clinton administration imposed an embargo on the importation of firearms and ammunition from China. The group's goal, according to reports in the specialized gun trade press, is to open United States gun markets and provide as many choices as possible. Commercial manufacturers make firearms similar to the old military models.

The trade group's president is Charles Steen. A profile of Mr. Steen's company, Sarco Inc., in the magazine Small Arms Review, says the business, which is based in Stirling, N.J., and licensed by the firearms bureau, focuses on the accumulation or collection of surplus military material. The profile describes Sarco as "the leader in machine-gun parts and accessories" and "arguably the largest dealer in surplus war material in the country."

Sarco's Web site draws attention to a new feature: "Machine Gun Dave's Machine Gun Page," where the top item is a 1928 Colt commercial water-cooled tripod listed for $1,250.

On June 27, 2001, Mr. Steen's group petitioned the State Department to "lift the import restrictions historically imposed on `obsolete and historic U.S. military small arms, ammunition, and demilitarized equipment,' " according to Mr. Malone's letter.

The trade group's lawyer is Mark Barnes, a leading firearms lobbyist in Washington. Mr. Barnes provided a copy of the trade group's background paper - which echoes its 2001 proposal - but Mr. Steen declined to be interviewed for this article.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the proposal sat idle, but more recently the trade group has met with State Department officials, including once late last summer, a person who attended said.

On Sept. 10, Mr. Malone wrote to Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr., the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, saying that the proposal would "undo over 50 years of established policy governing the transfer and import of these weapons."

Surplus military firearms have been banned from import under federal gun control laws. But in 1984, the Gun Control Act was amended to create an exception: firearms classified as "curio or relics," which include weapons and ammunition more than 50 years old.

Since 1949 there have been strict limits on the ability of foreign governments to distribute equipment they receive under United States military assistance programs. In 1987, the State Department restated its general ban on the initial retransfer of United States military weapons, but created an exception.

Foreign governments could sell to private entities if they could show "significant public interest," including guarantees that the equipment would be used for its intended purpose, such as being placed on "static display in a museum and demilitarized," Mr. Malone's letter said.

Mr. Steen's group maintains that the State Department has interpreted the law too narrowly and should approve as "the rule, rather than the exception," imports of United States military equipment.

Copyright The New York Times Company | Permissions | Privacy Policy

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TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: banglist; batf; guncontrol
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This has to be the WORST misinformation I have EVER seen regarding firearms from the BATF.

A Garand machine gun?!! First there are no full auto parts available for these, AND if there were, what good is a MG that only holds 8 rounds?

An M1 carbine firing armor piercing ammo? If they ever made AP in 30 carbine, that's news to me

They already have bans on the importation and sale of AP ammo. And what little there is left in the civilian market can just as easily be shot from ANY 30-06 hunting rifle.

And any rifle that fires .223 and above can slice through a soft vest anyway.

Does anyone here besides me find it offensive that its OK to be sent halfway around the world to potentially die on foreign soil carrying one of these rifles, but can't be trusted with them back in the good old USA?

Does anyone here find it disgraceful that an importer can bring in swastika marked K98 Mausers, but can't bring back an M1 Garand?

I'm sending letters to my Congressmen, President Bush, the NRA, and the VFW about this. Absolutely disgusting.

And further proof the FBI needs to take over gun law enforcement policy, and put the BATF back to its original role of REVENUE COLLECTION!

This is a fight we gun owners can win, and can be our 'Battle of Midway' on the long road to the repeal of the AW ban!

1 posted on 11/17/2002 8:06:01 AM PST by kidao35
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To: kidao35
The potential universe, a 1998 federal report says, includes more than 950,000 Garand rifles, more than 1.2 million M-1 carbines and nearly 300,000 M-1911 pistols.

That's a lot of weapons to arm a new Home Guard with. (If we can get them all to fire.)
2 posted on 11/17/2002 8:10:30 AM PST by Sparta
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To: kidao35
This is a fight we gun owners can win, and can be our 'Battle of Midway' on the long road to the repeal of the AW ban!

Thanks for the post. Agree with you 100%. More good reasons to do away with the BATF.

3 posted on 11/17/2002 8:15:31 AM PST by toddst
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To: Sparta
I would like to own one of the (and would try to buy)1911 .45 ACP's. However, from the way this article is slanted, the ATF is operating under the assumption that only criminals would be interested in these weapons. What is with these people?
4 posted on 11/17/2002 8:16:23 AM PST by stylin_geek
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To: stylin_geek
The ATF sure has provided a great service to the USA. They are so useful, that I personally think they've completed their mission, and can be disbanded completely.
5 posted on 11/17/2002 8:17:32 AM PST by Monty22
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To: kidao35
The author(s) of this article are either ignorant, or deliberately misleading the readers.

Aside from the inaccuracies about auto vs. semi auto and armor piercing rounds, maybe I am mistaken, but it seems to me that last time I went out shopping, these items are already available on the shelves. I'd be in the market, but they are just too expensive for me.
6 posted on 11/17/2002 8:27:39 AM PST by error99
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To: kidao35
Dam I have been waiting for a cheaper Garand but now thank you ATF..Guess i will have to go bankrupt to get one..
GOVERNMENT BITES
7 posted on 11/17/2002 8:29:52 AM PST by daapfe
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To: Monty22
But Mr. Malone, in his letter to the State Department, said the group's proposal "would open the United States commercial market to potentially 2.5 million new weapons" which "A.T.F. generally has no authority to control."



No authority to control........


That's the real issue here isn't it?
8 posted on 11/17/2002 8:32:03 AM PST by Freeper 007
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To: *bang_list
The New York Slimes neglected to mention that through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, us peasants can go through only a few hoops (and shell out ~$500-600) and the U.S. Government will send a fully functional M-1 Garand through the U.S. Mail to our doors.
9 posted on 11/17/2002 8:33:07 AM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
It seems to me that the ATF is casting about for something more to do. Why not give them the post office.
10 posted on 11/17/2002 8:36:14 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: kidao35
Amen. No Government "of the people and by the people" would ever fear it's citizens being armed... yet here we are.

No more compromises, no more deals, no more infringement.

Assault weapons rule, government sucks, long live Jefferson.
11 posted on 11/17/2002 8:36:55 AM PST by AngryOne
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To: kidao35
Does anyone find it ironic law-abiding Americans are not supposed to own M-1 Garand rifles but it was OK to hand over to the Chinese all of the technology to build long-range ICBM's with MIRV warheads capable of killing millions of Americans whose government developed and was supposed to prevent the export of those weapons of mass destruction?

The average American can be trusted to safely handle weapons. The government cannot be trusted with any weapons.

We need to kick Chinese Nationals out of our secret weapons labs. Yes, we have Chinese citizens working inside our most secret facilities. Our treasonous government is the greatest danger to us - not old Garand rifles.

12 posted on 11/17/2002 8:38:44 AM PST by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: kidao35
As a Veteran and current Guard member....I agree. I find it offensive that we can use them to defend people who probably hate us.....but we are not trusted with the weapons in the USA. Typical BATF baffle-gab.
13 posted on 11/17/2002 8:40:51 AM PST by pgobrien
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To: bang
bang
14 posted on 11/17/2002 8:43:29 AM PST by ezoeni
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To: stylin_geek
However, from the way this article is slanted, the ATF is operating under the assumption that only criminals would be interested in these weapons. What is with these people?

They want their no-knock raids on churches and bad addresses to go as smoothly as possible?

15 posted on 11/17/2002 8:44:47 AM PST by BradyLS
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To: kidao35
I have a hard time picturing a gang banger with a garand stuffed in his pocket.

Wonder why the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms people never object to the importing of foreign liquor because some of it will end up causing drunk driving deaths?

16 posted on 11/17/2002 8:47:05 AM PST by templar
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To: kidao35
Bush could fire the bozos responsible for this action. I would.
17 posted on 11/17/2002 8:48:12 AM PST by spunkets
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To: Sparta
The potential universe, a 1998 federal report says, includes more than 950,000 Garand rifles, more than 1.2 million M-1 carbines and nearly 300,000 M-1911 pistols.

I'll take one of each, thank you.

18 posted on 11/17/2002 8:49:32 AM PST by copycat
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To: Sparta
I bet ya the ATF agents have toilet paper in there homes with this image on it.




19 posted on 11/17/2002 8:52:26 AM PST by ezoeni
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To: coloradan
I want to do that.
How do I do that?
20 posted on 11/17/2002 8:53:32 AM PST by error99
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To: copycat
Can you or anyone else add the maximum number of ragheads and communists can we kill with those weapons.(Without reloading)
21 posted on 11/17/2002 8:54:25 AM PST by Sparta
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To: copycat
I have a new compact Glock 30 (.45 ACP) that is imported from Austria and this is OK and an old full sized 1911 is not?
22 posted on 11/17/2002 8:54:28 AM PST by umgud
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To: ezoeni
And probably a copy of Communist Manifesto and the Koran for reading while on the toilet.
23 posted on 11/17/2002 8:56:24 AM PST by Sparta
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To: kidao35
bttt
24 posted on 11/17/2002 8:57:48 AM PST by lodwick
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To: kidao35
The BATF has, over the years, employed and accumulated a grpup of overzelous left wing dingbats to work there.
25 posted on 11/17/2002 9:00:18 AM PST by RLK
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To: ezoeni
We The People, in order to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, do hereby abolish the BATF.
26 posted on 11/17/2002 9:00:53 AM PST by ampat
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To: Freeper 007
"No authority to control........That's the real issue here isn't it?"

Well, they have the same levels of control that they always had (i.e. licensing the dealers, background checks, etc.).

What they REALLY mean is no NEW/EXPANDED authority.

27 posted on 11/17/2002 9:05:59 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: spunkets
Bush could fire the bozos responsible for this action. I would.

----------------------------

He'll never do it. Bush has a type of distant unincisive personality that doesn,t like domestic confrontation with any degree of controversy. Something safe like bombing ragheads thousands of miles away is his style.

28 posted on 11/17/2002 9:15:06 AM PST by RLK
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To: kidao35
A friend of mine had a couple of cases of black tip .30 carbine ammo of Korean War vintage.

We shot it all up though.

L

29 posted on 11/17/2002 9:17:48 AM PST by Lurker
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To: error99
Here are the eligibility requirements, purchase instructions and order form, and here are the rifles available for purchase. Enjoy.
30 posted on 11/17/2002 9:21:13 AM PST by coloradan
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To: stylin_geek
What is with these people?

Part of Clinton's legacy. What is a fearful thought is that someday, these left-wing liberal idiots can return to power. These bureaucratic slugs in the BATF should be salted and replaced with thinking human beings.

31 posted on 11/17/2002 9:35:18 AM PST by Marauder
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To: Sparta
That's a lot of weapons to arm a new Home Guard with. (If we can get them all to fire.)

Sparta, a fellow Freeper posted a few days ago that he had a WW2 vintage French Army rifle - It had never been fired, and only dropped once!

32 posted on 11/17/2002 9:37:41 AM PST by GaltMeister
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To: GaltMeister
LOL!!! That weapon can still be used to kill ragheads and their Commie allies. French rifles were decent, but nowhere near the par of an SMLE or a Mauser. (Time to form a Home Guard now.)
33 posted on 11/17/2002 9:40:30 AM PST by Sparta
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To: kidao35
News Flash: the BATF wants to ban ANY type of firearm no matter how old or outdated. As a matter of fact, they want to ban toy guns as well. Makes me wonder what the hell they'll do with themselves if successful.

Makes me shudder.

34 posted on 11/17/2002 9:43:46 AM PST by Ground0
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To: kidao35
Sarco's Web site draws attention to a new feature: "Machine Gun Dave's Machine Gun Page," where the top item is a 1928 Colt commercial water-cooled tripod listed for $1,250.

Jeff and Richard obviously didn't click through and see that what is for sale is just the tripod. It must be pretty scary to NYT readers that a water-cooled machine gun tripod is within the reach of anyone with $1,250.

35 posted on 11/17/2002 9:44:31 AM PST by Dan Cooper
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To: coloradan
much thanks for the links
36 posted on 11/17/2002 9:50:40 AM PST by error99
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To: Marauder
What is with thesepeople?

For a comprehensive understanding  of BATF ALL people who are interested in preserving the 2nd Amendment cannot understand their rationale or insanity  without reading "Unintended Consequences" by John Ross (available from Amazon .com

The cover  sums it up:

37 posted on 11/17/2002 9:51:08 AM PST by The UnVeiled Lady
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To: kidao35
How is this possible with George W. Bush, that well known supporter of the 2nd Amendment, in the White House? (sarcasm)
38 posted on 11/17/2002 9:56:40 AM PST by caltrop
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To: kidao35
Bump for later.
39 posted on 11/17/2002 10:05:28 AM PST by Springman
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To: kidao35
I had a fat-assed, ATF inspector tell me once that ATF didn't like the fact that people didn't have to sign for ammunition anymore. The alleged reason was that "why, a dealer could be selling ammunition to children *and we'd never know.*"

This guy was the epitome of the offensive, officious, self-important bureaucrat with an attitude. Always remember that the majority of Nazis weren't goose-stepping stormtroopers, they were petty bureaucrats who used to be some dolt that lived next door.
40 posted on 11/17/2002 10:07:38 AM PST by agitator
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To: kidao35
I get my ap from this dude
http://www.patsreloading.com/patsrel/prices.htm
he has 30cal and 50cal its surlpus pulled ammo and it shoots just fine
I havent been on the site for awhile cause I by in bulk :-)
41 posted on 11/17/2002 10:11:13 AM PST by 12.7x99mm
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To: kidao35
"Garand rifles, which can be easily converted into automatic weapons." (New York Slimes)

Sure - an eight-shot machine gun? Has anyone ever even heard of a Garand made full-auto?

Bush has to totally clean out BATF - and repeal the Klintonista mindset there. Now that both houses of Congress are GOP, he doesn't have any more excuses about not doing so. If he doesn't, then he doesn't deserve gun owners' votes in 2004.

Scandals of antigun politicians - from coast to coast!

42 posted on 11/17/2002 10:15:48 AM PST by glc1173@aol.com
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To: *bang_list
Bang
43 posted on 11/17/2002 10:19:05 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: kidao35
The so called Danish Garands and other WWII weapons are already being sold here and have been for quite some time. An 8 pound, 44 inch long rifle is just not very likely to be carried by dope dealers and bank robbers. They can not be converted to full auto.
44 posted on 11/17/2002 10:21:11 AM PST by SSN558
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To: Marauder
Independent thought is not encouraged when one is working for the government. If it was, a lot of people would have quit a long time ago. :)
45 posted on 11/17/2002 10:26:28 AM PST by stylin_geek
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To: CapandBall
I don't think there's a paragraph in this that doesn't have at least one lie.
46 posted on 11/17/2002 11:30:06 AM PST by m1911
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To: kidao35
2nd amendment bump
47 posted on 11/17/2002 11:55:54 AM PST by Cacique
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To: Marauder
In light of the fact that the M-1 Carbine and the Garand can only be cleaned from the muzzle end (at least with GI cleaning rods) and the level of care our "allies" give to small arms, it is a safe bet that most of these guns will not be good shooters. Imagine a rifle that has been in the hands of second-line militia for decades, with the crown of the muzzle being hammered by 100 grit cleaning rods for countless hours by bored conscripts. Add the effects of occasional shooting, corrosive .30-06 ammo and the way those soft carbine barrels bend and you get the picture.

Here is a tip for browsing Garands and Carbines: Obtain a 150 to 200 grain .308 caliber bullet (bullet only, not the cartridge!) and ask for permission to drop the bullet nose end first down the barrel. Most of the time, on a surplus Garand or Carbine, the bullet will go down past the cannelure. Expect poor shooting , even if the barrel has been scrubbed bright.

The good news is that newly manufactured barrels are available, and even the cheap ones are at least the equal of the original wartime product. Most of these surplus rifles end up as wallhangers, but if you want a good shooter, you will probably have to get a new tube.

As is so often the case, the BATF is suffering from a case of rectal-cranial inversion here. The net effect of granting permission to sell these rifles will be to drop the price for the average consumer, who is after a little history. They have better things to worry about than surplus weapons.


48 posted on 11/17/2002 11:57:41 AM PST by M1911A1
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To: m1911
I shake my head ruefully...
49 posted on 11/17/2002 7:46:48 PM PST by CapandBall
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To: CapandBall
I shake my head ruefully...

Me too...

50 posted on 11/17/2002 7:57:42 PM PST by MileHi
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