Monday, September 26, 2016
On Alliance, Part 1
We in HEMA are all too aware of the vast uncatalogued collection of historic arms and accouterments, along with the supporting documentation and instruction in its use, that exist in libraries, book stores, museums and personal collections that is known to exist around the world. The frustration we feel at our inability to translate so much of that into tangible items we can use is a near-constant experience. Those few items, swords mostly, that have been faithfully reproduced from historic specimens are, to be blunt, priced as the rare objects they are. The object of this series of posts is to suggest a means whereby we may alleviate that frustration, and quite possibly make a buck or two in the process, while at the same time safeguard our ability to continue doing so.
Come now Mr Marty Daniel and his company Daniel Defense, makers of components, and in recent years complete firearms, for the modular AR rifle platform. Some years ago now, Mr. Daniel began posting construction designs and engineering plans for 3-D construction of the components of an AR-platform rifle for sale to individual customers from his company's website. A recent court ruling has forced Mr. Daniel, along with others in the firearms and 3D, or additive, manufacturing industry to shutter his company's webpage link to online sales of "instructions and manuals".
I submit that this confluence of mutual interests presents all parties with a classical strategy Opportunity of such proportions as would make Sun Tzu himself drool, at least a little.
Daniel Defense is an established manufacturing business with a proven model for online sales of digital designs and engineering plans. HEMA Alliance, through its members, possesses a trove of historic designs for both (A) weapons that do not violate current legal interpretation regarding international distribution or personal ownership (yet) and (B) the safety equipment desirable for training and usage of those historic weapons in a regulated and competitive environment.
Were the HEMA Alliance Governing Council to contact Mr. Daniel and arrange a partnership between the HEMA membership and his company, he would benefit by rather quickly (12 to 18 months?) developing an effective counter-argument for his attorneys to beat the US State department over the head with in court ("Your Honor, here is 1001 weapons and armor designs and plans that don't violate existing law and treaty due solely to the age of the design. How can free discussion of improved versions of these historic designs not be regarded as being exactly the same under the law?"), while we in HEMA obtain access to modern digital design and engineering plans (which we can license at a discounted rate for commercial purposes, but have free access to for our individual personal use) of all of the historic items which we can identify and help translate.
The Devil is said to be in the details, and I will point out at least a few of those in Part 2. On a more philosophical level of discussion, I submit that if the US State department can decide on its own that enforcement of a UN Arms Treaty extends to individual purchase of weapon component designs and plans (speech), is it that much of a stretch of the imagination to suppose the same people might decide the same prohibition can be extended to less modern examples of weapons and their design and sale? If we cannot discuss historic weapon design, nor sell historic weapon replicas for training and competition purposes - without previously purchasing the requisite national and international licensing approvals to be international arms dealers - I think we would find ourselves confronted with the end of HEMA (and SCA, LARP, War of the Nations, etc) as a functional organisation on anything beyond the immediately local level of activity. Certainly all HEMA Facebook and other web pages would have to be shut down immediately, judging by the extant example cited above (cross-national border communication of weapons technology being the pertinent action the court has ruled against and the treaty forbids).
Maybe the Powers That Be won't notice us. Maybe they'll continue to look on us with amused condescension. Or, maybe, some "political activist" of the more direct action persuasion will pull off a more extravagant act of violence with a bladed weapon than has occurred so far in a street or mall somewhere.
Then, I suspect the regulatory hand may come down on us very hard. Or perhaps not.
Whatever any of our personal opinions regarding modern weapons (and firearms specifically) and protective armor might be, we need to do what we can to protect our ability to pursue our martial art and history research in as unimpeded a fashion as we can arrange. Arranging an alliance with an independent business entity that mutually benefits all parties seems a reasonable topic for us to begin to consider and investigate.
We also need to begin developing our ability to equip ourselves in a more dispersed and individual fashion.
More on that in Part 2.