Salima Koroma of Time has produced a misleading video about the news that RWC Group, LLC, a former importer of Concern Kalashnikov firearms that has announced that it will soon be manufacturing “Russian” Kalashnikovs in the United States. TheKalashnikov rifles and shotguns sold under the Saiga and Izmash brands were banned from import by an executive order issued in 2014 by President Obama as part of larger group of economic sanctions intended to punish Russia for their invasion of Ukraine.
Koroma clearly knows little or nothing about firearms, but she does know how to manufacture propaganda.
The video starts with ominous music… and video of a man shooting a suppressed AR-15.
No, I’m not kidding.
This is a screen capture taken just five seconds into the video of a semi-automatic AR-15 being fired, as the ominous music and the sound of automatic machine gun fire is added to ratchet up the tension and drama.
The narrator then begins (over the ominous music and sound of automatic weapons fire) by stating, “AK-47 assault rifles with soon become, ‘Made in America.'”
Let’s stop right there—just nine seconds into the video—to unpack the stable-load of excrement contained in that one misleading introductory sentence.
First, there are no “assault rifles” being manufactured in America that civilians can legally purchase at any price… the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 saw to that. It has been illegal to manufacture selective-fire or automatic weapons for anyone other than the military or police for 29 years.
RWC Group LLC is instead going to be manufacturing semi-automatic-only AKMs, an improved Kalashnikov design that fires one shot per trigger pull, as has been common on any number of firearms since the 1880s. It’s only a technical note, but there hasn’t been an AK-47 manufactured anywhere in the world since 1960. All modern AKs are AKMs.
Further, while Time asserts that a U.S. manufactured AKM will be a new development, this fails under any level of scrutiny. There are numerous companies that have been making “Made in the USA” AKMs for years, with Century Arms probably being the most known, since they have been heavily marketing their C39 Centurion AKM as being “made in the USA” since 2011.
I.O. Inc., Destructive Device Industries (DDI), Palmetto State Armory, and other companies offer variants of American-made AKMs, and there is even a market for high-end AKMs from American companies such as Krebs Custom and Rifle Dynamics.
The assertion that AKMs have not been “made in America” before now is demonstrably, laughably false.
The ominous music and sounds of automatic weapons fire continues as the narrator informs us that RWC Group, LLC “just got the green light” to manufacture “Russian” AKMs in the United States.
In the background, video is played of a man bump-firing an AKM-variant to mimic the look of automatic weapons fire.
The narrator continues to inaccurately describe the semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) carbines as “assault rifles” as he begins to talk about the demand for Russian AKMs that was spurred by President Obama’s executive order that officially banned the importation of these Russian firearms.
The clueless narrator then claims, “Those sanctions have made it illegal for U.S. companies to import AK-47s from the only manufacturer in the world, the Russian Kalashnikov group.”
That claim is so laughably, obviously false that we have to wonder if Time’s Salima Koroma is intentionally trolling her employers to see what they’ll let her get away with saying.
The AKM is the most copied and manufactured firearm in world history, manufactured in dozens of countries. The United States had stopped importing Russian AKMs due to sanctions against Russia, but continues to import massive numbers of AKMs from Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia for commercial sale. One needs to look no further than famous AKM-focused retailer Atlantic Firearms to see a healthy mix of American-made and imported AKMs that proves the claim that only one one company in Russia makes all the AKMs in the world to be absurd.
The video then claims that the AK-47 was developed by “Russian General Mikhail Kalashnikov.” Kalashnikov was not a general when he developed the AK-47, but a senior sergeant. He developed the AK-47 while recovering from combat injuries in a military hospital. He was not made a major general until 1987.
Frankly, the rest of the video is worse, attempting to push the false narrative that the fully-automatic AKs used in warfare and terrorism around the globe are the same as the semi-automatic firearms sold in the United States, which we’ve already explained is both a legal impossibility and a blatant falsehood.
Later on in the video the narrator claims that RWC Group has “teamed up” with Concern Kalshnikov to bring Russian AK production to the United States which is not only a clear falsehood, but the implication of a crime. Collaboration between RWC Group and the sanctioned Russian company would be a crime, and RWC Group CEO Thomas McCrossin made it perfectly clear that they are not in communication in an interview with Military.com.
Because of economic sanctions imposed on Russia last summer following the country’s military involvement in the Ukraine, RWC is prevented from importing more Kalashnikovs. So the firm will build the AK-style weapons and other firearms here instead, according to CEO Thomas McCrossin. Legally, it can do so — provided there is no communication with the Russian company, Kalashnikov Concern, he said.
It’s stunning that Time would release such clearly shoddy work that is not only grossly factually inaccurate, but which cluelessly accuses an American company of violating federal law.
This video should be retracted… and Time needs to take a long, hard look at the quality of both their reporting and their fact-checking.