You just thought they were preserved

A last haven for guns that would have otherwise been scrapped by authorities, an Australian firearms museum is now confronted with the possibility they may have to mutilate their own collection.

The Lithgow Small Arms Factory, which crafted Australian Lee-Enfields from 1912 into the 1950s when they switched to making inch-pattern semi-auto FAL rifles, is an icon in the country.

The Australians from the ANZACs of Gallipoli through Korea, more often than not, carried Lithgow-made Enfields, and then they switched to Lithgow made FALs…

Some two decades ago, a non-profit group turned portions of the facility into a museum to preserve both the factory and historic Australian firearms. Staffed by volunteers, they take legally in unregistered guns during national firearm amnesty periods rather than have them torched by police. “We exist for the community and display a range of artifacts of historical, educational and community value,” the museum said.

In short, they gave scarce guns a forever home.

Now, they may have to butcher their holdings– which is already under tight security controls and deactivated via trigger locks and removed firing pins– to the point that the often-rare and in many cases unique guns “will be reduced to a metal blob rather than a genuine firearm.”

The museum houses this incredibly rare No 6 Mk I Lithgow Enfield “Jungle Carbine,” one of only a handful made. It is slated to have a steel rod welded into its barrel, and that’s just for starters.

More in my column at Guns.com.

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