Benchmade cuts up guns: internet loses its mind

Last night as I was getting off the internet for the evening, I made the mistake of glancing at FB one last time. I say mistake because I got to see that the Internet Outrage Machine was in full swing again, this time targeting one of the best knife companies in the business: Benchmade.

It all started when the Oregon City Police department put this photo on social media, which has been taken down:

The photo shows Benchmade employees assisting the police department with the destruction of some guns that were scheduled for destruction. The internet lost its mind over this, with people branding Benchmade as “anti-Second Amendment” and the usual calls for boycotts or to sell all your Benchmade knives. Yes, that’s right. The same people who refer to anyone remotely left of them politically as an “easily offended snowflake libtard” were once again butthurt over something stupid and pointless. Fire up the internet outrage machine, because a knife company cut up some crime guns!

Of course, the Oregon City Police pulled the photo and issued a statement after this went viral, but the damage was already done. It was time for people to get outraged over nothing, and man if there’s anything I’ve learned about the Internet in Current Year, it loves getting outraged. I won’t link any of the comments directly, but generally speaking they accused Benchmade of being all the following:

  • Anti-American
  • Anti-Second Amendment
  • In favor of gun confiscation

You get the idea. Benchmade also issued a statement citing their longstanding support of the Second Amendment as well as their local law enforcement community, which is how all this started in the first place.

How did we end up here? Well, it starts with the Oregon City police department. They were in possession of guns that according to their department’s policy had to be destroyed. It’s important to note that the State of Oregon does not require guns confiscated by the police to be destroyed. Some states do but Oregon is not one of them. The OCPD even said in their statement that the guns were being destroyed in compliance with their own policies. In simple terms when OCPD takes a gun that can’t be returned to its owner for whatever reason, it has to destroy it. In this particular case, the guns had to be destroyed, because they were either turned in by a civilian requesting their destruction, or ordered by the court to be destroyed.

Things get more complicated because the ATF has a clear definition of what “destroyed” actually means. I’ll copy them here:

What are ATF’s Acceptable Destruction Procedures?

  • Use an oxy/acetylene torch (not band sawed)
  • Must remove at least ¼ inch of metal per cut
  • Must be made at angles and completely sever the receiver in at least 3 critical locations (specified by model)

Acceptable method of destruction is to completely melt (smelt), shred or crush the firearm receiver. These torch cuts are acceptable alternatives to shredding.

  • Must pass through the forward wall or barrel mounting area
  • Must pass through the rear wall
  • Must pass through an area having a critical fire-control-component mounting pin and/or the slot in which the operating handle reciprocates

Those are pretty specific, which is why the OCPD asked Benchmade to help since they lacked a torch to make the cuts. Benchmade, being cool dudes who want to help their local PD out, said “sure” and chopped up the guns. Picture gets posted, people freak out, and now here we are.

The question then is did Benchmade do anything wrong? Other than sucking at social media control, no they didn’t. They should have realized that the optics of a well respected knife company chopping up guns with a torch are exactly the sort of thing that the easily triggered 2nd Amendment Facebook Warriors will flip out about. They should have insisted on a strict no pictures policy during the destruction. But they didn’t.

What’s more interesting to me is that the local PD isn’t catching the heat from the 1st Keyboard Battalion. Their policy of firearms destruction is an internal policy that isn’t mandated by state law, there’s nothing in the laws in Oregon that prevents a PD from selling confiscated guns to the public. I’m against police departments selling people’s property to generate revenue for anything, because I think that encourages a culture of gross civil asset forfiture, which the Supreme Court just ruled against, thank god. But that’s not the point. In this case I really don’t think there’s anything to be upset about, since the guns had to be destroyed. It’s not like OCPD can tell the judge who ordered the destruction to get bent, and when a civilian requests a turned in gun get destroyed, it would be wrong to not follow their wishes.

The point is that the outrage over Benchmade is nonsense. It’s people with no skin in the game getting butthurt about nothing. Benchmade was trying to help out their local PD in a small town and accidentally sucked at social media management. That’s it. There’s nothing here that’s worth being upset about, except for the OCPD’s policy of destroying guns that don’t need to be destroyed. But if you would like to get rid of your Benchmade knives, I will happily take them off your hands for free.

16 Comments

  1. I’ll grant you that the outrage over the gun torching is silly. However, Interesting side note to come out of this are the public records about Benchmade’s extensive campaign contributions to anti second Amendment Democrat politicans. Haven’t seen a good response about that yet.

      1. Really? Exactly how much in donations to anti second amendment politicians are you ok with then??

    1. Both of the recipients of said donations helped write the “Knife Owners Protection Act,” and neither are in fact anti-gun. They have voted on the side of the 2nd amendment on multiple occasions. Just because they’re democrats doesn’t mean they’re anti gun.

  2. In all seriousness I can’t really boycott a business I hardly patronize. The last Benchmade I purchased was a HK branded Auto Opener and damn thing broke shortly after I received it. Never bought from them since then. The pictures didn’t boil my blood like most of the gun owning community. Yeti, Springfield Armory, etc some of these boycotts are starting to get ridiculous. And just FYI I never purchased a single Springfield ever and all of Yeti’s products are over priced. I’ll be amazed if most of the people boycotting Benchmade even own one.

  3. I don’t own a Benchmade knife mainly due to cost. I think they did good assisting their local PD. Like many other things I see on FB and other things, people don’t bother to read the story before going off the deep end

    1. I first saw the story break on at the Military Arms Channel’s instagram last night he even posted a screenshot of the OCPD’s response and decided his mind was made up along with most of his followers.

  4. Just did some research and found out some things:

    Yes, in 2018 (the year I’ve been able to go through fully) Benchmade made 100% of their contributions to Democrats. $5200 went to Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and $2700 went to Martin Heinrich (D-NM). They also spent $120,000 on lobbying which has been their lobbying budget for the last number of years.

    However, here’s the important part:

    These two guys are oddballs in the Democratic Party. Heinrich opposes reinstatement of the AWB, supports the idea of 50 state CCW and has even co-sponsored legislation to make it easier to sell guns across state lines. Meanwhile Schrader was one of only six democrats who supported interstate reciprocity in the House last year.

  5. It stands to reason given your overall position, but I assume you are okay with police departments selling firearms taken from people prohibited from possessing them, or otherwise recovered, that can’t be returned to their legal owners because the owner never reported them lost or stolen?

    We had a small battle up here over that, Wayne Ross got State law and city policy changed decades ago that recovered weapons had to be returned or sold. Even the guns which have been defaced by having serial numbers removed, or barrels sawn-off too shot, are now sold at auction as receiver-less parts kits, or barrel-less receivers (as possible, respectively).

  6. Whereas I do not approve the destruction of any firearms it’s not up to me to get all butthurt at those doing it. What pisses me off is the fact that the local, or state government in many cases wastes money on gun buyback programs with the intent of destroying those firearms. Instead why not turn around and sell them in auctions to Firearms dealers to be resold to the public. Use that money for a worthwhile purpose. But Hey, if Benchmade wishes to face financial backlash from the public by proudly supporting anti-gun and or from destroying firearms that’s their right. I’ve never owned a Benchmade. I’m partial to Cold Steel knives. Just My thoughts.

  7. I didn’t freak out or post anything (other than this comment here and on a few sites). It is true they failed to consider the optics of this action. I have no problem with them assisting the local PD in a court order function. I have a problem with them taking part in the social media representation. A Venn diagram of customers for high-end knives and 2A supporters would look like a circle with wide edges.

    Their customers will judge them. So be it.

  8. Customer, judging donations – nope, won’t be buying that folder, plenty of other places to spend my money. Don’t mind anyone “helping” a local PD, though, as noted, they were helping with an internal policy, not officer safety. Also judged.

    Like the comment about a Venn diagram and a circle with wide edges – someone at Benchmade should have thought about that. But, what the hell, we’re only the friggin’ internet.

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