During hearings before Senator Thomas Dodd's Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1965, Arms Merchant Sam Cummings offered lengthy testimony on the activities of his company and his views on gun legislation then being considered by the Dodd group. The record of his appearance, which runs to more than 12,000 words, is interesting for the light it sheds on Cummings the man and social observer. Some samples:
ON THE AMERICAN LOVE AFFAIR WITH GUNS:
"Americans may like guns because they were reminiscent of the smell of outdoors, military heroism, the intensity of the hunt or merely because they are fascinated by the finely machined metal parts. Maybe the origin of a gun speaks of history; maybe the gun makes a man's home seem to him less vulnerable; maybe these feelings are more justified in the country than in the city; but, above all, many of us believe that these feelings are a man's own business...."
ON HIS SOCIAL MISSION:
"For 12 years we have run a tight and honest business which has brought many hundreds of thousands of new adherents to outdoor sports. Partly because of business competition and partly because of the bad name developed by the fringe trade in surplus weapons, we have found ourselves under constant direct and indirect attack in the press, in Congress and, sometimes, in the attitudes of Federal officials who closely regulate our business and are naturally sensitive to Congress and the press."
ON GUN STATISTICS:
"...There are interesting statistics in Europe regarding crime versus weapon requirements of governments. In England, for instance, where you have very stringent weapon laws, you have at the present time an ever-increasing rate of crime with weapons. In Switzerland, where you have, for all intents and purposes, no firearm laws, and where in fact every male citizen must by law have a military rifle and/or machine pistol and/ or machine gun in his house, there is practically no crime with weapons. Statistics are an interesting subject, because one can read them up or one can read them down."
Cummings' testimony closed with the following colloquy between Cummings and Dodd.
DODD: You got rid of yours [bazookas] after the incident in the United Nations, did you not?
CUMMINGS: I think that we have bazookas in stock at the present moment. That is an export item with us.
DODD: And mortars?
CUMMINGS: Mortars we always have in stock.
DODD: It must be quite a place over there.