A gunmaker based in Utah turned down $15 million last week, refusing to sell high-precision sniper rifles to Pakistan for fear that U.S. troops could end up in their firearms’ sights.
“We don’t know that those guns would’ve went somewhere bad, but with the unrest we just ended up not feeling right about it,” Desert Tech sales manager Mike Davis told KTVX-TV.
“I started this company to protect Americans[,] not endanger them,” Desert Tech founder Nick Young posted on Facebook on Jan. 2. “In consulting with other arms companies the general responses I got was, if they don’t buy it from you, then they will get it somewhere else, or money is money. After much internal review we elected not to sell to Pakistan.”
When asked by KTVX-TV, “How do you turn down 15 million bucks,” Desert Tech CEO Tommy Alexander replied, “You just say ‘No.'”
“It’s not an easy decision. … That’s a tremendous amount of money, especially for a growing company,” Alexander elaborated. “That money could have done a lot of things for our company.”
The sale would have been legal, but the country has been embroiled in near civil war with Islamists and tribesmen for years, and its government is often suspected of support and protection of Islamist terrorist groups when they share often temporary common interests with them.
The United States has frequently launched drone strikes into the uncontrolled mountain region that borders Afghanistan, and in 2011, launched a daring special forces raid to kill al-Qaida mastermind and 9/11 planner Osama bin Laden in Abbottobad — a town that houses a large number of Pakistani military personnel.
“The rifles can change caliber within minutes and have the capacity to shoot as far as 3,000 yards,” The Associated Press reports.
“As a business owner you always want to be successful,” Davis said, “but I think ethically and morally you want to go about it the right way and stick behind your founding principles.”
“We have friends and family serving in the military over there; you’re kind of in an unrest environment,” Alexander told KTVC-TV. You just don’t truly know where the weapons are going to end up.”
There are 47,000 U.S. troops still engaged in combating the Taliban and its allies in nearby Afghanistan.