Skip to comments.John Ross’ Speech
Posted on 06/16/2003 7:57:33 AM PDT by ezo4
John Ross Speech
Throughout the country, people are talking about the horrendous gun bans in Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Its inevitable, America is next, were doomed, is the message. Its easy to be a doomsayer. If youre wrong, no one minds. One of the riskiest things you can do is to say that things are good.
I dont want to trivialize the serious implications of these human rights violations in other countries and our own, but its time to say out loud something thats been absent from the discussion.
IN MANY WAYS, THINGS ARE BETTER FOR US [GUN OWNERS] NOW THAN THEY EVER HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST.
To prove this, lets go back in time seventy, forty, and twenty years to 1932, 1962, and 1982, and look at these years as SERIOUS shooters. Lets compare how things were then to where they are now with gun laws, gun availability, and gun prices. (The situation with shotguns and rimfires has not changed dramatically, so well leave them out.)
The Year 1932
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE RIFLES: There were a handful of low-powered rifles, and the state-of-the-art was the Winchester 1907 in .351 self-loading, (ballistically similar to the current .357 Magnum) with the special police 15-rd. magazine. Even in 1932 many dealers sold these only to bona fide officers.
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE PISTOLS: Apart from under powered .25s, 32s, and .380s, we have only the Colt Govt models, captured Lugers and Mausers, and a few other Central European weapons. Thats it. And 7.62mm and 9mm pistol ammo for the captured guns was uncommon and expensive.
POWERFUL REVOLVERS: The .45 Colt is the most powerful factory handgun cartridge of 1932, in two guns. There were no magnums.
MAGNUM FACTORY RIFLES: None.
HIGHLY ACCURATE, LONG-RANGE FACTORY RIFLES: None, with the arguable exception of the very limited-production Newton rifle.
IMPORTS: Aside from WW1 98 Mausers, imports were minimal, and virtually nothing was both interesting and affordable.
RELOADING: Simple hand tools only. Molds to cast bullets.
GUN MAGAZINES: American Rifleman (formerly Arms & the Man), and columns in outdoor magazines, all of which focused almost exclusively on hunting and target shooting. Articles on the proper defensive uses of weapons were the rare exception, not the rule.
CONCEALED CARRY: Illegal in many states and had been for over 50 years because of the Emancipation Proclamation. Heavily restricted in others (I.e. New York) because of large-scale immigration. Not generally enforced on well to do whites, but this was still a crapshoot if you ran across a cop who didnt like you.
GENERAL 1932 CLIMATE: No federal antigun laws at all. The NFA was two years away. From a federal standpoint, you could buy anything, cash and carry, including machine guns, so lets look at what you could get: BARs and variants (Colt Monitor) and the Thompson. In quality shoulder-fired guns, this was it, and they were EXPENSIVE. There were a few WW1 bring-backs including belt-feds but ammo was expensive, and for most people these guns were decorations for the den. You could buy water-cooled Colt commercial .30 and .50 caliber belt-fed machineguns (normally sold to coal companies for labor relations) but these were high-dollar both to buy and to shoot. In 1932, firearm noise reducers (silencers) were sold in hardware stores for two or three dollars.
Fast-forward 30 years to 1962:
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE RIFLES: All the 1932 choices are gone including the Winchester 1907, which has been discontinued five years before. The Remington 740 has recently been introduced. There are some Garands and M1 Carbines that were brought back from the war in duffel bags, but none have been released to the public and there are no clones.
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE PISTOLS: Again, Colt Govt. models, Lugers and Mausers, and now we have the P35 Hi-Power and captured P38s and PPKs. Surplus ammo is now somewhat more available and affordable.
POWERFUL REVOLVERS: In .45 Colt, the New Service is gone, and the SAA has just been reintroduced after a long hiatus. The .357 Magnum is available in a handful of models. The .44 Magnum has been out for a few years, but no one can find one to buy.
MAGNUM FACTORY RIFLES: Winchester 70 in .300 H&H and .375 H&H, Rem. 721 in .300 H&H. Weatherby rifles, which are twice as expensive as a M70. All these guns were costly enough in real dollars that many gunsmiths worked full-time modifying military rifles to magnum calibers.
HIGHLY ACCURATE LONG RANGE FACTORY RIFLES: Winchester M70 Target and M70 Varmint, which with factory ammo are mediocre by 2002 standards. Benchrest shooting, where much development occurs, is scarcely a decade old.
IMPORTS: Lots of cheap bolt actions, Lugers, and other military guns. Antitank guns are available cheaply but the ammo is expensive. Class 3 dealers can import live surplus MGs and sell them to individuals, but with $200 tax and no dirt-cheap ammo (in most calibers), this doesnt happen often.
RELOADING: Simple hand tools, some single-stage presses, and the very expensive Star Progressive with a long wait. Bullets, powders, dies and other components are much more available now than before the war.
GUN MAGAZINES: Five, now. Guns, Guns & Ammo, Gun World, and Shooting Times have just gone into print, joining the Rifleman. These publications still focus almost entirely on hunting and target shooting. Charlie Askins at Gun World sometimes writes about self-defense.
CONCEALED CARRY: Essentially the same as 1932.
GENERAL 1962 CLIMATE: The NFA has been in effect for 28 years. A wide variety of full auto WW2 bring-backs are available, but you need to pay $200 if you want to shoot them, and ammo is more expensive on a constant-dollar basis than it will be in 2002. For most people, these guns were decorators. There is a growing patchwork of state antigun laws to snare travelers. Enforcement varies.
Fast-forward 20 years to 1982
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE RIFLES: Nothing like 1962. We have surplus Garands in quantity, the M1 Carbine and clones, the M1A, AR-15, FAL, AR-180, H&K, Mini-14, Win. 100, Sporting BAR, and the Ruger .44 Magnum carbine.
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE PISTOLS: To the 1962 choices, add in the S & W M39, M59 (hard to get) and a few lower-quality European guns, including clones of the 1911. Combat shooting competitions (bowling pin, IPSC, etc.) are in their infancy.
POWERFUL REVOLVERS: The .44 and .41 Magnums are available, but they are scarce, and S&Ws sell for $350, Rugers for half that. No other quality guns in these calibers are available. Silhouette shooting has been in the U.S. for less than three years. A few stainless revolvers are available, as well as one bolt action pistol and the interchangeable-barrel Contender.
MAGNUM FACTORY RIFLES: Big change herea wide variety of factory bolt actions in short magnums, plus the sporting BAR. Weatherbys are still expensive.
HIGHLY ACCURATE LONG RANGE FACTORY RIFLES: Winchester, Remington, Ruger, and H&R all make varmint rifles, and weve got one true ½ MOA factory gun, the Remington 40XB in a large number of calibers. Benchrest competition is very popular and rifles are getting more and more accurate.
IMPORTS: Because of GCA 68, no military surplus guns are being imported, period, except pre-1898. A few military lookalike semi autos like the FAL and CETME (H&K 91 clone) which are very expensive, and these is no cheap .308 ammo to shoot in them.
RELOADING: There are several good high-volume tools other than the Star Progressive, such as the Dillon. Theres a wider selection of everything else, and match bullets are MUCH better than 20 years before because of the rise of benchrest competition. Jacketed hollow point handgun bullets are now readily available, because of the increased awareness of self-defense considerations.
GUN MAGAZINES: To the five we had add Rifle, Handloader, and Precision Shooting. Many more articles address combat shooting and defensive use of weapons. Soldiers of Fortune magazine has been out for five years. Their articles focus on guns and tactics for defensive use, and make almost no mention of recreational shooting.
CONCEALED CARRY: From a standpoint of existing statutes, the law is essentially the same as in 1932. However, the state prohibitions are now being enforced heavily on whites as well as blacks and Hispanics.
GENERAL 1982 CLIMATE: The U.S. military with its nearly limitless supply of state-of-the-art aircraft, bombs, and other weaponry, has just suffered a humiliating defeat on the other side of the world; at the hands of a scraggly bunch of individual soldiers armed primarily with captured weapons and fighting on their home turf. 1982 is six years after our Bicentennial, and Vietnam is a replay of what went 200 years before, when Americans were the individually armed citizens facing a world-class army.
GCA 68 has been in effect fourteen years, with 4473 forms on all guns and record keeping for all ammo purchases. You cannot buy anything through the mail, not even components. Big-caliber military weapons have been reclassified as Destructive Devices and placed into the NFA section of the law. Importation of full autos for non-government sale is prohibited. Registration of non-registered full autos is also prohibited.
Serious antigun groups are springing up, such as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. The NRAs Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) has been up and running for seven years, formed seven years after the Gun Control Act (1968) and forty-one years after the National Firearms Act (1934).
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE RIFLES: The selection is now almost limitless. To the 1982 choices, add a bunch of semi M14 clones, semi HK clones, FAL clones, AR-15 clones, semi AR-10 clones, literally millions of AK, SKS, HK, and other imports brought in at very low cost pre-ban, plus smaller numbers of others. You can even get a semiauto 1918 BAR. There are four .50 BMG semi autos available, one of them a belt-fed, and semiauto clones of two belt-fed .30s.
SEMIAUTO CENTERFIRE PISTOLS: The variety is now unbelievable. Double-column guns are the rule now, not the exception, available from dozens of makers. Full power 9mm and .40 mini-guns like the Glock 26 and 27 did not exist several years before, now they are common. Calibers that did not exist in 1982 are also common: the .40 S&W, 10mm, .45 Win. Mag, and .50 AE. Really big magnums by Wildey, Grizzly, AMT, and Desert Eagle are readily available.
POWERFUL REVOLVERS: There are scores of choices here, too. The .357 is now available in J-frames, as well as dozens of larger-framed revolvers. Lots of .44 Magnums are on the market, all cheaper in constant dollars than 20 years before, with no availability problems and in a much wider variety of styles. The .454 Casull is readily available, built like a Swiss watch, at a price little higher in constant dollars than the M29 in 1982. Custom .475 and .50 cal. Conversions of Rugers is available, which did not exist at any price 20 years before. Dan Wessons in the Supermag calibers are available. Very little junk is out there because the silhouette game has forced new makers to build accurate guns or go out of business. Single shots pistols are now common, chambering up to magnum rifle rounds.
MAGNUM FACTORY RIFLES: More available than ever before, in new calibers, different styles, stocks, finishes, and barrel weights, and in stainless steel. True magnum actions that you couldnt get twenty years ago are available. Custom shops are doing top-drawer work building rifles to .600 Nitro and beyond. More than five companies make and sell complete bolt action guns in .50 BMG.
HIGHLY ACCURATE LONG RANGE FACTORY RIFLES: Everybodys making them. Lots of half-minute sniper rifles are for sale, and many semi-custom shops are advertising and turning out ¼ MOA rifles in any caliber you want (Robar, Brown Precision, Shilen, Jarrett, Hammonds, Spencer, Williams, etc.) Weve even got true ½ MOA semi autos from Eagle, Olympic, Knight, ArmaLite, and others, as well as all the pieces for shooters to build their own. Two companies even make match rifles in .50 Browning. Finally, barrel life has tripled and bore fouling almost eliminated with the advent of cryogenic tempering, electrochemical polishing, and moly-coated bullets.
IMPORTS: Because of legislation sponsored by Senator Dole, military surplus Title 1 guns have been pouring back in: Garands, Carbines, Krags, Hakims, FN49s, Lugers, 1917s, Mausers, Moisin-Nagants, SVT40s, Tokarevs, etc. New manufacture politically corrected semis are everywhere. There are interesting, high-quality handguns and rifles in many different types, almost all cheaper in constant dollars than ever before. Surplus ammo from around the globe has never before been available in such tremendous quantity and variety, and at such low cost.
RELOADING: We now have a huge selection of real progressives, even for rifle calibers, from six different manufacturers. Presses that will load .50 BMG are common. Components have gone crazyseveral new high energy powders, and even .50 primers are readily available. There are dozens of match bullets including low drags in seven calibers, moly-coated if you want them that way. You can buy .50 Browning match bullets, including centerless-ground solids that have shot 4 groups at 1000 yards. Polycarbonate-tipped bullets that shoot ¼ MOA and blow up like bombs are available, priced lower in constant dollars than the bullets of 20 years before that were only half as good.
GUN MAGAZINES: All the ones from 1982 plus American Handgunner, Combat Handguns, SWAT, Women & Guns, Tactical Shooter, and Small Arms Review. Articles about combat shooting, concealed carry, and defensive equipment, is now the rule rather than the exception. Articles on machine guns appear regularly.
CONCEALED CARRY: In 20 years there has been a sea change in awareness that anti-carry laws are a relic of the Jim Crow era. Over thirty states now have shall issue carry laws. All but six of the remaining ones have some form of carry provisions. NO state has attempted to repeal its carry provisions--the news is ALL positive. John Ross and then the University of Chicago publish definitive studies that show concealed carry greatly benefits society. The gun manufacturers respond with the best concealment guns we have ever seen: The Seecamp, the mini Glocks in 9mm and .40, the Sigma, the Grendel, and the S&W Mountain Gun are just a few of these. The S&W Custom Shop alone accounts for a half dozen different models designed specifically for personal defense outside the home.
GENERAL CONDITIONS: The Soviet Union has imploded, in part because of its disastrously unsuccessful attempt to invade and rule Afghanistan. The Mujahadeen were armed with weapons that were often homemade, and of poorer quality than our worst surplus imports. With these awkward weapons, the Afghan freedom fighters defeated the Russian Army. This is a replay of America in 1776 and Vietnam in 1975.
In America, passage of the Volkmer-McClure Act in 1986 has thrown out all ammo record keeping requirements. You can buy ammo and components through the mail just like pre-68. Volkmer-McClure also protects travelers from the patchwork of conflicting state laws while in transit.
There are no new machine guns for sale to the public because of Volkmer-McClure Hughes Amendment, but the foreknowledge of this last-minute voice-vote betrayal allowed 100,000 more MGs to be registered in May 1986, doubling the supply that had taken 50 years to amass. The whole shooting community is now aware of machine guns and machine gun design, and it sees the terrible blow that Congress dealt our national defense with the 1934 and 1986 acts. These laws devastated future development of new full-auto designs in this country. Machine gun competitions and shoots spring up around the country, and Women & Guns magazine receives an article submission entitled The Submachine Gun for Home Defense. Several courts rule the NFA null and void, as the NFA was a revenue-raising measure, and under the 1986 ban no revenue can be raised.
The Federal Collectors license lets holders buy any Title 1 guns at least 50 years old through the mail. The Brady law is in effect, but likely to be thrown out as unconstitutional. The federal gun-free schools law has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The 1986 MG ban is legally identical and may be next. Lloyd Bentsen has decreed that three shotguns (USAS-12, Striker, and Streetsweeper) are destructive devices and must be registered as such; the public responds with less than 1% compliance despite draconian penalties.
The ATF and FBI are now under the bright light of public scrutiny because of their disastrous efforts at Ruby Ridge and Waco. So pervasive is the disgust at the Waco debacle being staged to justify budget increases that there is widespread skepticism about the cause of the OKC bombing, and this theme is actually now used by Hollywood. Movies once showed government agencies only in the most favorable light; now, a recent top-grossing film, The Long Kiss Goodnight, has a government agency plotting a terrorist bombing to get greater funding in the next years budget.
The historical novel Unintended Consequences further educates the public and the legislature about government infringements on citizens rights and the danger of continuing on this course. As this book goes into multiple printings, reviewers compare it to Uncle Toms cabin and Atlas Shrugged, and call it this generations novel of liberty.
What can we expect twenty years from now in 2022? If current trends continue, we can expect several things. We will have nationwide concealed carry, and indoor ranges will proliferate to satisfy the demand of urban-dwelling citizens (particularly women) who need to maintain their defensive skills. New concealment holsters and concealment purses will appear. As more and more criminals commit their crimes while under the influence of new designer drugs, we will see more and more effective handgun ammunition developed for defense. Handguns will be smaller, lighter, more reliable and more powerful. They will be even more corrosion resistant, and they will have less recoil as more and more manufacturers incorporate integral muzzle brakes into new designs.
Match rifles will shoot groups of two inches at a thousand yards because of continued improvement in barrel making, lapping, and stress-relieving. More and more factories will follow Normas lead and load their ammo with moly-coated bullets, and long range rifles will hold their accuracy for hundreds of shots without cleaning. We already have laser rangefinders costing less than $300; in the next 20 years we can expect these electronics to be incorporated into rifle optics. The military right now has riflescopes with laser ranging and automatic drop compensation; I expect this technology to hit the consumer market in the next decade for less than $1000.
Increased emphasis on health issues may bring about the reversal of one of the greatest public health blunders of this century: classifying firearm noise mufflers as restricted items. With recent Supreme Court rulings, the 1986 machine gun bans days may well be numbered. As more and more Constitutional scholars examine current firearms law, it is entirely possible that the entire National Firearms Act of 1934 will be repealed. With current computer technology registration of all violent felons can be easily accomplished, and anyone not on the list could then buy any gun anywhere in the country with no wait and no paperwork.
We are poised for these changes in the next 20 years because of what we have endured. We are stronger today than we have ever been before. We are stronger, and we are smarter. NO ONE believes that if we agree to a few restrictions, the enemy will go away. NO ONE has any intention of seriously complying with ANY confiscation programs. When mainstream, recreational magazines such as Guns & Ammo run articles on properly burying your guns in PVC pipe for future contingencies, the tide has shifted. By now millions of Americans have bought guns and ammunition in quantity and put them into appropriate long-term storage.
For all of our complaints about paperwork, the bald truth is that after a rifle, pistol, or shotgun leaves the possession of the first private buyer, it vanishes from the system. If the FBI dropped everything it was doing and spent 100% of its resources trying to locate just the four million SKS carbines in this country, each agent would have to trace to its present location nearly one thousand rifles. How many do you think they would find? Half? And that is just SKS carbines, whos going to track down everything else and confiscate it? Foreign troops wearing blue berets and speaking broken English? Good luck, the coroners will be working three shifts.
The people in Canada, England, and Australia do not have a Constitution with a Bill of Rights. We do. The People in Canada, England, and Australia now have confiscation because they first accepted full gun registration. We have refused, to the point of less than 1% compliance when registration has been forces on us by decree on individual types of guns. The people in England recently accepted the banning of handguns because by now, almost everyone in Englands gun culture has moved out of that country. There were only 50,000 handgun permit holders left in England, and most of the handguns there were .22 target pistols. We have over 100 MILLION centerfire handguns in our country, all suitable for defense. The people in Canada, England, and Australia have socialized medicine. We practically boiled in oil the politicians who tried to inflict socialized medicine on America.
People who like socialism have gravitated to Canada, England, and Australia. People who like freedom have gravitated to America. Are our rights under assault here in America? Absolutely! But history has shown us that from 1789 onwards, there have always been those who would deny some Americans their freedoms. History has shown us that in America, when the culture of freedom has clashed with the culture of State control, securing and restoring our rights is a constant process that is almost always gradual and peaceful. I believe that is what we will see with our Second Amendment rights. History has shown us that on rare occasions, the process of restoring our freedoms has been swift and bloody. There is one constant, however...
HISTORY HAS SHOWN US THAT IN AMERICA, THE CULTURE OF FREEDOM ALWAYS WINS.
More anti-gun laws proposed? Oh, puhleeze don' throw us in the briar patch.
Give It to Them Straight
by John Ross
Author of Unintended Consequences
The biggest mistake we make is failing to take the moral high ground on our issue, and letting our
enemies define the terms.
THEY SAY: "We'd be better off if no one had guns."
WE SAY: "You can never succeed at that, criminals will always get guns." (FLAW: The implication here is that if you
COULD succeed, it would be a reasonable plan.)
WE SHOULD SAY: "So, you want to institute a system where the weak and elderly are at the mercy of the strong, the
lone are at the mercy of the gang. You want to give violent criminals a government guarantee that citizens are disarmed.
Sorry, that's unacceptable. Better that we should require every citizen to carry a gun."
THEY SAY: "Those assault rifles have no sporting purpose. You don't need a 30-round magazine for hunting deer --
they're only for killing people."
WE SAY: "I compete in DCM High Power with my AR-15. You need a large-capacity magazine for their course of fire.
My SKS is a fine deer rifle, and I've never done anything to give my government reason not to trust me, blah, blah, blah."
(FLAW: You have implicitly conceded that it is OK to ban any gun with no sporting use. And eventually they can replace
your sporting arms with arcade-game substitutes.)
WE SHOULD SAY: "Your claim that 'they're only for killing people' is imprecise. A gas chamber or electric chair is
designed for killing people, and these devices obviously serve different functions than guns. To be precise, a high capacity
military-type rifle or handgun is designed for CONFLICT. When I need to protect myself and my freedom, I want the most
reliable, most durable, highest capacity weapon possible. The only thing hunting and target shooting have to do with
freedom is that they're good practice."
THEY SAY: "If we pass this CCW law, it will be like the Wild West, with shoot-outs all the time for fender-benders, in
bars, etc. We need to keep guns off the streets. If doing so saves just one life, it will be worth it."
WE SAY: "Studies have shown blah blah blah." (flaw: You have implied that if studies showed CCW laws equaled more
heat-of-passion shooting, CCW should be illegal.
WE SHOULD SAY: "Although no state has experienced what you are describing, that's not important. What is important
is our freedom. If saving lives is more important that anything else, why don't we throw out the Fifth amendment? We have
the technology to administer an annual truth serum session to the entire population. We'd catch the criminals and mistaken
arrest would be a thing of the past. How does that sound?"
THEY SAY: "I don't see what the big deal is about a five day waiting period."
WE SAY: "It doesn't do any good, criminals don't wait five days, it's a waste of resources blah blah blah." (FLAW: You
have implied that if waiting periods DID reduce crime, they would be a good idea.)
WHAT WE SHOULD SAY: "How about a 24-hour cooling-off period with a government review board before the news is
reported? Wouldn't that prevent lives from being ruined, e.g. Richard Jewell? And the fact that this law applies to people
who ALREADY own a handgun tells me that it's not about crime prevention, it's about harassment. Personally, I want to
live in a free society, not a 'safe' one with the government as chief nanny."
THEY SAY: "In 1776, citizens had muskets. No one ever envisioned these deadly AK-47s. I suppose you think we should
all have atomic bombs."
WE SAY: "Uh, well, uh . . ."
WE SHOULD SAY: "Actually, the Founders discussed this very issue - it's in the Federalist Papers. They wanted the
citizens to have the same guns as were the issue weapons of soldiers in a modern infantry. Soldiers in 1776 were each
issued muskets, but not the large field pieces with exploding shells. In 1996, soldiers are issued M16s, M249s, etc. but not
howitzers and atomic bombs. Furthermore, according to your logic, the laws governing freedom of the press are only valid
for newspapers whose presses are hand-operated and use fixed type. After all, no one in 1776 foresaw offset printing or
electricity, let alone TV and satellite transmission."
THEY SAY: "We require licenses on cars, but the powerful NRA screams bloody murder if anyone ever suggests licensing
these weapons of mass destruction."
WE SAY: Nothing, usually, and just sit there looking dumb.
WE SHOULD SAY:"You know, driving is a luxury, where firearms ownership is a right secured by the Constitution. But
let's put that aside for a moment. It's interesting you compared guns and vehicles. Here in the U.S. you can AT ANY AGE
go into any state and buy as many motorcycles, cars, or trucks of any size as you want, and you don't need to do anything if
you don't use them on public property. If you DO want to use them on public property, you can get a license at age 16. This
license is good in all 50 states. NO waiting periods, no background checks, nothing. If we treated guns like cars, a fourteenyear-
old could go into any state and legally buy handguns, machine guns, cannons, whatever, cash and carry, and shoot
them all with complete legality on private property. And at age 16 he could get a state license good anywhere in the country
to shoot these guns on public property."
Final comment, useful with most all arguments:
YOU SAY: "You know, I'm amazed at how little you care about your grandchildren. I would have thought they meant
more to you than anything."
YOU SAY: "Well, passing this proposal won't have a big immediate effect. I mean, in the next couple of years, neither Bill
Clinton nor Newt Gingrich is going to open up internment camps like Roosevelt did fifty-odd years ago. But think of your
worst nightmare of a political leader. Isn't it POSSIBLE that a person like that MIGHT be in control here some time in the
next 30, 40, or 50 years, with 51% of the Congress and 51% of the Senate behind him? If that does happen, do you
REALLY what your grandchildren to have been stripped of their final guarantee of freedom? And do you really want them
to have been stripped of it BY YOU?"
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