For years Beemiller, the company who owns and distributes Hi Point has counted their series of pistol caliber carbines as one of their best selling products. Made in 9mm, 40S&W, and 45ACP, these reliable and affordable little guns have found a legion of followers.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein is now going after the humble Hi-Point for reasons unknown, labeling it a dangerous and evil assault weapon (itself a class of arms that doesn't exist). Of the more than 35,000 modern firearm models in circulation, only 157 were deemed dangerous enough for the good Senator to ban them by name.
And the Hi-Point carbines are so scary to the good Senator that they are number 12 on the list, right between the 11th ranked Israeli Galil Model AR/Model ARM and 13th ranked German Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, HK22 PSG1, and HK USC.
What are the Hi Point Carbines?
For those of you unaware, the Tom Deeb inspired semi-auto carbines made by Hi-Point have
been around since 1995. Inexpensive and made from zymak (zinc alloy) slides coupled to
polymer frames with steel inserts for support, these little blowback action guns were a hit from the moment they were introduced. They have proved themselves to thousands of buyers. In 2011, more than 30,000 of the carbines were sold to the public, outstripping the rifle sales of many very well known gun makers in the country. Today they are sold in three variants, the Models 995TS, 4095TS, and 4595TS, with the primary difference between the three beings in caliber chambering.
Why are they picking on the Hi Points?
Born during Senator Feinstein's first short-lived Assault Weapon's Ban, they fully met the
restrictions of the country when they were designed. They do not have a collapsible stock, a bayonet lug, were not designed for military service, and only accept a 10-round single stack magazine as standard. Hi-Point has never marketed a larger so-called high capacity mag for its firearms.
Other than being one of the several illegally obtained weapons used in the 1999 Columbine School Shooting, the Hi-Point carbines rarely show up in crimes. So what sets it apart?
The Feather Ind AT-9 carbine, like the Hi-Point carbines it has a pistol grip, so like the Hi-Point, it is listed on Fienstien's ban wish list.
Signs point to this new attention being focued because of the pistol grip. Several other pistol caliber carbines are also sharing space the Hi-Points in the ban list including the Keltec Sub2000, Beretta CX4, and Feather Industries AT-9. The only similarity with these designs is in the simple grip that is provided in the magazine well. Other popular pistol caliber carbines that do not have a pistol grip, such as the Marlin Camp Carbine and the Ruger PC40/PC9, are specifically listed on a much longer list of guns not subject to ban in the same bill.
The Marlin Camp Carbine. Made in 9mm and 45ACP it is a pistol caliber carbine. It doesn't have a pistol grip so unlike the Hi-Point 995/4095/4595, its on the proposed list of firearms that is allowed to remain in circulation...for now.
An unexpected result of this is that current owners of these budget rifles, have seen the value of their guns double or even triple on the open market. Guns that before could be acquired for as little as $150 gently used at your local pawn broker now go for nearly $500-- when you can even get them.
The Assault Weapon Ban of 2013 may very well not pass. The original 1994 bill only just slid through on the narrowest of margins (216-214 in the House, 51-49 in the Senate) and was much less strict. If it does in its current form, you will see the Hi-Point Carbines of all types banned from sale. Those nearly 250,000+ carbines in current circulation could be grandfathered to the current owners after paying a $200 tax stamp to the ATF and going through the invasive NFA registration process. If you don't properly register it, you can be looking at a large chunk of your life spent in a federal facility if caught with one along with extensive fines.
The quiet and unassuming Hi-Point carbine in its most frequently seen role: weekend plinker that stands ready for medium weight hunting and home defense if needed. Is this really an assault weapon? Some in Congress think so.
Presumably, the company could rename the rifle something completely different, such as the "Hi-Point Camp Companion" and redesign it to have a plain stock without a pistol grip to comply with the law. On the other hand, it could just stick to making pistols if it's not economically viable to undertake a redesign and rebranding campaign. The company itself, faced with having issued lifetime warranties on a quarter million now-Class III firearms, may be in for millions in regulatory issues in having to ship this now highly regulated guns across state lines for repair.
If you have thoughts on this matter, the best thing to do is share them with your local congressional representative.