A billionaire who recently donated $500,000 in support of a gun control measure that would restrict the transfer of firearms in Washington state also plopped down $2.5 million on a World War II-era Nazi tank.
Little attention was paid to the purchase of the 70-year-old Panzer IV tank, until Wednesday, when Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen filed a lawsuit in in San Mateo County Superior Court over non-delivery of the 27.6-ton piece of military ordnance, according to the Los Angeles Times, which reported:
Now, he says, he spent $2.5 million on the Panzer IV, a choice bit of history that he bought in July to add to his museum of military memorabilia housed in his Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, Wash.
But the Panzer’s owner (in Allen’s world, the “former owner”) says that the sale never occurred. And therein lies the legal action.
Allen’s lawsuit caught the attention of Second Amendment supporters and brought with it cries of hypocrisy from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
“While Paul Allen is eager to get his hands on a genuine weapon of war, he is all-too-willing to support a measure that throws obstacles in the way of law-abiding citizens who may just want to borrow or buy a firearm from a friend or in-law,” Alan Gottlieb, the group’s chairman said in a statement released Friday. “How silly is that?”
The Times reported that Allen “has given away more than $1.8 billion,” including that half-million dollar donation for a Washington gun control bill. Gottlieb’s statement continued:
This is simply incredible. This elitist Seattle billionaire thinks it is just fine to make it more inconvenient for average citizens to buy, sell or loan a rifle, shotgun or handgun, but he wants to buy a German tank with a 75mm cannon! We looked through I-594, which Allen supports, and discovered why he’s probably hot to purchase that Panzer. I-594 has a tank-sized loophole.
Tanks appear to be exempt under the gun control measure because they’re not specifically mentioned anywhere in those 18 pages. So, Allen wouldn’t have to go through a background check. But who needs a tank to go duck hunting?
The Times notes that among Allen’s proudest possessions are Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawksm the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and “a chunk of the Seattle Sounders soccer franchise.”
But he doesn’t have a tank sitting in his hanger–not yet, anyway.
“Evidently,” Gottlieb concluded, “the difference between billionaires and the rest of us is the size of the guns they want to own.”