The National Defense Authorization Act, passed in 2016, will transfer the US Army’s stock of-of .45 ACP 1911A1 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
An amendment proposed by Representative Mike Rogers of Alabama could release for private purchase the largest amount of World War II surplus handguns ever.
Rogers justified the move by stating ‘As a gun owner and strong believer in the Second Amendment, my proposal is a common-sense approach to eliminating an unnecessary cost to the Federal government while allowing the very capable CMP [Civilian Marksmanship Program] to handle the sale of these vintage firearms that otherwise would just sit in storage.’ He further stated that the Armed Forces spent about $200,000 a year to store 100,000 surplus 1911’s.
The Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, controversial for its release of military weapons to civilian agencies, disposed of 8,300 M911’s. Nevertheless, the rest have been in storage since their replacement by the Beretta 92 (M9) in the 1980’s.
Rogers’s amendment would also allow the CMP to receive and sell any surplus military firearm. The amendment, however, would only apply to the Army, not the Air Force and Navy, or to those firearms already in service with federal law enforcement agencies.
The Army’s store is at the Armiston Army Depot, which lies in a district represented by Rogers. Armiston and is close to the CMP’s regional warehouse. This would facilitate cheap and easy transfer of firearms.
Rogers declared the amendment a boon to the public. It was ‘a win – win for the taxpayer. I was pleased the amendment passed the committee and appreciate the support my colleagues on this proposal.’
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a not for profit corporation established by the Federal Government to promote firearms safety training. It began as Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship in 1903.
Congress authorized it to train firearms skills in preparation for a possible war. It was attached to the Army, but it became a civilian organization under President Clinton in 1996.
The Program is mostly financed from the sale of surplus military firearms. Only qualified members of the public may purchase such weapons.
The CMP’s stocks are diminishing. In 2010 its most numerous firearm was the M-1 Garand Rifle, of which there were 125,000. Attempts to obtain surplus rifles from US allies were blocked by the administration of President Obama.
It is hoped that 100,000 of the collectible M911’s would refill the CMP’s coffers. ‘Not only is this is an organization that is committed to training civilians in the proper, responsible, and safe use of firearms,’ said Representative Steve Russell of Oklahoma, who supported the amendment, ‘but at a cost of roughly $2.00 per pistol per year to store these weapons, we were spending $200,000 a year in perpetuity.
This sensible change will save the taxpayers millions over the years to come, as well as aid a great organization that serves the public.”
The Civilian Marksmanship Program would compensate the Army for the cost of transferring the weapons.