Sunday, November 20, 2016

One Year On - NO Progress, Thanks to Sec Army

One year ago this month, on November 25, 2015, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.   

Contained within the authorization, passed by both Houses and Signed by the President, is Section 1087- authorizing the transfer of handguns from the army to the Civilian Marksmanship  Program.   This would allow the CMP to sell surplus M1911/M1911A1's to Civilians through CMP- and perhaps within a few years surplus M9 Beretta's once they reach surplus status as they are projected to do- although the act will need amended. 

On November 25, 2016 it will have been 366 days since the law was signed, yet not a single M1911/M1911A1 has been made available to the CMP.   

This is not the first go-round the current administration has had with the CMP.   Under Secretary Clinton, South Korea wanted to return to the US some 700,000 M1 Garrands  and 400,000 M1 Carbines.    They all would have gone to the CMP and sold to qualified civilians and approved organizations- such as the VFW and other approved organizations.    Secretary Clinton refused the transfer- claiming it was for public safety, despite the fact that no properly obtained CMP firearm has ever been used in a crime.  (It is possible that one M1 Carbine was used, but it had been stolen from its lawful owner). 

The Civilian Marksmanship Program was started some 113 years ago.   Originally a part of the US Army, it provided civilian training on bolt action rifles - as the US Army had just adopted the 1903 Springfield and most Americans had a lack of familiarity with bolt action firearms.  

In 1996 Congressional action made the CMP separate from the military creating a 501(c)(3)  named the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. although CMP is still used.  The Congressional Mandate of the CMP is:

  1. To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship;
  2. To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms;
  3. To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors.

The law specifically states: In carrying out the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the corporation shall give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.

While serving as an NJROTC Cadet and a member of the Rifle Team (back when .22 Rifles were used in 3 position smallbore competition), I participated in CMP sanctioned matches.  My uniform bore medals from those matches.  Unfortunately, those Olympic Class Anschutz .22LR Single Shot Competition rifles were stripped of JROTC Units and delivered to local military bases.   The final disposition is unknown.  JROTC units are now relegated to pellet gun competitions. 

So what is the reason for the hold on the 1911's?   The lame-duck Secretary of the Army - who has yet to sign the transfer order authorizing 10,000 1911's per year to be sold.   

At least we will have a new Secretary of the Army soon- who may finally do what Congress says.  



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