Gun Laws & Legislation

Obama continues ban on importation of 600,000 historical, collectible M1 Carbine rifles; Fate of 86,000 Garands still in doubt

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The Korea Times is reporting that while it will allow 86,000 historical M1 Garand rifles to be imported from South Korea, the Obama administration continues to block the importation of some 600,000 M1 Carbines because “they come with a magazine that can carry multiple rounds.”

From the article:

Washington has agreed to allow the importation of M1 Garand rifles from Seoul, reversing its earlier decision to ban the shipping of the weapon used by South Korean and U.S. soldiers during the 1950-53 Korean War, a senior defense official said Wednesday. 

“The U.S. government approved the imports of some 86,000 of the rifles,” said Lee Sun-chul, deputy defense minister for force and resources management.

“The historic firearms are expected to be sold to American Korean War veterans and their families in time for the 62nd anniversary of the Korean War, which falls on June 25 this year.”

Kim Mi-sung, an official of the force and resources management office, said the defense ministry received an approval letter from the United States on Sept. 2 last year that stated Washington agreed to allow the importation of the M1s.

She noted that the U.S. government, however, rejected Seoul’s proposal to export some 600,000 M1 Carbines, which were also used in the Korean War, as they come with a magazine that can carry multiple rounds unlike the Garands.

This latest development comes more than 16 months after Fox News first reported that Obama had banned the importation of the vintage, collectible rifles. At the time, a State Department spokesman told reporters the administration’s decision was based on concerns that the guns could “potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes.”

When the ban was first announced, Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said “guns that can take high-capacity magazines are a threat to public safety,” said “Even though they are old, these guns could deliver a great amount of firepower. So I think the Obama administration’s concerns are well-taken.”

Ironically, the “firepower,” as Henigan calls it, of the M1 Garand, which is chambered in .30-06 Springfield, is far stronger than that of the reduced-power .30 caliber cartridge used in the banned M1 Carbine. But in the ignorant world of the Brady Campaign, a multiple-round magazine filled with what a postwar U.S. Army evaluation concluded was an ineffective cartridge is to be feared more than a cartridge that was developed for when shots of 1000 yards were expected, and which was heavily used by military snipers.

Again, from The Korea Times:

In February last year, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Cynthia Lummis proposed bills for an amendment of the Arms Export Control Act to guarantee that U.S.-made military firearms classified as “curios and relics” will not be blocked from importation.

The legislations allow firearms more than 50 years old, considered antiques or relics and lawfully possessed by a foreign government, to be imported into the United States through properly licensed groups and sold without written permission from the U.S. State or Defense Departments.

Although the Garands have received tentative approval, the article goes on to say a senior defense ministry official raised the possibility that the U.S. government may cancel the plan to allow the purchase the M1s, saying Seoul has yet to finalize negotiations with Washington.

“We have yet to receive confirmation from the United States over our proposal,” he said. “The U.S. government may change its position at the last minute due to political considerations.”

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Buckeye Firearms Association for this article. They are a great organization and always on top of gun legislation, visit them here