See update II at the bottom of this story.
According to a story yesterday (Aug 15th) in the Korea Times, the US government has objected to plans by the South Koreans to sell their surplus M-1 Garands and M-1 carbines to U.S. collectors. The Ministry of Defense was attempting to sell 86,000 Garands and 22,000 carbines. They wanted to use the proceeds from the sale to boost their defense budget.
The problems the U.S. government cited were somewhat ambiguous, said an official at the Ministry of National Defense on condition of anonymity.
“The U.S. insisted that imports of the aging rifles could cause problems such as firearm accidents. It was also worried the weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions,” the official told The Korea Times.
The official above also said they were trying to work out the problems so they could be sold. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t detail whether the buyer was to be the Civilian Marksmanship Program or a surplus arms importer such as Century International Arms.
As to the assertion by some unnamed U.S. official that gangs might use M-1 Garands, I think someone watched the movie Gran Torino a few too many times. Can you imagine how many cases of “M-1 thumb” there would be if the Crips, the Bloods, or the Latin Kings were to attempt to use a M-1 Garand?
UPDATE: Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell makes an important point on this sale:
The Obama Administration has no legal authority to prevent the importation of these rifles. Under a provision of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, rifles and shotguns that are Curios and Relics are permitted to be imported, the “sporting purposes” language in the 1968 Gun Control Act be damned. That’s probably why they are resorting to back channel pressure to prevent the South Korean government from selling them as surplus.
This goes to show that the Obama Administration may be unwilling to take us on head on, but they are willing to screw us through the back channel.
UPDATE II: From Gun Totin’ Hippies, it appears that these Garands and M-1 Carbines were part of a lend-lease program and are US property to begin with. If that is the case, the only way they can be sold is through the ODCMP.