American marksmen will soon be able to own a piece of history, thanks to an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the House of Representatives.
The amendment, introduced by Rep Mike Rogers, R-Ala., would begin the transfer of the U.S. Army’s remaining stock of Colt M1911A1 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) to be sold to the public.
“The Army currently has around 100,000 surplus Colt 1911A1s, the iconic sidearm used throughout both world wars, as well as the fighting in Korea and Vietnam,” writes Matthew Moss for Task & Purpose. “But by the 1980s, the 1911 had officially been replaced, shunted aside for the sleeker Beretta M9. Now, in a Lion King-esque circle of life, the M9 too has reached its expiration date, and will follow the venerable 1911 into the great beyond (err, storage facilities), as the Army begins to receive shipments of shiny new M17 Sig Sauer pistols.”
In 2015, President Obama signed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which included language to permit the sale of up to 10,000 of these WWII-era firearms per year to the public. The transfer was never implemented, however, because the language of the law stipulated that the army “may transfer” the pistols. Rogers’ amendment changes that language to “shall transfer,” thus ensuring that this time the guns are actually handed over to the CMP to be sold.
“This policy has been included in the NDAA since 2015, but the Obama Administration blocked the Army to transfer the 1911s for political reasons,” said Rogers in a statement Friday. “I am hopeful that with the help of the Trump Administration, we can make this provision a reality.”
The government will save approximately $200,000 per year by moving these weapons out of storage and giving them to the CMP, according to Rogers’ office.
The CMP is a government-chartered program that promotes firearm safety training and education to U.S. citizens, focusing on youth. Any qualified U.S. citizen who is not legally prohibited from owning or purchasing a firearm is permitted to purchase a military surplus weapon from the CMP “for marksmanship.” The CMP sells government-surplus M1 Garands, .22 caliber target rifles, and other firearms.
The proceeds from CMP sales are used “to fund operations and programs and supplement a permanent endowment.”