Legislative effort underway to restore importation of carbines

Steve PollickHere’s a shout-out to U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummins (R., Wyoming) for introducing a bill to repatriate tens of thousands of vintage M-1 Garand rifles and M-1 Carbines from South Korea, this over the waffling objection of the Obama State Department.

Early last month, Lummins introduced H.R. 2247, the Collectible Firearms Protection Act, which reverses a State Department decision to block the importation of historic M1 Garand rifles and M1 carbines from South Korea.

These World War II-era military small arms were furnished by the United States to South Korea forces more than half a century ago, and no surprise, they are highly sought by collectors and are increasingly popular in marksmanship competitions.

Lummins’ office notes that the rifles are perfectly legal to manufacture and sell in the United States and like all firearm imports they would be subject to the federal rules and regulations governing retail firearm sales.  A similar sale from South Korea was approved during the Reagan Administration.  Moreover, the current State Department’s interference with the sale runs counter to the intent of Congress, which on two prior occasions amended the law to allow for this kind of transaction.

“It’s disappointing that legislation is even necessary to allow U.S. citizens to access perfectly legal and regulated firearms, in this case storied, U.S.-made rifles that are pieces of U.S. military history,” Lummis stated. “This is a political stunt on the part of the State Department, pure and simple, while denying the exercise of Second Amendment rights by law-abiding citizens, firearm collectors, and competitive marksman.  The State Department has no business blocking domestic firearm ownership; they are way out of bounds and my legislation will put them back in their place.”

Here on the verge of the 2013 edition of the National Rifle and Pistol Matches at the storied Camp Perry west of Port Clinton on Lake Erie, the timing of the Lummins bill could not be more appropriate. M-1s and Carbines are in great demand for vintage small arms matches there, among other places.

Realistically, with a contentious Congress that cannot agree even on lunch, there likely is little chance the Lummins Garand/Carbine bill will get passed to allow these treasured rifles to be brought back home for sale to caring hands. This is Lummins second try at breaking the State Department logjam on these rifles; her first was in 2010 in a bipartisan effort with U.S. Sen. Jon tester (D., Montana). That went nowhere as well, same reason, Do-Nothing Congress. For its part the Obama administration has played yes-no-yes-no with this issue, to its lasting discredit. This issue has nothing to do with other gun-control issues that Congress is too feckless to handle.

And it is sad that the State Department has to stick its nose into this, just as, on the other hand, it is sad that some ultra right-wing, gun-owning extremists accuse Lummins of little more than political grandstanding ahead of the 2014 elections as she tries to do the right thing.

But maybe her effort will create enough public buzz to break the political deadlock and the Garands and Carbines can come home. Here’s hoping.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick

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