In November, Congress passed legislation to allow the Civilian Marksmanship Program of the Defense Department to sell .45 ACP Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol, which has long been used by U.S. armed forces. There will be approximately 10,000 available for purchase of the nearly 3 million procured by the U.S. government of the 1911 and 1911A1 pistols. Due to political pressure, CMP had been unable to sell the pistols until now. 

The government has approximately 100,000 of the pistols in storage, which were mothballed in the 1980s when the military switched to the Beretta 9 mm pistol.

According to a statement released by Mark Johnson -- CMP’s chief operating officer -- there are a number of preliminaries before the pistols will be available. Johnson released a statement, declaring: “Decisions concerning the grade and pricing of the 1911s will not be made until inspection has occurred of a substantial quantity which will take an estimated 150 days post receipt. All laws pertaining to the sale of 1911s by CMP will be strictly obeyed.”

The statement declared that purchasers will have to show: 1) proof of U.S. Citizenship, 2) proof of membership in a CMP affiliated club, 3) proof of participation in a marksmanship activity, 4) a new form 2A with notary, 5) successful completion of a NICS background check, 6) a signed copy of the 01 Federal Firearms License in which the 1911 will be transferred to.

CMP customers, according to the release, will also be required to complete a form 4473 in person and successfully complete another NICS check by the recipient FFL holder before the pistol can be transferred. Orders will only be accepted via mail order delivery. Additionally, the statement said that orders will only be accepted post-marked on the date or after. No early orders are to be accepted. Once CMP receives 10,000 orders, customer names will be loaded into the Random Number Generator, which will provide a list of names in sequence order through a random picking process to CMP.

“The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions.”

The pistols will likely be priced on a sliding scale, based on their condition grade (e.g. rack-field-service-special-correct-collector).

In late November, the Senate and the House issued a reconciled 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which includes the language necessary to sell the surplus handguns. Therefore, the military may transfer pistols to the CMP. While technically, the military was enabled in 2016 to transfer the pistols to CMP, the last word was given to Barack Obama’s Secretary of Defense. The bill capped the number of pistols the Army was allowed to surplus at 10,000 per year. During the Obama years, the Army did not transfer handguns to surplus. The new defense bill mandates that at least 8,000 of the handguns be transferred to surplus.

“This year’s language, however, would effectively make the transfers mandatory and would remove the yearly cap,” said an NRA statement. “Currently, the military has some 100,000 excess 1911s sitting in storage at taxpayer expense.” Last year, it was estimated that each pistol costs the government $2 per year for storage and maintenance.

“Transfer of these historically-significant firearms would ease a burden on the government’s heavily indebted balance sheet and help preserve important artifacts from the era when the U.S. military defended Western Civilization from worldwide fascism and aggressive Communist expansion.”

The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act is currently awaiting President Trump’s signature, authorizing $700 billion in overall defense spending. 
 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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