The bill to surplus more than 100,000 1911 pistols through the Civilian Marksmanship Program is inching closer to passage. The Civilian Marksmanship Program, or CMP, has been unable to sell the pistols so far due to political pressure.
Last Friday the House of Representatives passed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which includes the language necessary to surplus the handguns. This will make it possible for the Army to transfer some 100,000 .45 ACP Model 1911 pistols to the CMP.
Technically the Army has been able to surplus the 1911s since 2016. However, legislators worded the 2016 NDAA to leave the decision up to the Secretary of Defense. The bill also capped the number of pistols the Army was allowed to surplus at 10,000 per year. Under the Obama administration, the Army surplussed no handguns.
“This year’s language, however, would effectively make the transfers mandatory and would remove the yearly cap,” praised the NRA in a statement. “Currently, the military has some 100,000 excess 1911s sitting in storage at taxpayer expense.”
“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.”
That doesn’t mean Americans will get to buy these guns in the near future. “They are still in the hands of the U.S. Army and there are still a few hurdles to clear,” said CMP spokesman Steve Cooper in an email to GunsAmerica. “The House and Senate each of their versions of the Defense Appropriations legislation which require resolution.”
“We are still very hopeful and we’ll be patient with the process,” added Cooper.
If passed, the CMP will be able to transfer these guns to buyers the same way new guns are sold. Buyers will undergo background checks and stores would have to keep records of the transfers in-store.
Although the pistols, which were in service starting in the Philippine-American war before World War I, come with the original 7-round magazines, the NRA expects some legislators to push back against the bill. The NRA is asking gun rights supporters and gun collectors to contact their representatives to urge them to sign on to this legislation.
The CMP is a government-chartered program to teach firearms safety and shooting skills. The organization previously sold 1911 pistols until political pressure forced them to stop distributing handguns. Today, the CMP specializes in teaching shooting skills and hosts programs for adults and youths across the country.