When you begin to make things difficult for most, you start to make them impossible for some. That’s what went rattling through my skull when I saw the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s 14-point sales plan for the highly coveted 1911s it will surplusing in 2018.
With only 10,000 available, demand is through the roof. Everyone I’ve talked to wants one. Everyone I’ve talked also bitched about all the hoops CMP wants us to jump through to score a piece of history.
CMP is asking prospective purchasers to provide documents exhibiting:
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.
Rather excessive, to say the least. To put all that together just for the chance of being allowed to buy a pistol — there are no guarantees that you’ll actually be selected — is a lot of work. Especially for those of us who work full-time, have kids to take care of, and are busy with the millions of other things life has us doing.
CMP is not dumb. They know this. They complicated the process on purpose. While it’s easy to write it off as a power trip by government bureaucrats, what it actually is is a way for CMP to vet prospective purchasers. The last thing they want is for these guns to fall into the hands of a feckless individual, or worse, a criminal.
CMP is banking on the fact that if responsible folk, like you or I, pass on putting in for a pistol because of all the red tape, then it’s an almost certainty that less responsible people will waive the white flag as well. From the CMP’s perspective, they can’t be too careful. It’s also why they will charge upwards of $1,000 for each pistol.
Mark Johnson, the Chief Operating Officer of CMP, spoke about the cost of the pistols with Lee Williams of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
“It’s hard to say exactly, but a good guess will be around $1,000 minimum,” he said. “One reason for this is that the 1911 is a very valuable pistol. Even though they may be shot out or busted up, we don’t want them falling into the hands of people who will just leave them in a glove box. We want a perceived value — more of an heirloom. We don’t want them considered a standard sidearm. All we need is to have someone commit a liquor store robbery with one and then we’ll be held accountable.”
The inflated cost, like the process, is another way to guarantee that these guns end up in the hands of serious collectors and hobbyists. Not your average Joe Public.
Maybe there is middle ground. Maybe there is a way to streamline the process. For example, those who have already gone through the CMP process shouldn’t have to go through it again. Those files — proof of citizenship, proof of membership to CMP club, proof of marksmanship — should all still be on record. No need to have to resubmit all that paperwork again.
Anyways, that’s just one idea. Another, the requirement that everything has to be sent by mail, seems a little antiquated in the age of the Internet. Email works just fine. It’s secure, it’s free and it saves one a trip to the post office.
Who knows, maybe they’ll do something between now and then to ease the burden. I won’t hold my breath, though. Even with all the headaches, will I still try to purchase one of these government 1911s? Yup. And I’m betting you will too.