Firearm collectors may soon be able to get their hands on vintage 1911 pistols through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), thanks to an amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Sponsored by US Representative Mike Rogers (R-Alabama), the amendment would allow the US Army to transfer its stock of 100,000 surplus M1911A1 handguns to the CMP, allowing the firearms to be inspected, processed, and eventually prepared for sale through the program. According to AL.com, the NDAA recently passed out of the House Armed Services Committee and will be up for consideration by the rest of the House later this month.
“As a gun owner and strong believer in the Second Amendment, my proposal is a common-sense approach to eliminating an unnecessary cost to the Federal government while allowing the very capable CMP to handle the sale of these vintage firearms that otherwise would just sit in storage,” Rogers said in a press release. “This amendment is a win—win for the taxpayer. I was pleased the amendment passed the committee and appreciate the support my colleagues on this proposal.”
The M1911 is one of the most revered firearms in the history of the US military. It was originally designed by legendary gun maker John Browning and pressed into service in 1911. Despite the US Army replacing it with the Beretta M9 as the service’s standard sidearm in 1986, the 1911 remains in service with several branches of the military in various updated forms.
Of the surplus stock currently being held in storage, around 8,300 pistols have been sold to law enforcement or transferred to foreign countries. The remainder cost about $2 each to keep in storage, costing taxpayers roughly $200,000 each year in upkeep.
“This sensible change will save the taxpayers millions over the years to come, as well as aid a great organization that serves the public,” said Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK), who also supported the amendment, in a press release.
As a federally-chartered non-profit organization, the CMP is allowed to sell surplus military firearms, ammunition, and parts to its members. In order to purchase a firearm through the program, the buyer must be a US citizen and current member of a CMP-affiliated organization, show proof of participation in marksmanship activity, and be legally eligible to purchase a gun. Among the program’s most popular offerings are the M1 Garand rifle and M1 carbine, but the CMP also sells a number of other rifles and air guns.