The US House of Representatives recently has passed their version of the 2018 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act ). Within, it included a provision that will mandate the release of all the M1911 handguns that are currently in US Army inventory to the CMP (the Civilian Marksmanship Program), for a further distribution to eligible US civilians. This new bill would overwrite the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which allowed for the release of 10,000 of the pistols but, fortunately, did not mandate it.
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The following is part of the text of Section 1064 of the 2018 NDAA:
SEC. 1064. TRANSFER OF SURPLUS FIREARMS TO CORPORATION FOR THE PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE AND FIREARMS SAFETY.
(a) In General.—Section 40728(h) of title 36, United States Code, is amended—
(1) by striking “(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may transfer” and inserting “The Secretary shall transfer”;
(2) by striking “The Secretary shall determine a reasonable schedule for the transfer of such surplus pistols.”; and
(3) by striking paragraph (2).
(b) Termination Of Pilot Program.—Section 1087 of the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2016 (Public Law 114–92; 129 Stat. 1012) is amended by striking subsections (b) and (c).
Besides the fact that the 2016 NDAA allowed for the release of 10,000 M1911 handguns via a pilot program, its provisions did not mandate their transfer to the CMP. The administration at the time has reportedly blocked their release. The 2018 NDAA’s provisions are supposed to terminate the pilot program, and instead, mandate the release of the current surplus M1911 handguns to the CMP through the Secretary of the Army:
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The Secretary may not transfer more than 10,000 surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols to the corporation during any year and may only transfer such pistols as long as pistols described in paragraph (1) remain available for transfer.
If this bill passes the Senate – and right now, odds look quite good that it will be – then we could see the transfer of thousands of surplus M1911 handguns to the US civilian market via the CMP. Although these guns are likely to be well-worn, they still could have considerable value as collector’s pieces, inexpensive shooting irons, and workpieces for customization.