Will Korean M1 Rifles Come Home?

A new bill introduced in Congress seeks to allow the import of WWII-era M1 carbines from Korea.photo from Saving Private Ryan (1998)

U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) has introduced H.R. 2611, the "Collectible Firearms Protection Act."

This bill would force the State Department to approve the importation of M1 Garand rifles and M1 carbines from South Korea. The U.S. exported these firearms to South Korea at the onset of the Korean War in the 1950s to help the Koreans defend their freedom. Since then M1 Garand and M1 carbine have become collector's items. Garand prices vary widely depending on quality.

Also in the South Korea cache are a number of M1 Garand rifles.

Because they are semiautomatic rifles, M1s are legal to manufacture and own in the U.S. If these guns are allowed to come back for private sale, like all firearm imports, they would be subject to the federal rules and regulations governing retail firearm sales. The Obama administration blocked the importation of these historic semiautomatic rifles because they could “potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes.”

The Collectible Firearms Protection Act was introduced on June 2 to the Committee on Foreign Affairs in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means. At the time of this post, it didn’t yet have any cosponsors.

An actual M1 carbine, up for auction by RockIslandAuction.comphoto from rockislandauction.com