The Korea Times reports that the Obama administration is blocking the sale to US importers of tens of thousands of surplus M1 Garands and M1 carbines, avidly desired by American target shooters and collectors on grounds that they might find their way into the hands of terrorists (!).
The U.S. government opposed South Koreaâ€™s bid to sell hundreds of thousands of aging U.S. combat rifles to American gun collectors, a senior government official said Thursday.
The ministry announced the plan last September as part of efforts to boost its defense budget, saying the export of the M1 Garand and carbine rifles would start by the end of 2009.
The U.S. administration put the brakes on the plan, citing â€œproblemsâ€ that could be caused by the importation of the rifles.
The problems the U.S. government cited were somewhat ambiguous, said an official at the Ministry of National Defense on condition of anonymity.
â€œThe U.S. insisted that imports of the aging rifles could cause problems such as firearm accidents. It was also worried the weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions,â€ the official told The Korea Times. …
The Seoul government sought to sell the outdated U.S guns back to the United States.
A total of 86,000 M1 rifles and another 22,000 carbines were to be sold, as the weapons have been mothballed for about five decades in military warehouses. The per-unit price of the M1 rifle is about $220 and the carbine is more than $140, according to the ministry.
M1s were made first in 1926 and used in World War II and the 1954-1975 Vietnam War. The carbines were first produced in 1941 and used during the 1950-1953 Korean War.
Hat tip to David Kopel.