August 19th, 2010

Feds Block Import of M1 Garands and M1 Carbines from Korea

According to the Korea Times, the U.S. Government (branch and officials unknown) has stymied plans by the Korean Defense Ministry to sell 86,000 M1 Garands and 22,000 M1 Carbines to American gun collectors. The gun export program was designed to augment Korea’s defense budget, and the Defense Ministry had hoped to start shipping rifles at the end of 2009. But somebody in Washington has blocked the re-importation of the classic Garands and Carbines.

Korean M1 Garand

There are many unanswered questions involving this story. The Koreans won’t say exactly what branch of the U.S. Goverment is opposing the shipment of M1 Garands and M1 Carbines, and the Obama Administration isn’t talking. The Korea Times reports:

The problems the U.S. government cited were somewhat ambiguous, said an official at the Ministry of National Defense on condition of anonymity.

“The 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,” the official told The Korea Times.

“We’re still looking into the reason why the U.S. administration is objecting to the sale of the rifles and seeking ways to resolve the problems raised,” he said.

Gangs Armed with Surplus Garands?
The No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money Blog attacked the notion that Classic M1 Garands (or carbines) would become the new weapon of choice for ‘gangs or other people with bad intentions': “As to the assertion by some unnamed U.S. official that gangs might use M-1 Garands, I think someone watched the movie Gran Torino a few too many times. Can you imagine how many cases of ‘M-1 thumb’ there would be if the Crips, the Bloods, or the Latin Kings were to attempt to use a M-1 Garand?”

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September 25th, 2009

M1 Garands and Carbines Return from South Korea

Here’s good news for collectors of classic American military rifles. Over 100,000 M1 Garands and M1 Carbines are “returning home” from South Korea. The South Korean Defense Ministry recently announced plans to ship 86,000 Garands and 22,000 Carbines back to the United States for sale to American collectors. Originally made in the USA, these weapons were supplied by the US during the Korean and Vietnam war years.

South Korea M1 Garand Rifle
South Korea M1 Garand Rifle

M1 GarandThankfully, South Korea’s plan to return the Garands and Carbines to the United States has received a “green light” from American officials. “The US government recently approved our plan to sell old M1 and carbine rifles, which were given to our soldiers as part of a US aid programme,” a ministry spokesman declared.

Most of the arms have been in storage at military warehouses, only occasionally used for drills by reserve forces. While South Korea plans to send back most of its M1 Garands, it intends to retain another 640,000 carbines for reserve units. The 108,000 rifles set for return to America are collectively valued at over $108,000,000 (based on $1000.00 retail price per gun). Realistically, given the fact that CMP rack grade and service grade Garands sell for much less, we would hope many of these Korean returns would sell for quite a bit less than $1000.00. But, ultimately, supply and demand in the United States will dictate selling prices.

UPDATE: On August 12, 2010, the Korea Times reported that the U.S. Government is now opposing the return to the USA of the 108,000 Garands and Carbines. A Korean Defense Ministry source revealed that American officials were now claiming the weapons could cause accidents or “be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions”.

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