A reader yesterday made a pretty good comment that I feel I should share as a post:
1994 – Clinton gets the gun ban through Congress. Issues an executive order directing the Army to cease transfer of surplus-to-needs weapons and ammunition to the Department of Civilian Marksmanship. Also orders the Army to dispose of stored M14’s by foreign sale or destruction, in order to prevent their future sale through DCM.
1995 – Clinton issues executive order shutting down DCM permanently.
1996 – A newly elected Republican controlled Congress (primarliy due to Clintons’ gun ban) gives Clinton “the finger” by resurrecting the DCM as a congressionally chartered private corporation; the CMP. For political reasons the CMP is not chartered to sell the thousands of 1911’s surplussed by the switch to the M9. Doesn’t have much practical impact, though, as the company in Anniston that had been bandsawing Garands and M14s, and crushing 1911’s, had been running 3 shifts for more than a year. There are, for all practical purposes, no 1911’s left. Destruction of Garands and M14’s is halted. Remaining rifles returned to storage.
2004(ish) Army notes desperate need for long range rifle system for designated marksman program. Remaining M14’s, including most of the guns used by the USN for linethrowing and security, are returned to the depot at Crane for overhaul and re-issue to the Army.
Clinton managed to get rid of nearly 750,000 M14’s through foreign sales (at a dollar apiece) or destruction.
The domestic supply of M1 Garands was exhausted about 3 years ago. Rifles sold through CMP since then are lend-lease returns from foreign governments. Once those are gone, or if re-import is halted, thats’ it. Get ‘em while you can!
The Army is still short of DM rifles, and certainly isn’t destroying any serviceable M14’s at this point. Rumor has it that attempts are being made to repurchase some of those that were dumped overseas.