Update on Korean Garands

The Washington Times ran an editorial on Friday that referred to the blocked Korean Garands as “Obama’s backdoor gun ban.” The paper confirmed with the State Department that the rifles’ importation was being blocked and that they were looking at alternative options. As the paper notes, during the Clinton administration, “alternative options” meant melting down surplus rifles.  The end result of that fiasco is that it left the U.S. Army scraping the barrel when it came to finding M-14s for their Designated Marksmen.

The Washington Times further accused Obama of doing this to appease the “gun grabbers.”

Therefore, the best way for Mr. Obama to appease the gun-grabbing fringe is to take actions that won’t bring too much attention to what he’s doing. As long as the destruction of these rifles stays under the public radar screen, he will have achieved his goal.

The Firearm Blog has a post about the South Koreans’ reaction to the surplus Garands and M-1 carbines being blocked. They link to a story in the Korean newspaper The Chosun llbo. The story reiterates much of what was said in the original Korea Times article. Quoting an unnamed Korean official who said:

“It’s difficult to understand why the U.S. opposes the deal now, when we already shipped tens of thousands of these firearms to the U.S. in the early 1990s. We are trying to grasp the real underlying cause of this reversal through diplomatic channels.” He added that because these firearms were originally made in the U.S., selling them back needs approval from Washington.

The Chosun Ilbo article does have one humorous aspect. The picture that they use to illustrate the M-1 Carbine seems to be that of a plastic, G.I. Joe toy carbine.

7 thoughts on “Update on Korean Garands”

  1. If we keep it in the mainstream and call it by what it is, a backdoor gun control attempt we could make him suffer even more this November. Keep the pressue up and maybe, maybe 800,000 peices of American history won’t be destroyed because of one mans hatred. But probably not.

  2. What are the legislative options?

    Is there any way to get a bill introduced when congress reconvenes in a week or so requiring any rifles that are lawful for civilian ownership to be accepted for sale by the CMP?

    I haven’t researched this at all, it was just something that occurred to me. Maybe this is something that’s beyond the power of Congress (not that that’s ever been an impediment before)? If it’s not though, we need to start calling our congressweasels.

  3. I think one of the problems with these rilfes is that the Koreans bought some rifles from the US and were lent some by the US. They sold a bunch in the 80s and early 90s to US importers (Blue Sky comes to mind). They are claiming these rifles are ones that they bought but given the numbers they exported years ago it just doesn’t add up.

    The Koreans want money for the rifles and the US contends they are ours anyway. At least, this is what I’ve heard out of the ODCMP. If they are ours, they would go to the CMP from what I understand.

    I’d hate to think we’d pay the Koreans to just melt them down but I wouldn’t be surprised. The guns are rumored to be in rough shape BUT could still be used as parts guns by the CMP to reassemble more Garands and carbines. BTW they are totally out of carbines now.

  4. This story has been circulating for a decade. The Washington Times is hardly a credible source in my opinion, and has been wrong on 2A reporting before. They also have a vested interest, because the Times owner Rev Moon has investments in a number of arms companies including Kahr Arms.

    The lack of named sources indicates to me that the Chosun llbo just recycled the content from the earlier story. Do you really trust a newspaper who can’t tell the difference between a plastic toy and a gun?

  5. The Obama administration has gotten themselves into a cleft fork over this, helped there by the entrenched interests in Foggy Bottom and the Koreans’ desire to make a bit of money off the US collector market.

    I don’t know that there’s a good way out for them; going on-record to say “these are US property and must be returned” torques off the Koreans for no gain, and adding “for the DoD to dispose of to the to CMP” then torques off his natural allies, again for little gain. Allowing the Koreans to sell the rifles will annoy State for crossing their bureaucrats, on top of being probably illegal (giving Congress the chance to hold hearings and pontificate). Bringing them back and sending them to Captain Crunch annoys the Koreans AND the pro-gun side, whose political star is ascending.

    Their best option for them, at this point, is to ignore the issue. Status quo is the rifles stay in Korea, which is where they have been.

  6. @Ash

    From what I’ve read recently, the Unification Church has ended their subsidy for the Washington Times. The editorial side of the paper was reputed to have always been free to say what they will.

    I don’t see the vested interest angle of investments in Kahr Arms and bringing in these rifles and carbines. The owner of Kahr Arms is the Rev. Moon’s son and Kahr owns Auto-Ordnance. A-O has recently stated making reproduction M-1 Carbines. If anything, they would NOT want the Korean carbines imported because it would compete with their rifle. However, the editorial urges their import.

    Not being Korean, I have no way of judging the reliability of an English translation in a paper. Yes, the Chosun Ilbo article seems a rehash of the Korean Times article but I have no way of knowing if it is the same official or not.

    I think Ian’s analysis of the situation is spot-on. Until the ownership issue can be determined, it is probably best for them to stay in Korea so as to preserve them.

  7. If this proves out to be an actual administration blockage there’s a far better way to frame our message than “backdoor gun ban”.

    Ma and Pa Kettle get tired of the constant “dem libruls is takin’ our gunz! 2nd Amendment! eleventy!!!” Hell, even I do and I’m a gun nut.

    These are historic firearms of the Greatest Generation used by Heroes to defend the world against unquestioned Tyranny and Evil. The guns of Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan and The Pacific. Historic guns that will only be sold to licensed collectors or by licensed dealers to law-abiding citizens who want to own a piece of that history or honor their grandparents and create a family heirloom.

    Now that argument will sell, and what politician is going to try and respond with “but, but, guns on the streets…”.

    We need to fight smart, it isn’t enough to be right.

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