The House version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act was approved and included a plan to transfer the U.S. Army’s remaining stock of .45 ACP M1911A1 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
Added as an amendment by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, while the NDAA was in debate in the House Armed Service Committee, it would speed up the transfer of potentially the largest remaining stock of military surplus World War II-era handguns in government hands to the public. The legislation passed 344-81 and was sent to the Senate for consideration.
“This policy has been included in the NDAA since 2015, but the Obama Administration blocked the Army to transfer the 1911s for political reasons,” said Rogers in a statement Friday. “I am hopeful that with the help of the Trump Administration, we can make this provision a reality.”
Two years ago, President Obama signed the FY16 spending bill into law, which authorized the Army may transfer no more than 10,000 of their estimated 100,000 surplus 1911s per year to the CMP during a one-year pilot program. However, the transfer was never implemented, leaving the pistols in limbo. Rogers’ amendment, added as Section 1064, would strip away the 10,000-gun cap and make it mandatory for the pistols to move, striking “may transfer” and replacing it with “shall transfer” with the schedule in the hands of the secretary of the Army.
“The CMP’s sales of 1911s would be treated as other retail sales under the federal Gun Control Act, including the attendant background checks and point of sale record keeping,” noted the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm last week, urging members to contact their lawmakers to speed passage. “The design of the pistols dates back to the late 19th Century, and they come equipped with a seven-round magazine. One would think this would render the sales harmless in the eyes of the ‘reasonable gun safety regulation’ crowd, but we’re not holding our breath.”
According to Rogers’ office, the Army currently spends some $200,000 a year to store the pistols, which went out of military contract production in 1945. Moving past the 1911s, the legislation sets the stage for the question posed by the looming withdrawal of thousands of soon-to-be surplus M9 and M11 9mm pistols, replaced by the new M17 and M18 pistols adopted under the Army’s Modular Handgun System.