The Collectible Firearms Protection Act and Why it Matters

American WWII soldier with an M1 Garand rifle

For the third year in a row, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) has introduced the Collectible Firearms Protection Act challenging a 57-year old ban on the re-importation of U.S.-made military rifles sold, transferred or given to foreign countries. In question are 86,000 American-made M1 Garand and 600,000 M1 Carbine rifles we sold to South Korea after World War II. With some exceptions, these rifles are essentially illegal due to a 1958 law called the Mutual Security Act. But most importantly, President Obama’s executive action in 2013 banning the re-importation oversteps his bounds of power.

In some ways, we can blame ourselves. In the mid to late 1950s, Americans were buying cheap imported military rifles and modifying them to make good hunting guns. To protect companies such as Colt, Remington, Ruger and the other American firearms manufacturers, Congress passed H.R. 12181, the Mutual Security Act to protect “domestic small arms manufacturers in the domestic market”—which seems fair enough. However, this Act banned the re-importation of American-made rifles unless the gun was so extremely modified it was unrecognizable to its original state or it was sold to military personnel. The law went unchanged and unchallenged until 1976 when the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) was passed. The AECA allowed the President to decide when importation of these rifles was appropriate—giving the military rifles of our past, a “pardon” if you will. The AECA gave exception to rifles qualifying as a “curios or relic” as defined by the ATF and if the original country still owned the rifles.

Previous administrations have used the AECA, albeit quietly, to further their pro-gun or anti-gun agendas. For example, in 1987, President Reagan approved the sale of 200,000 M1s from South Korea, but President Clinton refused the re-importation of M1s from the Philippines, Turkey and Pakistan. And now, although the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine are very legal to own in the United States, President Obama is exerting his power through executive action, but not after flip-flopping over the deal.

The struggle to get our guns back started six years ago when South Korea purposed the sale back of the nearly 700,000 rifles in order to raise money for its military. Obama approved the re-importation in 2009. In 2010, he went back on his decision. Then in 2012, he again switched his stance, saying the Garands could be re-imported, but not the M1 Carbines, because the M1 Carbines “come with a magazine that can carry multiple rounds.” His executive order in 2013 made the decision final. He banned the re-importation of both rifles because they could “potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes…” Yeah, because so many criminals pull out a 37-inch, 6-pound beast when robbing someone. Still, the Obama Administration believes that “this new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.” His intent, as he said is to “…ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities.” Never mind the exceptions that the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine meet the ATF’s description of a “curios or relics” and that the intended purpose to import the rifles is to sale to Korean War vets, their families and to the Civilian Marksmanship Program—all exceptions under the 1976 AECA law.

Rep. Lummis’ Collectible Firearms Protection Act aims to change the AECA. Introduced on June 2, 2015, Rep. Lummis’ latest version of the bill, H.R. 2611, states:

To amend the Arms Export Control Act to provide that certain firearms listed as curios or relics may be imported into the United States by a licensed importer without obtaining authorization from the Department of State or the Department of Defense, and for other purposes.

Rep. Lummis said, “Legislation shouldn’t even be needed for U.S. citizens to purchase perfectly legal and regulated firearms especially in this case with storied, American-made rifles that are pieces of U.S. military history.” Read the full Collectible Firearms Protection Act here. Though hundreds of thousands sounds like a lot, eventually these military surplus and highly collectible rifles will become piles of scratched up wood and metal if laws like Lummis’ do not get passed. (Previous historical firearms barred from reentering the U.S. have been melted down.) The NRA encourages all firearm owners and 2A supporters to write their representatives in support of the 2015 Collectible Firearms Protection Act. Click here to find out what you can do.

C’mon guys! This time, this year—let’s get this thing passed! Melissa Burgess wrote a detailed study of the current ban in “Illegal Upon Exit: Examining AECA’s Ban on the Reimportation of American Military Firearms” published in the National Security Law Journal. Much of this article’s historical information was pulled from this paper and I highly recommend giving it a read to fully understand the scope of President Obama’s ban and the importance of Rep. Lummis’ bill.

Why do you think the Collectible Firearms Protection Act has failed to pass? Share your thoughts on this these re-importation laws, the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine in the comment section.

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Comments (60)

  1. I own 2- m1Garands and a ’03 Springfield. My father,whom was in the 1st and 4th Marine div. gave them to me. I had one refinished by James River Armory and it’s beautiful. So beautiful, that I won’t fire it.
    Every time I take them out for oiling, I think of him Island hopping in the Pacific and later Korea. I never thought much of it when he gave them to me, but I know now what he was doing. I have a piece of history and a piece of him that someday , I, will give to my kids or grandkids. When I went to get a M1Carbine, I was denied because I live in NJ. What a shame and embarrassment.

    1. I agree, it was a shame and a crime.

      Move out of NJ. It is a Nazi Liberal state almost as bad as Maryland, and Christie is an embarrassment. How anyone could ever vote for him as a Conservative president is beyond me. I grew up in MY, but i got out with i was 18 and never looked back.

    2. All I could tell you. He is a RINO just like Boehner, McConnell, Perry, McCain, Orrin Hatch, they’re not true republicans. Those are true American patriots who follow the US Constitution, Ted Cruz, Trey Gowdy, Mike Lee, Louis Gohmert, Ron Paul, Scott Walker.

    3. Pierre77L

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I used to live in Utah a lot of years ago, and we all thought Hatch was someone we could trust. What a disappointment. The same goes for McCain.

      What happens to these people? Why does it become so easy for them to sell out?

      I would like to see Cruz in the WH.

    4. @ Pierre77L

      Boehner, McConnell, Perry, McCain and Hatch are “Openly Greedy. While Cruz, Gowdy, Lee, Gohmert, Paul, Ryan and Walker are “Quisling’s”, They pretend to be for the CAUSE. Unfortunately, the “Cause” are ALL FOR THEMSELVES.

    5. Cruz? Walker – they are just as much RINO’s as the others. don’t kid yourself. Ron Raul is the ONLY one that isn’t!

    6. @ Mikial.

      Ohhh, I don’t know. Maryland has ~988-FFL Dealers in the state and one of their Shooting Ranges is within 20-miles of where I Live.

      Cali B&M…

  2. I do not know how many nations US sent both Garands and Carbines to; but it must be at least every South American, half of Asia’s and Africa’s as well.
    The Garand was a different matter and only as last resort did Egypt Greece and Italy accept them And the magazine modified and 308 versions done by them greatly improved those clunkers.
    History is great but that was then and today either weapon can still accomplish what they were designed for but are far outclassed by even inexpensive hunting weapons.
    I have been lucky enough to fire almost every military weapon ever used by US including grease guns and crew weapons of WWI, HAVE NOT FIRED full auto Johnson only a revamped semi, and actually had a WwI listol 38 SW handed to me to use in tunnels; no thanksUS must of sent millions to Vietnam, their military lost 2 million men, so much for them not fighting.
    I remember seeing regional civilian militias standing proud as the held Garands, Thompsons Springfields and even BAR’s that were damn near as long as a Yard was tall, a bag across their shoulder and from 4 to 10 mags , tough suckers.
    Somewhere in SW US federal lands there lay buried millions of .ilitary rounds and even Gaarands and Carbines and old Springfields and Krags all buried after Korean war.
    Now there would be a treasure to dig up.
    I give up trying to explain political reasons of how gov decided to ban import, better to let others sell crying rags during crying jags, and way too late to fuss over it.
    over it.

  3. I purchased an M1 Garand several years ago from CMP just to make sure I had a piece of history. I paid half of what they want in shops and shows. I have always wanted to get a carbine to compliment the Garand but they were all out. Would love to get a carbine AND another Garand for my collection. It would be a great thing to get this program realized.

  4. I own 2 M-1 Garands and would like to own, at least, 1 carbine. Price for an authentic carbine prohibits this for me at this time. With the imports of, just, the S. Korean inventory, the prices would come down to a reasonable figure. Collectors and dealers with quality items wouldn’t be affected that much.
    I understand the S. Korean Carbines are, for the biggest part, worn out. Places like the CMP and, probably, other re-builders would be awarded the import rights and they would put together serviceable rifles. for sale at good prices.

  5. Just in case anyone is interested, there’s a company called Sandy Gun Works. That has a Johnson M-1 Carbine in 5.7x28mm called the 5.7 Johnson Spitefire. And a 7.92x33mm Kurz in the work’s, with a claimed maximum range of about 600-meters with a 20-round magazine. Something worth considering…

  6. I’ve seen a couple great shows highlighting these rifles from our history, and believe every American should be able to have the right to purchase these historically significant pieces. It just boggles me that OUR weapons, built HERE, Paid For HERE by taxpayers, and perfectly legal to own here, are being prevented from being bought back from one of our Allies, who could certainly use the funds to help maintain their own freedoms. It’s not like we’re talking about buying them from an enemy, here, or even about foreign made weapons (an entirely different topic). We’re talking about pieces of OUR history, that any American otherwise legally permitted to own one should have access to, without having to pay ridiculous sums because there aren’t as many available as are wanted. Add a few hundred thousand more to the mix, and suddenly they should be affordable for many of us. It’s not like I couldn’t go to my local WalMart and buy a rifle with higher capacity, or accuracy, or damage potential. The whole point is that these pieces of our history are being offered back to us from the country we sent them to, and the offer should be accepted wholeheartedly.

  7. The reason they will never pass is large collectors won’t allow the market to be flooded so the price of their rifles do not drop. Ask yourself who losses money on the deal and you will usually find your reason. Albeit any anti gun sentiment is driven by fear of military grade weapons and ignorance i.e. We have many calibers more powerful than these and allow further shots but they are fine in the eyes of anti gun idiots because they are not educated in firearm capability. They just follow the fear factor.

    1. I am a Vietnam War Era Veteran, we need to bring these American Military Rifles (M1 Garand and M1 Carbine) home, they are Historical Icons part of American History, made in America, symbols of American Freedom and what our Second Amendment stands for, don’t allow them to perish abroad. Write to your U.S. Representative, (I have), to support the “Collectible Firearms Protection Act” and give The CMP sole Import Rights and all proceeds. I would to own a couple at a reasonable price

    2. Collectors will not be impacted at all…in fact, it is to their benefit. Only a VERY small percentage of rifles will be in a collector’s condition. The greater majority of firearms will be found to be in decent, operable conditions and in varying levels of wear. Not only will there be more collectors generated but with their greater number searching for a limited number of collectible rifles, the value only increases!

  8. My question is this: Why would the US sell top quality rifles to a country which one day might use them to harm/kill US soldiers? Let the American public have the opportunity to own one of these rifles.

    1. South Korea is one of our closest allies, and have been for aver 60 years.

      Why would they ever harm or kill U.S. soldiers?

    2. I think you may be confusing South Korea, which has been a firm ally for decades, with the terrorists in Libya and Syria that Obama is arming.

    3. Iran/Persia and the Soviet Union were our allies for decades too, just saying… Japan and Germany were our enemies for years too, now they are some of our best allies.

    4. It’s N. Korea that is the enemy S. Korea named their Marines after our USMC, am I not correct?

  9. I’m 62 years Old and can’t believe U people have not caught on to money that backs Politicians yet !. Without Hunter’s, Hunting Equipment Mfgs, Civilian Ammo Companies, Civilian Gun Mfgrs. that have Military contracts also……..our Economy would drop like a ROCK !!!! Outdoor Sportsmen & Women ( Hunters & Fishermen ) provide Hundreds of Millions of Dollars to the U S Economy each year………The Congress & Senate….State Gov’t’s aren’t STUPID…….They WILL NOT LOOSE THAT $$$$$ !!!!Even if the current Administration enacted these Laws…….The new Administration would come right in behind them and use Executive Power to Abolish them, PLUS they are gonna replace the New Attorney General anyway……..she was Strictly an NAACP appeasement !

    1. Darn good reply. Have you seen what they are charging for the ones we do have . That’s a crime in of it’s self.

  10. That woman who formerly ran the state department put the halt to any importation of weapons loaned/leased during the Korean War. THAT is a small show of what is in store for firearms owners and collectors if she is elected as POTUS. I have one M-1 Garand and own two M-1 Carbines. They are awesome and are no more a threat to the streets that anything else available from a local gun store.

    1. My 1943 Garand has a place of honor in my collection. More people should have an opportunity to own one of these iconic weapons.

  11. I have M1 Garands and I have M1 Carbines. I love both of those fine firearms. I don’t compare them with anything else, they are what they are. Both of them are well designed, you can take them apart for cleaning with simple tools. I marvel at the way the M1 Garand is built and how well it functions. Some say it’s “heavy”, but I like the feel and I can shoot it all day long. I can’t say that about Mausers, Mosins-Nagants, Tokarevs not to discredit those fine rifles. When the M1 Garand was mated to the M2 .30-06 cartridge the Granands were in a class by itself! The US had a full rifle round in an awesome tool to overcome our enemies and bring back freedom to the world. The Carbine was so close to becoming the first assault rifle of the time, but it was never intended to be a primary firearm, it was intended for REMF’s who didn’t need a full rifle power weapon. It did a fine job for what it was designed to do. For home defense, you can’t get much better than a M1 Carbine. It’s light, powerful, 15-30 round magazines, and it is easy to use. Modern SP carbine ammo has made it a very useful home defense firearm. Lets get back our heritage.

    1. I have both a Garand and an IBM carbine. I like them both (though it’s really comparing apples to oranges), but I have more of an attachment to the carbine. So, to each their own!

      “Modern SP carbine ammo has made it a very useful home defense firearm.”

      I’ve thought of that, too, but for it to be useful I’d have to keep it outside the rifle safe and I’d hate to have something happen to it.

    2. Very well put.

      Discussing the relative effectiveness of various military guns is a fun pastime, but it isn’t the real issue here. These guns are part of the American heritage, and there are people who would like to own one just for that reason.

      Having said that, I really love my Garand, even though it’s heavy, it’s one of the best shooting rifles I ever owned. Powerful, reliable, accurate.

      However, much to my disappointment, I’ve never shot an M1 Carbine.

  12. Folks, always love the comments and the occasional Obama bashing.
    Know people that have Garands and they love them. Have know a few that wanted them and the price kept them from buying. Perhaps re-importing would lower the price so lovers of these old ‘work horses’ of the military, could afford them. Mostly, would like to see the carbines come back. Been to a gun show lately? The prices on the carbines are outrageous. True ss1, AKs have it all over the M-1 Carbine, but still, they are sweet shooting weapons. Got my hands on a M-2 , the select fire version of the M-1, in Vietnam. It was much easier to use from behind the wheel of a truck than the M-14s my unit had. Was in one or two running firefights. It was a great little defender.

    1. The real point here is that these are American made, historical weapons. Whether or not they are inferior or superior to any other weapon is a good conversation just for the fun of it, but I think any American who can legally own one because of their historical value should be able to buy one. Politics aside.

      Roy, I hear ya’ Brother. Although my father, who was a tank crewman in WWII, told me that they were issued carbines in case they had to un-ass the tank (which he did twice) and they dumped them as quickly as they could get their hands on a Garand. Not trying to sharp shoot you, but in his words, the troops just liked that 30-06 firepower, weight and length notwithstanding.

    2. Yeah, that’s why Springfield Armory experimented with a shorter barrel version of the Garand specifically for the tankers. I guess the tankers had their version of the 9mm/.45 debate we have today: “Which is better, to have 8 30.06 rounds of 15 .30cal rounds?”

    3. Great point, Rick.

      You get it.

      This is not about what modern firearm might be better or worse, this is history, brothers. OUR history. No government, including our own, has a right to interfere in any American exploring and experiencing our heritage. The heritage that so many of our ancestors fought and bled and suffered to secure.

      And at the risk of turning this into a political discussion . . . Obama’s ancestors had nothing to do with that. Consequently, he has no right to interfere with it.

    4. @ Mikial.

      Hey Mikial, Another worth considering is the Mauser Gewehr 43 (7.92×57) Semi-Automatic Rifle, a German “Garand” Second Generation. Not to be confused with the Gewehr 41, which was a Failure. Sec…

    5. @Secundius

      Very interesting weapon. My understanding is that it was built in response to the Soviets as they began arming their troops with semis. Not exactly an American weapon, and i wouldn’t begin to have the cash to spend on an original. Does anyone make then now?

    6. @ Mikial.

      The Mauser Gewehr 41, was an attempt to Reverse-Engineer Captured M1 Garands. But ever as a Weapon, it Refused to go “Quitely”, Defiant to the Last. Like the Luger P08, it was Temperamental in Combat. So in 1943, they to their Own Idea of how the M1 Garand “Worked” and Just Designed their own Semi-Automatic Rifle. The Gewehr 43 in 7.92×57 with 10-round Box Magazine. CETME of Spain copied the Design, and even countries like Egypt copied the Design under the Hakim Manufactures Name. Every Country that used the Mauser 98k, made the Gewehr 43, some were even made into Carbines in 7.92×33 kurz…

  13. If this passes, will I be able to buy an M1 Garand easier and cheaper?

    I don’t think I’m interested in an M1 Carbine, because I believe my AK’s completely trump that weapon.

    1. ss1- you must be a youngster not to appreciate the “beauty” of an m1 carbine..years ago, i was fortunate enough to buy a (blue sky) import INLAND mfg carbine,and what a joy it;s been..Way more accurate than the AK and a lot lighter..More importantly you are missing the BIG picture here…..happy day to you…..

    2. You can only have so many weapons for so many purposes, and I don’t have time or need to go into all the ballistics and technicalities, but I personally see the carbine and the AK in the same category as short range assault rifles, yet the AK has much more power and magazine capacity. That is why I have no use whatsover for an M1 carbine.

      That is my last statement on this issue, because I’m not trying to take away the joy from those who love the M1 carbine.

    3. I was responding to the other guy actually. But if I had to choose between one or the other for all purposes it would be an AK all day. Ballistics and range blow the .30 carbine out of the water. Max range I would trust a carbine is out to about 150-200 yards. AK is good to go out to 4-500 yards as long as you know what you are doing.

    4. @Sean:

      Thanks very much for the excellent video!! I guess you’re correct about 500 yards. At my local range, to get the opportunity to practice at 500 yards (an empty non-staffed range just down the road), apparently you need to call another organization that schedules events. I really need to quit procrastinating that, because now I have another rifle I want to do long range testing with… WASR-10. So this video you sent was very eye-opening for me.

      And if my WASR-10 doesn’t perform like I want it to, I’ll do research on the variant in the video, which apparently is a Vepyr with a thicker receiver and RPK style reinforcements. This is all fresh news to me. Your video was very educational.

    5. Excellent! I hate the myth that AK’s are “inaccurate commie guns”. VEPR rifles are very nice, and go from about 600 for the 7.62×39 and 5.45 variants to around 900 for the 7.62x54r and .308 versions. All have excellent Chrome lined hammer forged barrels, and the RPK style reinforcements. Unfortunately The 7.62x54r version is single stack mags only and a 10 round magazine is the largest I have ever seen for it. However, the .308 version is double stack and I have seen 20 and 25 round mags available. You can probably squeeze better accuracy out of the .308 too, but you lose the nice cheap surplus of the x54r ammo.

      WASR 10’s can be nice accurate and reliable rifles if they were put together well, but that is a crap shoot with the monkeys at century putting them together. It also doesnt help that most ammo shot out of Russian type guns is Russian steel cased ammo since it is so much more affordable but not as nice quality. Most brands of Russian 7.62×39 come with a flat based bullet instead of a boat tail which helps with accuracy.

      If you got a .308 VEPR, a Decent scope and mount, and hand loaded your own ammo and did your part as a shooter It could easily be a 1.5- 2 MOA rifle.

    6. Good vid. Definitely a modern AK-style rifle and a nice shooter, even though the nomenclature they use is an RPK (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova), which is Russian light MG. Not sure why they’re using that.

      I knew several PSD security team members in Iraq who had tricked out their AKs and AKMs to modernize them. I used one for a while, but preferred my Colt M4. Today I own a tricked out WASR (which shoots really well) and 3 AR variants. But sadly, no M1 Carbine.


    7. I had one of the “new” Springfield Garands ($500) a few years ago. Brand new, sweet and an amazing rifle. But when I had to move across country i sold it to a LEO friend of mine ($700).

      I instantly regretted it, and just recently my wonderful wife bought a genuine, built in 1943 Garand ($900). Ahhh . . . the bliss of shooting it. beautiful weapons and still accurate.

      Every American who wants one should be able to buy one.

    8. You can buy an M1 at for about $600 fro a field grade rifle. If you can get to Annistan AL, show up at their facility at 8 AM, Thursday when they put their weekly batch on the shelves. The staff is very helpful, lending you throat gauges. You must be a member of a marksmanship organization such as the NRA, to buy a gun.

    9. @Arch Arthur:

      Thanks for the website. I’m studying right now. I won’t be traveling to Alabama, so I’m curious about the “Rifles of all grades are packed for shipment purely by “luck of the draw” statement on their website. I’ll call them and get more info, and see if I want to buy one this way.

  14. They need to rewrite the law and allow ALL curio and relic firearms to come in. Just because it was not made in the US does not mean it isnt collectable…

    1. Not sure what your point is, I absolutely want these to come back, but I also want all the foreign guns that have been banned from importation. I didnt even say the word import, I said let them all come in, whether they were made here or not.

  15. This is a bill that should be supported to become law. These firearms cannot in any sense of the imagination be considered more . . . effective? than a modern semi-automatic rifle. They are just doing whatever damage they can to legitimate gun collectors who cherish the American military heritage.

    How in the world could any rational person see these iconic firearms as anything but a piece of the American history of fighting for what is right.

    Oh, wait . . these aren’t people fighting against this, these are Liberals. They don’t really care about anything except their anti-gun agenda and hurting legitimate firearms enthusiasts any way they can.

  16. What really gives me heartburn about this issue is that these firearms were bought and paid for by American taxpayers. Now we the taxpayers are told by the Federal government that we simply cannot be trusted with the firearms we bought and paid for then used to win a war. Not only should they be re-imported but they should be made available to qualified citizens at no cost. We already paid for them once.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with you! There should be enough vets to get this passed, out 23,000,000 living.

  17. I memory service, the original Beretta BM-59’s were .30-06 Springfields (7.62.x63.3mm). And Sarco conversion kits are available for the M1 Garand, to extend the magazine capacity to 20-rounds…

  18. “Then in 2012, [Obama] again switched his stance, saying the Garands could be re-imported, but not the M1 Carbines, because the M1 Carbines “come with a magazine that can carry multiple rounds.””

    As opposed to a clip that holds multiple rounds. I see. No, actually I don’t.
    I’d say the people who are most opposed would be the collectors who would see the value bubble bursting.
    Personally, I’d love to have a cheap M1 carbine (vs my expensive one) to keep in the back of the car. “Carjacker Bayoneted: Story at 11.”

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