Tuesday, June 19, 2007

America's Iconic Rifle: The M-1 Garand.

In Indiana today, two deputies were shot by a boy using an M-1 Garand. One was killed. One news story starts out this way. "A 15-year-old boy used a World War II-era sniper rifle to fatally shoot a deputy and critically wound another outside his southern Indiana home, authorities said Tuesday." (Here.)

The M-1 Garand is a great target-shooting rifle but it is NOT a sniper rifle. It was the standard issue rifle for American GIs in World War Two. Watch nearly any movie set in World War Two and the rifles being carried by the Americans are M-1s.

The news story then says this. "The gun is a showpiece, and possessing one is not illegal, the prosecutor said." Not only is it not illegal to own one, you can buy one from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), which was set up by an act of Congress long ago. To be plain about it, the United States Government enables law-abiding American citizens to buy surplus military rifles such as the M-1.

The CMP was set up "to provide civilians an opportunity to learn and practice marksmanship skills so they would be skilled marksmen if later called on to serve the U.S. military." (Here.) (Note to liberals and libertarians. That's the purpose of the Second Amendment right there. The right to keep and bear arms is not about target practice and hunting. Nor is it about arming citizens so they can fight off the government when it comes for them. Instead, it's about having an armed citizenry, trained in the use of guns, available for use by our government in the military, the organized militia, or the unorganized militia, to combat enemies both foreign and domestic. But I digress.)

To get a gun from the CMP, you have to submit to a background check, and send proof of participation in a CMP-sponsored shooting match, an application form, proof of American citizenship, and your money ($550 when I bought mine) to the CMP. (Here.) A few weeks later, your rifle arrives in a box delivered by Federal Express. (That's mine pictured above.)

The fact that law-abiding American citizens can buy surplus military rifles from their own government is one of the things I love about this country. It says a lot about the relationship of trust between the federal government and its citizens that Americans can buy surplus military firearms from their own government. So much for the idea that governments should fear the people. In a free society such as ours, the ideal relationship between the people and their government should be one of trust. But as Reagan used to say about the Soviets, "trust but verify."

In that vein, watch for some in Congress to start making noises about banning sales of the M-1 to American citizens. Don't let 'em do it. Go out and buy your own instead. You'll be glad you did.


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Years ago, there was a Chicago Tribune story about someone who was shot with a "bolt action assault rifle." It's pretty much what one expects from our leftist press.

How does your M-1 shoot? Mine has a loose gas cylinder, and therefore a loose front sight, so it's all over the paper.
I love the gun. It was in good shape when I bought it and it's pretty accurate. When it's not on paper it's because of me not the rifle. I'm still a novice at guns and don't get out shooting as often as I should. I never fired a firearm until after Hurricane Katrina. The ugly aftermath of that disaster prompted me to start preparing my own little Arsenal of Civilization.
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