Sales of surplus military firearms is a money maker for government

Julia LeDoux
February 20, 2019 - 12:47 pm

Sgt. Dana Beesley

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If your looking to buy or have bought a surplus military firearm, you probably already know about or may have used The Civilian Marksmanship Program.

CMP is a federally chartered nonprofit that has been selling excess military firearms since 1996, which led the Government Accountability Office to ask a question: How much money has the program generated over the past 10 years?

The answer: An astounding amount, according to a recent report, the Army has transferred 700,000 surplus firearms to the program since it began.

"We found the Army and the Program have procedures to address requirements for transferring and selling these firearms, and that the program generated $76.4 million in revenue from their sales from 2008 through 2017," the report states.

Profit realized by CMP as a result of those sales could not be determined, however, "because CMP's methodology to calculate expenses did not account for all of CMP's costs associated with the sale of these rifles," the report adds.

More than 60 percent of that revenue was the result of the sale of World War II-era M1 Garand rifles. The GAO estimates the program could generate $104.9 million in revenue from the sale of currently available surplus firearms, enough to fund  its operations for "several years."

The program was authorized to sell certain types of excess Army firearms to American citizens by the National Defense Authorization Act of 1996, according to the GAO. The Army is reimbursed by the program for what it costs to prepare and transport the firearms to the CMP.

"To address requirements for selling surplus firearms, CMP uses a combination of procedures, including proof of citizenship and age, among other things, and a check against the National Instant Criminal Background System," the report notes.

The CMP also provides marksmanship instruction classes and advocates for firearm safety, according to the GAO report.

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