Tens of thousands of M1 Garand rifles and even more M1 Carbines lay in storage somewhere in South Korea. Originally shipped to the Asian nation several decades ago to help equip their military, the weapons are now outdated on the modern battlefield. Among collectors and enthusiasts however, they are held up as invaluable pieces of American history and ingenuity. Stocks of the rifle within the U.S. are fast dwindling (if not depleted already) and those who want to get their hands on one are looking across the Pacific.
Those in favor of returning these firearms home have been trying for years to import the surplus rifles and carbines. The South Korean government was eager to offload the rifles for much needed funds, but efforts to ship the rifles back were blocked repeatedly on the U.S. end due to security concerns. Those against the import say that the firearms could be purchased by individuals for illicit purposes. Gun advocates say that was no reason to ban the import of the rifles.
“Any guns that retail in the United States, of course, including these [M1 Garands], can only be sold to someone who passes the National Instant Check System,” David Kopel, research director at the conservative Independence Institute, told Fox News in 2010. “There is no greater risk from these particular guns than there is from any other guns sold in the United States.”