More Montana gun collectors will soon be able to own an important piece of firearms' history, Senator Jon Tester announced today.
The M1 Garand rifle is an American-made firearm used by U.S. forces in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. South Korea has been trying to sell up to 87,000 surplus M1s back to the United States, but the State Department initially blocked re-importation of the firearms over safety concerns.
Tester said the department's reasoning didn't make sense, noting that the M1 Garand is legal in the United States. Under pressure from Tester, the State Department recently reversed its decision and will now consider South Korea's request once an importer is selected.
"From World War II to Korea and Vietnam, M1 Garand rifles played a crucial role in history," Tester said. "These American-made firearms will always be valued as collector's items, and law-abiding Americans have the right to keep them under our Constitution's Second Amendment. I'm glad the State Department listened to my concerns and those of America's gun collectors."
After the State Department blocked the rifle's sale in 2010, Tester proceeded to introduce legislation to allow American-made guns that were given or sold to a foreign government to be re-imported and sold in the U.S. without government interference.
In light of the State Department's news, Tester said he expects the department to work closely with the Government of South Korea to deliver the firearms to U.S. collectors. The rifles will be sold in the U.S. through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, a non-profit organization that provides surplus firearms to qualified buyers.
Tester, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, recently led the Senate in blocking government funding from being used to advance the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.