Thanks for the informative postings, alsaqr. I was not aware of the difference.
For those who are interested, I have composed a sample letter that can be used and edited by any of you and sent to your member of Congress. Remember, please, these weasels count on us to be apathetic.
Dear Senator/Congressman ———————:
It has recently come to my attention that the US Department of State is blocking the return of thousands of surplus M1 Garand rifles and M1 Carbines to the United States. Here is a link to an NRA news article on this subject:
NRA-ILA :: State Department Squirms On Garand And Carbine Imports
Apparently, the State Department is justifying the decision in the interest of "public safety".
Surplus military firearms are normally transferred to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) which is authorized to repair and re-condition these weapons and then offer them for sale to approved purchasers. These weapons are historic artifacts — they are the guns that won World War II. It is difficult to imagine how those who would want to buy these firearms could be thought to constitute a danger to society. These buyers undergo an FBI criminal background check, and all must show proof of familiarity/training in the safe handling and use of firearms. Most buyers are veterans. We do not feel we are a danger to "public safety". On the contrary, many of us put our lives on the line for our country when we served.
These guns are living pieces of history that need to be preserved, they are not the type of weapons favored by criminals. The M1 Garand rifle is too long and heavy to be concealed, and would be much too awkward for a criminal to use. The M1 carbine is smaller, but lacks the firepower favored by criminals.
This decision by the State Department is a back door attempt at gun control. The issue should be discussed in the open, and the decision reached publicly, not in the dark of night by a select group of unelected bureaucrats.