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Congressmen introduce bill to let in M1 rifles from S. Korea

All Headlines 07:30 October 20, 2010

By Hwang Doo-hyong

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) -- A group of U.S. Congressmen has submitted a bill to allow imports of antiquated firearms without government permission that would permit a number of M1 rifles from South Korea to enter the country.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and 17 other congressmen introduced the bill on Sept. 29 to "amend the Arms Export Control Act to provide that certain firearms listed as curios or relics may be imported into the United States by a licensed importer without obtaining authorization from the Department of State or the Department of Defense, and for other purposes."

The State Department earlier this year rescinded its May 7, 2009, decision to allow South Korea to transfer 87,310 M1 Garands and 770,160 M1 Carbines into the U.S. for possible distribution to American gun collectors due to concerns of their illicit use.

The State Department said last month that "the decision to review the transfer was based on concerns that the transfer of such a large number of weapons could potentially be exploited by individuals seeking the firearms for illicit purposes," adding it was seeking "alternative options."

Reports said Washington is considering melting the guns down.

South Korea needs the U.S. government's permission for the sale of the M1 rifles as they were provided to South Korea as part of U.S. military aid during the 1950-53 Korean War.

The South Korean government wants to dispose of the antique rifles to reduce the cost for their storage.

Gun rights advocates say possession of M1 rifles is legal in the U.S., noting they are semi-automatics, not machine guns.

The South Korean government sold 200,000 M1 rifles to the U.S. in 1987 under the Reagan administration, but the Clinton administration banned used weapons from abroad.

hdh@yna.co.kr
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