Civilian Marksmanship Program

Corporation Needs to Fully Comply With the Law on Sales of Firearms Gao ID: NSIAD-99-41 January 12, 1999

The Civilian Marksmanship Program was run by the Army until 1996, when the program was transferred to a private, nonprofit corporation. The program is designed to promote and monitor marksmanship training through a system of affiliated clubs and to sponsor marksmanship competitions. As part of these activities, the corporation sells surplus military firearms to the affiliated clubs and their members. This report discusses (1) whether the program's conversion to a private corporation and the corporation's subsequent firearms sales were conducted in accordance with the law, (2) the types and value of federal support provided to the corporation, and (3) the types and number of firearms the Army transferred to the Corporation and was storing for possible transfer. In an August 1998 report (GAO/OSI-98-14R), GAO discusses the Army's investigation of alleged criminal activity within the program when it was an Army program.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army and the Corporation completed the transition of the CMP to the Corporation on September 30, 1996, in accordance with the 1996 act; (2) the Corporation has not routinely ensured that it complied with the requirements of the 1996 act in its firearms sales to individuals; (3) GAO estimates that the Corporation sold between 1,200 and 2,200 M1 Garand rifles without adhering to its own procedures that were designed to ensure that the purchasers were not convicted of felonies, were U.S. citizens, and were members of a Corporation-affiliated club; (4) the Army and other defense agencies had provided more than $19 million in support to the Corporation as of September 30, 1998; (5) for support provided on a reimbursable basis, Corporation officials told GAO the Corporation reimbursed the Army and other defense organizations more than $1 million; (6) additional support, including obtaining background investigations of prospective gun buyers, was provided to the Corporation at a cost of more than $440,000 but was not specifically referred to in the act and was not reimbursed by the Corporation; (7) the Secretary of the Army has not prescribed regulations relating to the logistical support to be provided to the Corporation and reimbursement for that support, even though the 1996 act required the Secretary to do so; (8) several Army officials told GAO they were uncertain as to what support they should be providing and how to arrange for reimbursement from the Corporation for expenses incurred by the Army; (9) as of September 30, 1998, the Army had transferred more than 56,000 firearms to the Corporation; (10) at transition, the Army transferred to the Corporation all of the required firearms except those at Anniston Army Depot; (11) as of September 30, 1998, the Army was storing more than 230,000 M1 Garands, over 35,000 .22 caliber rifles, and more than 4,000 other firearms at Anniston for potential transfer to the Corporation; (12) at that time, the Army and the Corporation were negotiating a new memorandum of understanding that would make any of these firearms that were surplus to Army requirements available for transfer to the Corporation; (13) Army officials told GAO that some of these firearms were not at Anniston under CMP control on February 9,1996; and (14) should the Army decide to transfer firearms that were not under CMP control on February 9, 1996, legislative authority other than section 1615 of the act would be needed.


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