Obama import ban on rifles confirmed

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about an article in the Korea Times reporting that the Obama administration was blocking the import of American-made M1 Garands and M1 Carbines which the South Korean government wished to sell into the U.S. market. The Korea Times reported that an unnamed Korean official said that the American government was blocking the imports because of objections to increasing the gun supply in the United States. Some blog commenters speculated that the Korea Times was wrong, and that the real objection must have been that since the rifles were probably gifts from the United States government, the terms of the gift required that the rifles be given back to the U.S. Army once the Koreans did not want them any more.

Today, Maxim Lott’s reporting for FoxNews confirms that the Korea Times accurately characterized the American government objections:

The Obama administration approved the sale of the American-made rifles last year. But it reversed course and banned the sale in March – a decision that went largely unnoticed at the time but that is now sparking opposition from gun rights advocates.

A State Department spokesman said the administration’s decision was based on concerns that the guns could fall into the wrong hands.

“The transfer of such a large number of weapons — 87,310 M1 Garands and 770,160 M1 Carbines — could potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes,” the spokesman told FoxNews.com.

“We are working closely with our Korean allies and the U.S. Army in exploring alternative options to dispose of these firearms.”

The article quotes the Brady Campaign’s Dennis Henigan, and me, regarding the policy issues raised by the import ban.