Representative Tim Whelan (R) has filed H.4507 – An Act Relative to the Civilian Marksmanship Program. This legislation would enable MA FFL’s to transfer historic handguns from the CMP.
For many decades the Civilian Marksmanship Program has provided lawful citizens with historic rifles. For the first time, the program has approved the transfer of pistols through a very rigid system. However, there is a significant problem here in Massachusetts that can be easily addressed through this proposed legislation.
Problem with Massachusetts: There are two distinct problems with CMP handguns being transferred by a licensed retailer in Massachusetts.
1. Unless a handgun was lawfully possessed in Massachusetts prior to October 21, 1998 or is specifically classified as a target pistol, the manufacturer must submit each model for testing under M.G.L. Section 123, Chapter 140. Since the historical handguns being furnished through the CMP are already in circulation and may have been manufactured by several companies there is no one to submit them for testing.
2. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office also has regulations regarding the manufacture and sales of handguns within the commonwealth, 940 CMR 16.00. Like the statutory testing requirements, there is no company that can certify the handguns meet the regulatory requirements.
The model 1911 .45 caliber pistol was adopted by the US Army in 1911 and later was adopted by the Navy/Marines in 1913. The pistols have been made by many different manufacturers over the years for the U.S. Government. The 1911 is sought by collectors and used in countless competitive matches throughout the country. The pistol has been a safe reliable sidearm for military and civilians for more than one hundred years. This bill would allow these historical pistols to be transferred by duly licensed Massachusetts’ firearm retailers to duly licensed firearm owners.
TWO BACKGROUND CHECKS PER PURCHASE – CMP Doubles Up on Background Checks:
The first NICS check makes sure the customer can legally possess the 1911 type pistol prior to shipping it to the local 01, 02, or 07 FFL dealer. The second NICS check is performed by the local 01, or 02, or 07 FFL in accordance with their standard transfer procedures. (In Massachusetts the second check would also include all state requirements for background checks and licensing.)
CMP’s enabling legislation mandated by Congress specifies that the purchaser “successfully pass a thorough and complete background check”, i.e. NICS. CMP cannot ship a 1911 until they receive a “proceed” from NICS. The local FFL will then receive the 1911 and run another background check. If the background check is not completed successfully, the 1911 will not be transferred.
History of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP): In February 1903, an amendment to the War Department Appropriations Bill established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). This government advisory board became the predecessor to today’s Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. that now governs the CMP. The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches. This historic legislation grew out of a desire to improve military marksmanship and national defense preparedness. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of War Elihu Root and NRA President General Bird Spencer were among the most important supporters of this act.
Please call your MA State Legislators today, urge them to contact Rep. Whelan’s office and sign on as a co-sponsor. Support for this bill is critically important to ensuring it becomes law.
Click here to look up your MA State Legislator – NOTE: Please CALL then follow up with email. Thank you!
An Act Relative to the Civilian Marksmanship Program
Section 123 of Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by inserting a new paragraph:
Notwithstanding any general law, special law or regulation to the contrary, firearms furnished through the Civilian Marksmanship Program as established by the United States Congress shall be eligible for transfer by a licensee.