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U.S. to import M1 rifles from S. Korea

Jan. 19, 2012 - 16:30 By Korea Herald
The U.S. is set to import antiquated firearms from South Korea that were previously banned from entry, officials here said Thursday.

Defense ministry officials said the United States has approved imports of M1 Garrand rifles, which were used by U.S. forces during the 1950-53 Korean War.

“The U.S. sent an approval letter in September last year,” a ministry official said. “The U.S. will be willing to review legal procedures once we seek to export the rifles.”

The official added that an exporter will be selected in an open bid at the end of this month at the earliest.

In 2010, the U.S. State Department rescinded a 2009 decision permitting Seoul to ship more than 87,000 M1 Garrands and about 770,000 M1 Carbines to the U.S. for possible distribution to U.S. gun collectors. Washington then said the decision was based on concerns of illicit use of the rifles.

Another ministry official said M1 rifles are viewed as collectibles among antique collectors in the United States.

Seoul has sought to dispose of the M1 rifles to reduce the cost for their storage. It had previously sold 200,000 M1 rifles to the U.S. in 1987 during the Reagan administration but the Clinton administration later banned used weapons from overseas. (Yonhap News)