M-1's and CMP and Lead

January 03, 2012

Report by Pat Elder -

JROTC Shooters Compete at Post's Expanded RangeI’m following up from the NNOMY Steering Committee call last week.  We all agreed to come up with ideas for a campaign for the upcoming year. I started researching marksmanship programs associated with JROTC programs in the schools and came up with a heck of a story about the Obama administration allowing a huge shipment of surplus Army guns from Korea.  That led to the eye raising finances of a non-profit set up by Congress to peddle these guns to kids, which brought me to the poisonous nature of these firing ranges.  Be thinking in terms of ways to marshal the energy of a few dozen people reading this.

According to the conservative Human Events magazine, the U.S. State Department announced Dec. 2 that it will re-consider its stance against allowing World War II M-1 Garand rifles into the United States from South Korea.  “The Department will consider a new request from the Republic of Korea (ROK) to transfer its inventory of approximately 87,000 M-1 Garand rifles into the United States for sale on the commercial market,” a spokesperson at the U. S. Department of State told the magazine on Dec. 2.


I haven't been able to confirm this anywhere on line.

The Obama administration initially approved the sale of the American-made rifles in 2009, but it reversed course and banned the sale in March 2010.  Now, it is apparently reversing course again, if Human Events can be believed.  South Korea also holds 770,160 M1 Carbines in storage.  (We apparently thought we could get more Koreans to shoot Chinese.) Anyway, the M-1 Garands are likely to be made available to the public through the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

The M-1 Garand

According to the Connecticut Post (April 10, 2000) Between 1996 and 1998, the U.S. Army turned over more than 56,000 rifles - mostly World War II-era M-1 Garands - to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

Federal law authorizes CMP to sell surplus .30 and .22 caliber military rifles, parts, and ammunition. The CMP sells the government-surplus M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, .22 caliber target rifles, and small quantities of other rifles to the public.  More research needs to be completed to track CMP's record since 1998.    Buy your rifle here:  http://www.odcmp.com/Sales/rifles.htm

More on CMP

The CMP also assists with the management of firing ranges in public high schools and puts  weapons into the hands of thousands of American youth.  It was initially established by Congress in 1903.  The CMP Mission is to  “promote firearm safety and marksmanship training with an emphasis on youth.”  Their vision is to involve every American child in  marksmanship programs.  There are 4,806 clubs, high schools, teams and other shooting sports organizations currently affiliated with the CMP. 

The program started in 1903 as a way to encourage individuals to develop marksmanship skill to prepare them in the event they were called to serve during wartime.  In 1996 Congress established a non-profit entity, The Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc.  to carry on the work of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, although the organization is commonly known as the CMP

The Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc has total assets of $150 Million and annual revenue topping $29M in 2009.  Their 990 for 2009 shows $124 M owned in publicly traded securities.  They received $20.8 M in government grants last year.

Their chair, vice chair, and COO each make $300,000 a year and they pay their Board of Directors members $13,000-15,000 yearly. They report $9.9 M in sales less $8M in costs of goods sold, although the goods are from government surplus. (FOIA, anyone?)  They claim $597,000 in bank and credit card fees and $259,000 in miscellaneous expenses.

Their 990 says -- at not cost to the government -- they "develop curriculum for marksmanship instruction in the high schools,  train and certify JROTC coaches and inspect high school range facilities."  It's curious because CMP only spent $513,056 on these important items, especially the inspection of the ranges.  If there are 4,806 clubs affiliated with CMP and they only spent $513,056 on curriculum, training and inspections, the cost for all three per facility is a meager $106.

The Lead Issue

Many high schools have shifted from using .22's to pellet guns.  Pellet guns and .22’s use lead bullets that spew lead particulates, but CMP downplays the health risks associated with its facilities in its publication, "Guide for Lead Management for Air Gun Shooting." http://www.odcmp.com/comm/publications/PDFs/LeadMgtGuide.pdf

The publication asserts, "Target shooting with air rifes and smallbore rifes does not create real health risks for shooting sports participants."  There is substantial scientific evidence to refute this.

The CMP also claims, "When air gun range cleaning is performed according to prescribed range management guidelines, lead residues from air gun firing can be effectively removed from the range floor.  This is probably a correct assertion, but can we safely assume guidelines are being adhered to at all 4,806 CMP clubs?

In air rife shooting, projectiles made of lead are placed in the breech end of the rifle barrel and are propelled towards the target by bursts of compressed gas. Lead management issues arise from handling pellets, the passage of pellets through the barrel and the fragmentation of pellets that occurs when pellets strike backstops.  All of this may occur in the school gym after school hours.

Direction for a new campaign

There have been numerous studies and press reports documenting health risks associated with firing ranges, but little activism to exploit the issue.  We need to come together to brainstorm on ways to do this. Following are some snippets from the press.

The Sheboygan Rifle & Pistol Club, an organization affiliated with the CMP recently moved its shooting range out of a Wisconsin middle school after parents raised concerns about exposing students to lead.  The club had an October, 2011 deadline to either upgrade the range's ventilation system or move out. Parents raised concerns about how the children were being protected from the range's lead residue. http://www.nbc26.com/news/local/130574288.html

In 2002, Youth shooting programs at the Tanana Valley  (AK) Sportsmen's Association, an organization affiliated with the CMP, shooting range have been halted after 10 members of the Lathrop High School rifle team were found to have high concentrations of lead in their blood.


A Lynnbrook, NY school closed its firing range in the basement due to high levels of airborn lead  http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/12/nyregion/lead-detected-in-rifle-range-brings-closing-of-li-school.html?scp=1&sq=lead%20detected%20in%20rifle%20range&st=cse
>Blood lead screening in Alaska shows dangerous levels associated with school firing ranges.


"The U.S. Center for Disease Control recognizes blood lead levels (BLLs) of >25 µg/dL in adults and >10 µg/dL in children aged <6 years as levels of concern; no similar level has been set for older children and adolescents (1,2). During 2002--2004, the Alaska Environmental Public Health Program (EPHP) conducted lead-exposure assessments of school-based indoor shooting teams in the state, after a BLL of 44 µg/dL was reported in a man aged 62 years who coached a high school shooting team in central Alaska. This report summarizes the results of the EPHP investigation of potential lead exposure in 66 members of shooting teams, aged 7--19 years, who used five indoor firing ranges. The findings suggest that improper design, operation, and maintenance of ranges were the likely cause of elevated BLLs among team members at four of the five firing ranges. Public health officials should identify indoor firing ranges that have not implemented lead-safety measures and offer consultation to reduce the risk for lead exposure among shooters, coaches, and employees."

Although outdoor firing ranges put more lead into the environment than nearly any other major industrial sector in the United States, they remain almost entirely unregulated. In just two years a typical outdoor firing range can have lead contamination equivalent to a five-acre Superfund site.


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