A petition drive is under way to convince lawmakers to “civilianize” hundreds of thousands of M-14 military battle rifles so they can be legally sold by the government to the general public as a way to pay for the Iraq war.
According to the online petition, “there is a strong demand for an M-14 DCM [Director of Civilian Marksmanship] program, which will curb government waste by providing up to $300-600 million [for] deficit reduction.”
“With uncertainty of the price tag of the current war, this will help pay for freedoms we enjoy in this country,” says the petition. “With the looming war deficit, our government should not throw away hundreds of millions of dollars by destroying M-14 rifles – some of which are brand new.”
The petition, which is being spearheaded by Robert A. Yoder, says as many as 300,000 rifles could wind up in the scrap heap without the government getting any return on its investment.
The DCM program to save the M-14s could work like a similar program involving another venerable military workhorse, the M-1 (Garand) and M-1 carbine series of military rifles.
The DCM sold those through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, a course that promotes firearms safety training and rifle practice for all qualified U.S. citizens with special emphasis on youth.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program also offers for sale AR-15-type match rifles, M1917 Enfields, M1903 bolt-action rifles (a former U.S. military weapon) and .22-caliber target rifles at subsidized rates.
M1903 bolt-action rifle
“The U.S. Rifle, 7.62 mm, M-14 was the first rifle the U. S. fielded that improved upon the highly regarded U. S. Rifle, Caliber.30, M1 (Garand) and attempted to give U. S. Forces a NATO-standardized weapon,” says the online petition. “The M-14 came into active service around 1957 and remained the standard infantry weapon until the official adoption of the M-16 rifle in the late 1960s.
“Like its predecessor, the M-14 is now relegated to ship’s arms rooms, ROTC detachments, storage bins in government arsenals and, of late, the demilitarized scrap pile,” says the petition.