How to Buy a Firearm From The CMP? Part 1: Becoming Eligible

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Ever since the news broke that the CMP would be able to sell M1911 handguns to the shooting public, thanks to a provision in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, I have received a lot of emails and comments asking me “how do I qualify for the CMP?” Well, you’re in luck: Not only will I be walking our readers through the process, but it’s easier than you think!

My regular readers will know that I’m a fan of long, multi-part series that go in-depth into a historical or technical subject. However, don’t be fooled by the “Part 1” in the title; I intend to keep this series as short and sweet as possible, while still adding the detail you need to get qualified for the CMP. I’ve broken it into parts for your convenience, and so that those who want to buy rifles now do not have to wait for my full review of the CMP Service Grade M1 I have ordered. This first post will cover how to put together eligibility. I have already completed this process from top to bottom, and received on the day that I write this an email confirming that my eligibility has been validated and I am now on the list to receive a rifle.

The CMP does have on their website a list of requirements, but their explanations of what counts and does not count, and how to order can be vague, and much of the information you need is buried behind links on the CMP’s home page. You can follow the hyperlink here to reach the page you’ll need, but if navigating the website itself, scroll down and click the link called “SALES & SERVICES”, and once that page has loaded, scroll down again and click the link called “RIFLE SALES”. Then, scroll down that page to reach the tab labeled “ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS”.  Now, you should be presented with a page with this text:

 

Eligibility Requirements

REQUIREMENTS FOR PURCHASE

By law, the CMP can sell surplus military firearms, ammunition, parts and other items only to members of CMP affiliated clubs who are also U.S. citizens, over 18 years of age and who are legally eligible to purchase a firearm.

PROOF OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP:

You must provide a copy of a U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization, or any official government document (When using a military ID to prove citizenship, must be an E5 or above) that shows birth in the U.S. or states citizenship as U.S.

PROOF OF AGE:

You must provide proof of age. Usually proof of citizenship also provides proof of age. In those cases where it may not, a driver’s license is sufficient.

MEMBERSHIP IN CMP AFFILIATED ORGANIZATION:

You must provide a copy of your current membership card or other proof of membership. This requirement cannot be waived. The CMP currently has over 2,000 affiliated organizations located in many parts of the country. CMP Club Member Certification Form- If your CMP affiliated club does not issue individual membership cards, please have the club fill out the CMP Club Member Certification Form and return it with your order.

Membership in many of these organizations costs $25.00 or less and can be accomplished online. A listing of affiliated organizations can be found by clicking on our Club Search web page at http://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=clubSearch. If you have any difficulty in locating a club, please contact the CMP at 256-835-8455 or by emailing CMP Customer Service. We will find one for you. In addition to shooting clubs, the CMP also has several special affiliates. Membership in these organizations satisfies our requirement for purchase. These special affiliates include: Congressionally chartered veterans’ organizations such as the VFW, AL, DAV, MCL, etc. U.S. Military services (active or reserves), National Guard, to include retirees. Professional 501(c)3 law enforcement organizations and associations such as the FOP, NAPO, NSA, etc. The Garand Collector’s Association is a CMP Affiliated Club. You can download a Garand Collector’s Association Application Form.

Note: Club membership IS required for purchase of rifles, parts, and ammunition.

Club membership is NOT required for instructional publications or videos or CMP memorabilia.

MARKSMANSHIP OR OTHER FIREARMS RELATED ACTIVITY:

You must provide proof of participation in a marksmanship related activity or otherwise show familiarity with the safe handling of firearms and range procedures. Your marksmanship related activity does not have to be with highpower rifles; it can be with smallbore rifles, pistols, air guns or shotguns. Proof of marksmanship participation can be provided by documenting any of the following:

  • Current or past military service.
  • Current or past law enforcement service
  • Participation in a rifle, pistol, air gun or shotgun competition (provide copy of results bulletin).
  • Completion of a marksmanship clinic that included live fire training (provide a copy of the certificate of completion or a statement from the instructor).
  • Distinguished, Instructor, or Coach status.
  • Concealed Carry License.
  • Firearms Owner Identification Cards that included live fire training. – FFL or C&R license.
  • Completion of a Hunter Safety Course that included live fire training.
  • Certification from range or club official or law enforcement officer witnessing shooting activity. Complete the CMP Marksmanship Form to certify your range firing and the required marksmanship related activity for an individual to purchase from the CMP.

No proof of marksmanship required if over age 60. Proof of club membership and citizenship required for all ages. NOTE: Proof of marksmanship activity is not required for purchase of ammunition, parts, publications or memorabilia.

BE LEGALLY ELIGIBLE TO PURCHASE A FIREARM:

The information you supply on your application will be submitted by the CMP to the FBI National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS) to verify you are not prohibited by Federal, State or Local law from acquiring or possessing a rifle. Your signature on the Purchaser Certification portion of the purchase application authorizes the CMP to initiate the NICS check and authorizes the FBI to inform CMP of the result. IMPORTANT: If your State or locality requires you to first obtain a license, permit, or Firearms Owner ID card in order to possess or receive a rifle, you must enclose a photocopy of your license, permit, or card with the application for purchase.

IMPORTANT:

If your State or locality requires you to first obtain a certificate, license, permit, or Firearms Owner ID card in order to possess or receive a rifle, you must enclose a photocopy of your certificate, license, permit, or card with the application for purchase. Rifle shipments to NY and NJ must be made to a state licensed dealer. You must provide a copy of the dealer’s license with your order form. Rifle shipments to CA must be made to a State licensed dealer or may be made to individual homes, providing that a CA Certificate of Eligibility and a Curio and Relic License are provided. Rifle shipments to CT must be made to licensed or dealer or may be shipped directly to the customer if a C&R license is provided.

As a result of CT Bill 1160 and Bill 13-220 , which revised CT Bill 1160, all CT customers purchasing rifles to be delivered in CT must have the rifle shipped to a CT licensed dealer or must provide us with a copy of their current Type 3 (C&R) FFL license. We can ship directly to a customer’s home if they possess a C&R license.

NY, NJ and CT customers who have already mailed their rifle orders to CMP should provide custserve@thecmp.org with dealer information or order cancellation instructions. Information can also be faxed to 256-835-3527 or mailed to CMP Customer Service, (Attn: FFL Order), 1401 Commerce Blvd., Anniston, AL 36207.

This page tells you everything you need to know to achieve eligibility for the Program, but even once I had read this, I still had many questions. In my case, I had a copy of my birth certificate, a couple of ways to achieve the third qualification that would require a little legwork, and nothing to meet the club requirement. In 2011, I had completed an Appleseed course, but I over the course of two moves, I had lost the green slip that certified my completion. I also had completed a handgun course for my concealed carry license, but, likewise that paper was in another state (safe and sound, but still a week away by mail, and I wanted to put in the order as soon as possible). Fortunately, I remembered the name of my Appleseed instructor, and was able to get in touch with him via the Appleseed Forums. He emailed me my green slip, which I printed out immediately and put together with my growing packet of information. I could equally have had a scan of the handgun course certificate emailed to me, or, if push came to shove, I could have had a range officer at the local range certify me via the CMP’s online marksmanship certification form. My understanding is that almost any shooting course will suffice for this requirement, but if you’re unsure you can always call the CMP before 4:00 PM Eastern Time on a weekday to check.

Many believe that joining a CMP-affiliated club will be one of the most difficult steps in the process; it’s actually one of the easiest. In my case, I used the CMP’s club search function to find the Louisiana Shooting Association, which allowed me to join online for the princely sum of ten dollars and fifty cents ($10.50). I called up the club’s treasurer to inquire what sort of documentation I would need, and he told me that while they do issue membership cards via email, I could simply use my receipt of payment to the club for the CMP. Bingo, I was in business.

1116151507b2

The packet I mailed to the CMP to order my Service Grade M1 Garand rifle. There are four documents collected. Clockwise from upper left: My Appleseed green slip, the three-page CMP order form, my birth certificate (large blacked out section center), and the receipt of my payment to the Louisiana Shooting Association. Sorry, ladies, the deets are all blacked out.

It’s as simple as that! In Part 2, we’ll look at how to actually order from the CMP!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Shane

    This great. Thanks for the info!

  • codfilet

    You have to expect those 1911s are going to be like all the Garands-refinished, mixed up parts from multiple makers, etc, etc.

    • Mixmaster or no, I know of no other way to get an M1 for $630-$730 shipped…

      • codfilet

        Yeah, I know-I bought a couple of mixmaster Garands, and spent a lot of money gathering all the correctly-marked parts to bring them back to a condition similar to when they were made-but this was back in the days of $250 Garands, and $150 carbines. Used to be, at local gunshows, there were always a couple of guys with parts boxes full of M1 parts-you could root around in them and find the drawing # you wanted. Now, I think they are all selling their stuff on ebay and GB. Making a “correct” rifle is tougher and more expensive than ever.

        • Yep. The CMP does have a “correct grade”, but they sell them at auction when they get them.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    To me this sounds like buying a cop car at auction.

    • Yeah, you’ve made your disdain for the CMP pretty clear.

    • Joseph Smith

      Then don’t.
      Buy an M1 second-hand and pay $300-500 more.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I don’t want an M1.

        • Joseph Smith

          The same will apply to M1911A1s.

          Basically, take whatever you want, but don’t like CMP process to buy, and buy it on your own without the CMP.

          Problem solved.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I don’t want an old used 1911 either.

          • Rasq’uire’laskar

            Then what’s your problem?

          • Edeco

            Some men just want to watch the world burn.

    • sliversimpson

      Yeah, it sounds horrific. Definitely don’t order any guns from the CMP. Meanwhile, I’d like mine and his, please CMP!

  • ShootingFromTheHip

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but instead of having to find that Appleseed instructor to get your green slip, couldn’t you just have sent in a copy of your concealed carry ?

  • Don Ward

    I was planning on doing this anyway. Glad that the simple, easy to follow instructions are indeed simple and east to follow.

  • BKE Evers

    I am wondering about the condition of these 1911s. My Dad has been in the army long enough to have carried the M14, M1911, M16, and the recent version of the M4. At the end of the 1911 era for him the darn things sounded like a handful of bbs at the bottom of a metal bucket when you rattled it.

    • Hi BKE,

      I suspect it will be similar to the way M1s are, where they are sorted in grades depending on how good the condition is. I am actually working concurrently to get more information on pricing for these M1911 handguns, so that our readers have a better idea of what to expect.

    • codfilet

      When my son went through OCS at Quantico, the M16s they were issued were silver-there wasn’t a trace of the original black finish left on them. I suppose that was the end of the line for those rifles.

  • Jeff S

    Wow… pretty much every club relatively close to me is a Scout troop, 4H club, or JROTC organization. That’s not going to work very well.

    • You can join the Garand Collector’s Association for $25. I do not believe physical proximity is a requirement. The organization I joined, for example, was state-level.

      • Jeff S

        Interesting. I’ve got the “proof of participation in a marksmanship related activity” part three times over… just no club. I’ll have to check out that association. Thanks.

        • R H

          If you happen to live in the great state of Texas, the Texas State Rifle Association is on the list. $35/year

  • uffdaphil

    Will DD214 suffice for both citizenship and marksmanship?

    • I do not know; I would call the CMP to find out.

  • Joseph Smith

    Folks, don’t forget why the CMP exists. It does not exist to put collector grade firearms in your hands that will sit in a safe. It exists to put serviceable, proven weapons in the hands of qualified civilians who have indicated they will train and use those weapons appropriately, at the lowest possible cost.

    The CMP does great work and the value can’t be compared.

    If you want a collector grade weapon, there are multiple other avenues (auctions).

    • Absolutely, Joseph!

    • Edeco

      Couldn’t forget about that zeppelin-era pile of horse-feathers they prop up as a mission statement if I wanted to, people keep bringing it up.

  • ASterisk

    Was there a specific reason you chose the Louisiana Shooting Association, or was it just convenience?

  • Tommy Thompson

    IF I understand this correctly, as a retired U.S. Army E7, who is also a Life Member of the DAV, MOPH, and VFW, and holds a concealed handgun license, I am fully qualified to purchase a firearm from the CMP? It seems too easy, at least at this point.

    I took Basic Combat Training with an M14, and would love to own an M1 or M14 (if they’re available.) What I know, now, was bad training caused me not to like the .45 at the time; but, that opinion has changed.

    • Tommy,

      You should be good to go, as long as you can provide the requisite documentation. The CMP cannot offer M14s, alas, because they were all select-fire (at least in theory; most were issued without selectors is my understanding) and therefore machine guns.

      • Tommy Thompson

        Thanks for the reply.

  • Paul W.

    I purchased an M-1 back in the early 1990’s through the DCM program. Back then, a person was ONLY able to purchase (1) one firearm in their lifetime from the government. It that still true today or can I buy another?

    • From the CMP FAQ:

      “HOW MANY M1 RIFLES MAY I PURCHASE PER YEAR?

      A. Purchase of M1 Garand rifles is limited to twelve (12) per customer per calendar year – regardless of grades purchased.

      The CMP occasionally also conducts other special sales programs as assets become available. These special sales and purchases through the CMP auction site do not count against the above.”

  • Leigh Rich

    Or you can buy thru GunBroker or Budsguns, Easier and you can see what you are getting.