Home Shopping for War

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CHICAGO: The government may be trying to curb the flow of weapons of war into the hands of criminals, but a Chicago Tribune expose has found that an officially sanctioned program may be inadvertently supplying large numbers of infantry rifles to anyone who can pay.

Tribune reporters used the Internet to legally purchase an army-issue M-1 assault rifle without registration or background checks, from a member of the Civilian Marksmanship Program an official program privatized in 1994. While the CMP requires registration, background checks and proof of marksmanship training before delivering weapons to members of the public, it does not regulate the resale of those weapons. As many as 500,000 weapons have been sold to the public under the program since 1921, and the military has earmarked a further 373,000 for release in the near future. Which may bring a growing number of militiamen and gang-bangers to your local tag sales.