Civilian Marksmanship Program:

Corporation Needs to Fully Comply With the Law on Sales of Firearms

NSIAD-99-41: Published: Jan 12, 1999. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety's administration of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), focusing on: (1) whether CMP's conversion to a private corporation and the Corporation's subsequent firearms sales were conducted in accordance with the 1996 National Defense Authorization Act; (2) the types and value of federal support provided to the Corporation; and (3) the types and number of firearms the Army transferred to the Corporation and was storing for potential transfer.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army and the Corporation completed the transition of the CMP to the Corporation on September 30, 1996, in accordance with the 1996 act; (2) the Corporation has not routinely ensured that it complied with the requirements of the 1996 act in its firearms sales to individuals; (3) GAO estimates that the Corporation sold between 1,200 and 2,200 M1 Garand rifles without adhering to its own procedures that were designed to ensure that the purchasers were not convicted of felonies, were U.S. citizens, and were members of a Corporation-affiliated club; (4) the Army and other defense agencies had provided more than $19 million in support to the Corporation as of September 30, 1998; (5) for support provided on a reimbursable basis, Corporation officials told GAO the Corporation reimbursed the Army and other defense organizations more than $1 million; (6) additional support, including obtaining background investigations of prospective gun buyers, was provided to the Corporation at a cost of more than $440,000 but was not specifically referred to in the act and was not reimbursed by the Corporation; (7) the Secretary of the Army has not prescribed regulations relating to the logistical support to be provided to the Corporation and reimbursement for that support, even though the 1996 act required the Secretary to do so; (8) several Army officials told GAO they were uncertain as to what support they should be providing and how to arrange for reimbursement from the Corporation for expenses incurred by the Army; (9) as of September 30, 1998, the Army had transferred more than 56,000 firearms to the Corporation; (10) at transition, the Army transferred to the Corporation all of the required firearms except those at Anniston Army Depot; (11) as of September 30, 1998, the Army was storing more than 230,000 M1 Garands, over 35,000 .22 caliber rifles, and more than 4,000 other firearms at Anniston for potential transfer to the Corporation; (12) at that time, the Army and the Corporation were negotiating a new memorandum of understanding that would make any of these firearms that were surplus to Army requirements available for transfer to the Corporation; (13) Army officials told GAO that some of these firearms were not at Anniston under CMP control on February 9,1996; and (14) should the Army decide to transfer firearms that were not under CMP control on February 9, 1996, legislative authority other than section 1615 of the act would be needed.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Based on the recommendation to Congress, the Corporation has retained a firm of independent certified public accountants to perform an annual audit, which will encompass a review of its sales program, including an evaluation of the Corporation's compliance with the enabling legislation and an assessment of its internal controls. Because GAO made this recommendation to Congress, the Corporation took action to implement the recommendation.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider amending the act to require that the Corporation's annual financial audit include an assessment of, and report on, its compliance with the 1996 act. Such an assessment should include an examination of the Corporation's relevant internal controls.

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Based on GAO's recommendation to Congress, the Corporation has retained a firm of independent certified public accountants to perform an annual audit, which will encompass a review of its sales program, including an evaluation of the Corporation's compliance with the enabling legislation and an assessment of its internal controls. Because the Corporation took the above action, the Congress does not need to amend the legislation to require the Corporation to submit the auditor's annual report to Congress.

    Matter: Congress may wish to require that the auditor's report be provided to Congress.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated that existing regulations prescribe guidance to address logistical support provided by the Army and the policies for obtaining reimbursement. These regulations were provided to the Corporation and a new memorandum of understanding was used to clarify the logistical support.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should issue regulations, as required by the 1996 act, addressing the logistical support to be provided to the Corporation and the policies for obtaining reimbursement from the Corporation for such support.

    Agency Affected: Congress

 

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