A State Department spokesman said the administration's decision was based on concerns that the guns could fall into the wrong hands.
"The transfer of such a large number of weapons -- 87,310 M1 Garands and 770,160 M1 Carbines -- could potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes," the spokesman told FoxNews.com.
"Guns that can take high-capacity magazines are a threat to public safety," said Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Even though they are old, these guns could deliver a great amount of firepower. So I think the Obama administration's concerns are well-taken."
The M1 and the M1 carbine are both semi-auto. One pull, one round, just like any other firearm found in the U.S. (without FFL).
The M1 has a capacity of eight rounds, period. The M1 carbine uses a detachable mag, yes, but it is still semi-auto only.
Firearms used in the commission of crimes are almost exclusively handguns. It is somewhat inconvenient to carry a rifle in the waistband of one's baggy jeans.
The special status of the M1s from Korea would require the State department to supervise the sale, and all buyers would have to go through the NICS, at the very least. If they were sold through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, buyers would have to be members of local shooting organizations.
But the ObamAdministration is against the sale it previously authorized. And the gunphobics are cheering them on:
Asked whether melting the guns down would be a good option, Henigan said: "Why let them into the country in the first place? If there is a legally sufficient way to keep them out, we think it's perfectly reasonable to do so."
Here's the moment of Catch-22 Zen:
Asked why the M1s pose a threat, the State Department spokesman referred questions to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF representatives said they would look into the question Monday afternoon, but on Wednesday they referred questions to the Justice Department. DOJ spokesman Dean Boyd referred questions back to the State Department.
The White House referred questions on the issue to the Pentagon, which referred questions to the U.S. Embassy in South Korea, which deferred back to the State Department.