News Release

NRA’s “Boondoggle” — CMP: Government-Backed Program Teaches Kids to Shoot Guns at School; Sells Weapons


PAT ELDER, pelder at, @studentprivacy
Author of the recently released book Military Recruiting in the United States, Elder is director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, an organization that confronts militarism in the schools. He was recently on FAIR’s program “CounterSpin” and “Democracy Now.”

He just wrote the piece “Cruz, Instagram, and the Civilian Marksmanship Program,” which states: “A young Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, posted the image shown on his Instagram account. The date is unknown. The orange tip on the end of the gun signifies he is holding an ‘airsoft’ gun that fires BB-like, spherical projectiles that are typically made of plastic. American youth are introduced to these guns at an early age. The lethal weapon Cruz is holding shoots a projectile at 500 feet per second. The term ‘airsoft’ is concocted by the wizards of Madison Avenue who represent the arms industry. …

“Cruz’s ‘airsoft’ pistol is available on Amazon for $50. Similar, but much more powerful CO2-propelled handguns are available for sale for use by children through the congressionally established Civilian Marksmanship Program, CMP.” Added Elder: “The NRA hosts air pistol matches for the younger set.”

Elder notes that the late Sen. Paul Simon tried to stop the CMP in 1996, calling it “An incomprehensible, irresponsible, baffling boondoggle for the NRA.”

Elder writes in his recent piece: “The image at the top right is an M1911 U.S. Army pistol, a cherished collector’s item. It served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces for 75 years, from 1911 to 1986. The weapons are revered by millions. They’re reliable. They’ll kill the enemy, and they’re American-made. Today, many American youth are enamored by these semi-automatic handguns. …

“All that love for the M1911 pistol led the Trump administration to OK the release of the weaponry from the Army’s ammunition depot in Anniston, Alabama to the CMP, also based in Anniston. The semiautomatic handguns are to be sold to the American public. The U.S. stands alone as the only nation that offers its warehoused military weapons for sale to the public. Prudent nations destroy antiquated guns. The CMP has been recirculating used rifles to the public since 1903, but this is the first time the agency will be selling handguns. Soon, youth like Cruz will be allowed to purchase these extraordinarily lethal, semi-automatic weapons through the quasi-governmental CMP.

“Although President Obama authorized the sale of the M1911 when he approved his last National Defense Authorization Act two years ago, his administration held up the Army’s actual shipment of the handguns to the CMP.”