Just in Time for DNC Convention, Obama Releases More Executive Gun Control

Obama and Hillary Clinton
Just in Time for DNC Convention, Obama Releases More Executive Gun Control
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

Washington, DC – -(Ammoland.com)- On Friday, July 22 2016, just as members of his party were gathering in Philadelphia to coronate Hillary Clinton as their presidential nominee, the Obama Administration once again released a sweeping gun control measure by executive fiat.

This time the bad news came via the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is primarily responsible for administering the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and its implementing rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The upshot is that DDTC is labeling commercial gunsmiths as “manufacturers” for performing relatively simple work such as threading a barrel or fabricating a small custom part for an older firearm. Under the AECA, “manufactures” are required to register with DDTC at significant expense or risk onerous criminal penalties.

As with prior executive actions on guns, the administration released its dictate suddenly and without advance warning to or prior input from affected businesses, completely bypassing the normal formalities associated with a significant rulemaking.

The guidance is also likely to result in more confusion than clarity and may significantly chill heretofore legal conduct associated with gunsmithing.

By way of background, the AECA and ITAR concern rules by which military materiel is exported from, and imported to, the United States. The so-called “defense articles” governed by the AECA/ITAR are compiled in what is known as the U.S. Munitions List and include some, but not all, firearms and ammunition, as well as their parts and components. Thus, for purposes of the regime, a spring or floorplate from the magazine of a controlled firearm is subject to the same regulatory framework as the firearm itself.

The AECA/ITAR require anybody who engages in the business of “manufacturing” a defense article to register with DDTC and pay a registration fee that for new applicants is currently $2,250 per year. These requirements apply, even if the business does not, and does not intend to, export any defense article. Moreover, under ITAR, “only one occasion of manufacturing … a defense article” is necessary for a commercial entity to be considered “engaged in the business” and therefore subject to the regime’s requirements.

Adding to the confusion, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and its amendments (GCA) also regulate firearm manufacturing, importing, and exporting. Both of the laws also use the same or similar terms but apply them in different ways. Thus, what triggers the legal requirement for an entity to be registered as a “manufacturer” under the AECA/ITAR may or may not also bring that entity within the scope of the GCA, and vice versa.

DDTC’s new “guidance” only makes this situation worse by coming up with a confusing and counterintuitive list of activities that it considers “gunsmithing” versus “manufacturing” (despite the fact that it insists it relies on the “ordinary, contemporary, common meaning” of those terms).

For example, DDTC generally labels procedures that involve cutting, drilling, or machining of an existing firearm in order to improve its accuracy or operation or to change its caliber as “manufacturing,” even if they do not create a new and distinct firearm. This includes threading a muzzle for a muzzle brake or blueprinting that requires machining of a barrel.   

Gunsmithing
The AECA/ITAR require anybody who engages in the business of “manufacturing” a defense article to register with DDTC and pay a registration fee that for new applicants is currently $2,250 per year.

On the other hand, DDTC contends that gunsmithing includes only very simple procedures, such as the one-for-one drop-in replacement of parts that do not require cutting, drilling, or machining for installation.  But even then, if the parts “improve the accuracy, caliber, or other aspects of firearm operation,” “manufacturing” may occur. Finishing treatments for firearms generally are not considered manufacturing under the guidance, nor are cosmetic flourishes such as engraving. Meanwhile the mounting of a scope that involves the machining of new dovetails or the drilling and tapping of holes may or not be “manufacturing,” depending on whether the scope improves the accuracy of the firearm beyond its prior configuration.

For those who are confused by the guidance, DDTC offers the option of requesting an advisory opinion through the agency. The regulation providing for such opinions, however, states they “are not binding on the Department of State, and may not be used in future matters before the Department.” Moreover, the request involves typical bureaucratic hoops to negotiate, including providing both an original and seven copies of the request and supporting information in hardcopy form.

DDTC’s move appears aimed at expanding the regulatory sweep of the AECA/ITAR and culling many smaller commercial gunsmithing operations that do not have the means to pay the annual registration fee or the sophistication to negotiate DDTC’s confusing maze of bureaucracy. Like ATF’s early “guidance” this year on the GCA’s licensing requirement for firearm “dealers,” it is also likely to have a significant chilling effect on activity that would not even be considered regulated.   

The administration’s latest move serves as a timely reminder of how the politicized and arrogant abuse of executive power can be used to suppress Second Amendment rights and curtail lawful firearm-related commerce.

That lesson should not be forgotten when voters go to the polls this November.

About:
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

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    Mr. Mark William KlutingTEXThe Old Coachwm millerMr. K Recent comment authors
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    Mr. Mark William Kluting
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    Mr. Mark William Kluting

    AMERICANS have gone soft on elected officials and politicians. (1) there should be no such thing as a career politician nor officlal, (including judges and lawyers) position of any office, with the exception of MILITARY. NO politician nor elected officials shall receive pay and benefits greater than the frontline service Person’s. Any candidate for any public office should be held accountable for any and all campaign promise’s. Our Constitution and laws of our States are guidance for all citizens. Breeching by any official shall be viewed as Treason, and hanged..

    TEX
    Guest
    TEX

    Damn I hate it when people quote that POS Lincoln. I think Obama edged the SOB out as the worst president in the history of the US.

    The Old Coach
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    The Old Coach

    Mighty ironic coming from the guy who went on to start an unnecessary war, suspended habeas corpus, shut down opposing newspapers, imprisoned a sitting Congressman, etc., etc., etc. Might say the he himself was a “danger that sprang up amongst us”

    wm miller
    Guest
    wm miller

    Topic: The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions     In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American people,   find our account running, under the date of the nineteenth century of the Christian era .  We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate.  We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells.     We  when… Read more »

    Strelnikov
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    Strelnikov

    I assume this will also be directed towards 3D printing,

    JustSomeGuy
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    JustSomeGuy

    I read it that way

    Steve Aker
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    Steve Aker

    We don’t need a civil war. We need a revolution and get rid of the politicians who are destroying this country. I recall this happened in the 18th century with British rule over here and we all know how that ended. Maybe it’s time to break away from a tyrannical government and do what needs to be done.

    JustSomeGuy
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    JustSomeGuy

    I think this is being read to narrowly with the commercial Gunsmith comments using the following as my basis for thinking so: “§122.1 Registration requirements. (a) Any person who engages in the United States in the business of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing defense articles, or furnishing defense services, is required to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls under §122.2. For the purpose of this subchapter, engaging in such a business requires only one occasion of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing a defense article or furnishing a defense service. A manufacturer who does not engage in… Read more »

    mikrat
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    mikrat

    “§122.1 Registration requirements. (a) Any person who engages in the United States in the business of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing defense articles, or furnishing defense services, is required to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls under §122.2. For the purpose of this subchapter, engaging in such a business requires only one occasion of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing a defense article or furnishing a defense service. A manufacturer who does not engage in exporting must nevertheless register.” But what are the LEGAL Definitions of PERSON and UNITED STATES (and most of the other LEGAL word… Read more »

    JustSomeGuy
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    JustSomeGuy

    This is a quote from Kevin in CO on TTAG website, ATF should probably be replaced with the State Department in this case: “It doesn’t HAVE to hold up in court. The scenario goes like this: ATF: You’re a manufacturer, and you didn’t pay the registration. We’re shutting you down. Gunsmith: I’ll see you in court! ATF: Yes, you will…in about 3 years. Meanwhile, we’re shutting you down. Are you leaving peacefully, or are you going to jail today? Gunsmith: But how will I support my family if you’ve taken away my livelihood? ATF: Not our problem. But I hear… Read more »

    858*70
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    858*70

    From a novel I’m writing:
    Gunsmith: I’ll see you in court!
    ATF: Yes, you will…in about 3 years. Meanwhile, we’re shutting you down. Are you leaving peacefully, or are you going to jail today?
    Gunsmith: >clenches teeth<
    -6 days later –
    Bomb goes off in front of ATF office.
    -that night-
    ATF agent's house mysteriously burns down.

    glenn Jacobs
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    glenn Jacobs

    Let me see if I got this straight. The screw that holds the grip-cap on my grand-daddy’s antique shotgun has been lost. It is of an unusual diameter, thread or pitch. A gunsmith becomes a felon if he turns a replacement screw on his lathe. Maybe I am convicted as an accomplice, too. We both are forbidden to own firearms for life.

    Yes, that seems about right. These people are really out to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

    DAN III
    Guest
    DAN III

    So, how does .gov enforce this latest edict ?

    Refuse to comply. It is time to oppose the regime beginning with non-compliance.

    P. Cross
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    P. Cross

    The sad fact is that we have lost control of our country to the people on the left and it is going to get much much worse. The next big thing is going to be about our guns and again we will inexplicably go quietly into the night again. The only positive thing I can see is that the idiots on the left will be going there with us. Hillary is right, “democrat voters are just plain stupid”, sadly what does that say about us? 120 mil. Died at the hands of Mao and Stalin another 30 mil. due to… Read more »

    ROGUE CHIMERA
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    ROGUE CHIMERA

    If these last few months have taught us anything, it is that the government cannot protect us. If the police are being targeted, they are even less likely to be as swift to attend to innocent victims needs because of added caution, preparation and their own defense needs. No time in American history, is more dangerous than now and this is the time that we should be disarmed? One thing for sure that those folks inside the beltway do not understand…WE DON’T TRUST YOU ANYMORE! No matter what you say! You have ALL lied to us and all deserve to… Read more »

    Mr. K
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    Mr. K

    How we could not have a civil war at this point is beyond me. One state needs to succeed or the government needs to make an agressive action against somone for the spark to ignite the keg. These are frightening times we live in to have to fear our government more than forighn governments.

    J B
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    J B

    Mr. K,For eight years what we laughingly or tearfully refer to as our government has been taking aggressive action against the citizens of this country and, for the record, the current administration “is” a “foreign” government staffed with foreigners, adverse to the American way of life, it’s laws and it’s constitution. Just thought you should know.
    JB

    Mr. K
    Guest
    Mr. K

    I’m well aware of that. But no one seems to be taking action to actually stand up and enforce the constitution, one man is a suicide mission. We the people need to unite and fight the tyranny.

    MrApple
    Guest
    MrApple

    Nickel and diming the 2nd Amendment out of existence.

    Greg
    Guest
    Greg

    Absolutely infuriating. Now they’re coming after the machinists. This is all out war and will not end well.