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December 12th, 2017

Possible Progress on ITAR Regulation of Gunsmiths

ITAR Department of State Rule Change

If you are a gunsmith, or do any machine works on firearms, you need to know about ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations which are enforced through the U.S. Department of State (DOS). ITAR applies to companies that create sophisticated weapons systems. However, under DOS interpretations in recent years, ITAR may also apply to persons and businesses that do simple, basic gunsmithing tasks. That could require filling out lots of paperwork, and paying the Fed’s hefty fees, starting at $2250 per year. A Guidance Statement issued by the DOS Directorate of Defense Trade Counsels (DDTC) in July, 2016 (under the Obama Administration) gave rise to serious concerns that DOS was going to require every gunsmith to register under ITAR, under threat of massive fines and penalties. READ About DDTC ITAR Guidance.

Thankfully, it appears that the Trump Administration is working to narrow the scope of ITAR so that it would NOT apply to basic gunsmithing activities, and not apply to common gun accessories that are not exported. IMPORTANT: Changes have NOT been made yet, but it appears the Feds are heading in the right direction, with the DOS willing to modify its definition of “manufacturing” so ITAR would not embrace basic gunsmithing tasks such as threading a muzzle.

The Gun Collective reports that: “The Directorate of Defense Trade Counsels (DDTC) is working on revising the ITAR regulations which will help the gun industry[.] Gunsmiths having to pay hefty fees, register and comply with ITAR may no longer be a problem if this goes through as planned. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for Congress to take action, but rather an agency, which appears to be taking initiative to get it done. As always, time will tell, so be sure to keep your eye on the Federal Register….”

While nothing has happened yet, it appears that this administration is working to revise ITAR. For members of the firearms industry, this is a big deal and will be beneficial to all. There is no reason that a gunsmith should be required to register and comply with ITAR to simply thread a muzzle. It will also allow companies to more easily export their products around the world. (Source: The Gun Collective)

The Gun Collective further noted that: “The topic that will be of the most interest to us would be the definition of manufacturing[.] You may remember DDTC’s July 2016 letter, which issued “Guidance” as to who would have to register under ITAR [and suggested] that now gunsmiths would have to register as well. The definition of manufacturing is an important one to define and one that had broad ranging implications as the industries covered under ITAR are wide ranging, everything from the firearms industry to airplanes and missiles. The Guidance stated that ITAR registration was required for gunsmiths who machined or cut firearms, such as the threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation which required machining. At a hefty $2,250 a year to register, ignoring all of the other things that go along with ITAR, it is easy to see why this would be problematic for most small businesses.”

AECA DDTC Federal export manufacturer registration requirement criminal sanctions Annual fee NRA-ILA

Here is the key language in the DDTC’s “ITAR Registration Requirements – Consolidated Guidance” Ruling of 7/22/2016:

2. Registration Required – Manufacturing: In response to questions from persons engaged in the business of gunsmithing, DDTC has found in specific cases that ITAR registration is required because the following activities meet the ordinary, contemporary, common meaning of “manufacturing” and, therefore, constitute “manufacturing” for ITAR purposes:

a) Use of any special tooling or equipment upgrading in order to improve the capability of assembled or repaired firearms;

b) Modifications to a firearm that change round capacity;

c) The production of firearm parts (including, but not limited to, barrels, stocks, cylinders, breech mechanisms, triggers, silencers, or suppressors);

d) The systemized production of ammunition, including the automated loading or reloading of ammunition;

e) The machining or cutting of firearms, e.g., threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation requiring machining, that results in an enhanced capability;

f) Rechambering firearms through machining, cutting, or drilling;

g) Chambering, cutting, or threading barrel blanks; and

h) Blueprinting firearms by machining the barrel.

Resources for ITAR Issues:

1. Proposed ITAR Revisions to Definitions of Defense Services and Technical Data LINK
2. DDTC 2016 ITAR Registration Guidance Letter LINK
3. Export Control Reform Act of 2016 LINK

Legal Brief ITAR Episode (August 2016):

Attribution: GunCollective.com and Ammoland.com under Creative Commons license.

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October 2nd, 2017

Leupold Scopes Displayed at White House Made in America Event

Leupold Stevens White House President Trump Scope
President Trump and Vice President Pence review Leupold scopes in the East Room of the White House on July 17, 2017, during the Made in America Product Showcase. (White House photo).

As part of a program featuring American products from all 50 States, Leupold & Stevens proudly represented its home state of Oregon in the “Made in America Product Showcase” held July 17, 2017 in the East Room of the White House. As part of the event, Leupold presented rifle scopes and other optics products crafted in its Beaverton, Oregon, manufacturing plant.

The product showcase, which included one product line from each state, was reviewed by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of Congress. Along with Leupold’s optics, a wide range of other products were on display including guitars (Gibson, TN), NASA Space Suits (ILC Dover, DE), golf clubs (Ping, AZ), cowboy hats (Stetson, TX), and even horse-shoes (St. Pierre, MA). CLICK HERE for list of products by state.

“It was an honor to represent our 700-plus dedicated American workers and the state of Oregon at the Made in America Product showcase. We’re a fifth-generation, family-owned company that has been manufacturing in Oregon for 110 years”, said Bob Nees, Leupold’s VP of Marketing. Leupold President/CEO Bruce Pettet added: “Leupold & Stevens has called Oregon home since 1907, and we’ve never wavered in our commitment to American manufacturing”.

Leupold Stevens White House President Trump Scope

The White House had officially declared July 17th as “Made in America Day”:

Today, we mark the first Made in America Day and recognize the vital contributions of American workers and job creators to our Nation’s prosperity and strength. America owes much of its success to the determination and ingenuity of its entrepreneurs, workers, and farmers, who drive our economy and support our military strength.

American work ethic and quality craftsmanship are the heart and soul of our Nation. We are a Nation of innovators, builders, and farmers. We construct architectural wonders like the Golden Gate Bridge and the New York skyline. We feed the Nation and the world with agricultural products like American wheat, corn, and beef. We drive technological innovation, like the internet and the Global Positioning System, from visions to realities.

My Administration recognizes the critical connection between a strong manufacturing base and a thriving economy. I am committed to promoting American manufacturing, opening markets around the world for our producers, and protecting our businesses from unfair trade practices.

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October 21st, 2012

Planned Federal Budget Freeze May Threaten Public Ranges

Pittman-Robertson gun range funding

Story by NRAHuntersRights.org and NRAblog.com
Shown above is the Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range in Kindards, South Carolina. Belfast was the first public, unmanned shooting range opened and paid for completely with funds raised by NRA Grants and the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program … an act made possible through Pittman-Robertson grants. Several other state Natural Resource Departments have followed suit. Such facilities provide hunters and shooters with a convenient, low cost location to sight in firearms and practice shooting. Now that may be in jeopardy.

In the article below, NRAHuntersRights.org Managing Editor J.R. Robbins explains why government funding for Public Shooting Ranges is threatened:


OMB Threatens to Freeze Pittman-Robertson Funds
Sportsmen nationwide should be aware of a recently released report from the White House Office of Management and Budget that itemizes $31 million in Pittman-Robertson funds to be “sequestered” from the U.S. budget. Sequestration sets aside funding–effectively “freezing” it — until a debt is repaid.

Pittman-Robertson gun range fundingThe listing of the P-R funding (as well as $34 million of Dingell-Johnson funds that support sport fishing) is part of a huge package of across-the-board government budget reductions planned to take effect January 2, 2013, unless Congress can develop a plan to cut $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, more formally known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. As most hunters know, the act put an 11 percent excise tax on rifles, shotguns, ammunition and archery equipment that is distributed to state game and fish agencies for the purposes of habitat acquisition and improvement, reintroduction of declining species, wildlife research, hunter education, shooting range development and other conservation projects. (The tax on handguns is 10 percent.)

It is this funding and these projects that have brought back species such as whitetail deer, turkeys, wood ducks, antelope, bald eagles and Canada geese from dangerously low levels a century ago to the strong, sustainable populations we see today. Hunters’ dollars are directly responsible for these and other conservation milestones.

Since 1937, hunters have contributed nearly $7 billion dollars through the Pittman-Robertson Act for the benefit of wildlife conservation. For any given project, P-R funding pays 75 percent of costs, and states must contribute at least 25 percent–most of which comes from hunting license fees …

Read the rest of NRAHuntersRights’ article on the threat to Pittman-Robertson HERE.

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June 8th, 2010

Kagan Involved in Anti-Gun Policy-Making as Clinton Advisor

Elena KaganThe NSSF reports that newly released documents show Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was involved in forming Clinton Administration policy on gun control, including, apparently, proposing that President Clinton issue an Executive Order to prohibit firearm sales without prior police certification/approval. The Washington Post reports that Kagan helped formulate gun control measures during the three years she served as a domestic policy advisor for Clinton.

After analyzing documents turned over by the Clinton Library, the Washington Post revealed: “Kagan was immersed in initiatives on gun control. In deliberations about how the Clinton administration should respond to a Supreme Court ruling that the federal government could not force local or state police to conduct background checks on gun purchasers, she appears to support such checks.” One document revealed that Elena had suggested that Clinton might issue an Executive Order banning gun sales without prior police approval. Based on these documents, it appears Kagan showed a strong anti-Second-Amendment bias when she worked in the White House, advising President Clinton.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings this summer, NSSF looks forward to a full exploration of Kagan’s involvement in gun-control issues during the Clinton administration, the most anti-gun administration in history.

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