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moab
12-26-2009, 4:45 PM
I've researched this subject to death. The law basically says you can't export any AW part that is "essential to the operation of the firearm". Yet no one can seem to identify what is "essential" and what is not.

I got a request for a sling loop from an AK type weapon. To be shipped to Canada. Yugo M70 to be exact.

Can anyone point me in the direction of anything concrete as it pertains to essential and non-essential parts?

Several large and small retailers list these requirements in their shipping policy. Some just say "essential" (Numrich I think...) others go so far as to say "even a handguard is essential". Who would be the appropriate legal entity to even ask for clarification on this point?

PLEASE legal types - please weigh in on this?! I have spent hours trying to find a definitive answer to this.

Thank you to any one that can help. I will forever be grateful!!

You can respond privately too if you want - moduspi@gmail.com

bwiese
12-26-2009, 5:49 PM
I don't think the issue is "AW"-specific. You generally shouldn't ship gun parts overseas without paperwork/approval - including scopes!

Also, are you really sure he's a foreigner, or an agent acting like one? :(

I've gotten several reports there have been foreign parties - or agents portraying themselves as such - asking Calguns sellers to ship nonreceiver parts, including barrels, fire control parts, etc. to non-USA destinations. When the seller says to ship the item as "metal parts" or to use an intermediary even when cautioned about legal issues, it's worrisome.

Let the friggin' foreigners fend for themselves.

Jicko
12-26-2009, 5:59 PM
Also, many parts have US export restrictions...

I personally wouldn't touch those transactions...

professorhard
12-26-2009, 6:09 PM
Prolly just a bad idea...

moab
12-26-2009, 7:55 PM
I've said no to anyone wanting parts from overseas. And that is the simple solution just not to do it.

But that does not answer the question "What is a part that is not essential to the operation of a firearm?"

It seems like every time a new law or regulation gets passed the enforcement is such that we just let the gray areas widen and widen. Until there will be no more white areas - just different shades of gray. And we will have passively wiped out every gun right we ever had.

If the law said "no exporting of gun parts" that would be one thing. But it doesn't. It simply lists parts not essential to the operation of the firearm.

I'd still like to know the legal definition of "essential".

Seesm
12-26-2009, 8:20 PM
Steer clear fella...

wilit
12-26-2009, 8:24 PM
I had to take a training class at work regarding the rules on exporting items as mundane as office supplies overseas. There are a TON of export laws forbidding shipping all sorts of stuff you wouldn't think were a problem. Shipping firearms parts overseas is a quick way to land yourself in a heap of trouble.

IrishPirate
12-26-2009, 8:30 PM
Let the friggin' foreigners fend for themselves.

ditto

hoffmang
12-26-2009, 8:33 PM
Start here: http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar_official.html

When you give up in abject horror, just stick with the "sorry, too complex" answer.

-Gene

moab
12-26-2009, 9:11 PM
The main reason I ask is that it seems like every time new laws or regulations get passed, the enforcement is such, that we are left with ever widening gray areas. Until someday there will be no white areas left. Just different shades of gray.

Gun manufacturers can move overseas and export their products to wherever they wish. Yet companies that choose to stay here and employ Americans - are left with ever more restrictive laws that keep them from being able to sell their products anywhere but here.

This law in-particular seems to have everyone just rolling over. And taking it in stride. As if the law read "no export of gun parts is allowed". When it clearly doesn't say this. And it's not even being discussed. And if you do bring it up everyone is alarmist "Don't ship ANYTHING overseas!" "Let them find their own parts!". Which is ignorant at best. It's not about protecting our parts. It's about losing our rights.

We can buy and import anything we want from overseas (besides receivers and barrels). Yet we are scared into not selling anything overseas. We can buy anything that they pay their citizens to produce. But God forbid we actually market our own citizens wares to those same sellers.

I'd like to know "legally" what we are and are not allowed to ship overseas. "essential" has to have a legal definition somewhere. Yet every single site or companies shipping policy reads as if the law were written saying "no parts". "Essential to the operation" seems a far cry from "no parts at all".

The other reason I ask is I buy and sell things online all the time - of a non-firearm type - to and from overseas. It's a global world we live in now. Even if your only buying audio cables on Ebay. I get asked from time to time to ship gun parts overseas. And I don't. But only because I can't find a legal definition of the difference between the essential parts and the non essential parts.

I think fear of the law is a good thing at times. "Don't build an automatic firearm." That's a clear law that should be feared. But other times it seems like that fear just serves to further limit ourselves. Even more than the government intended.

I got asked to ship a sling swivel to Canada today. I know a sling swivel isn't "essential to the operation" of the firearm I took it off of. But I and everyone else I know is to afraid to ship a sling swivel overseas. Because it's easier to just live in fear and not do anything at all. Rather than to simply ask for clarification.

moab
12-26-2009, 9:13 PM
I did get this response on another site. And have asked for specific sites or documents citing these statements. As I have not found them. (I'm about to read your link above, Gene.):

"A gun part can only be exported from the United States by a licenced exporter.
All gun parts are controlled for export. Some gun parts have specific additional controls placed on them.
Receivers, barrels, cylinders, bolts, etc. are specifically controlled. They cannot be exported by a licenced exporter without first obtaining an export permit from the US DOS. This is obtained after the importer submits an import document. A Canadian would get an International Import Certificate (IIC), the US exporter would attach the IIC to the application for the export licence.
Gun parts that are not specifically controlled, firing pins, sights, etc. with a value of less than US$100 for the entire shipment do not require the licenced exporter to obtain an export permit for the shipment, although there is a document called an SED which is filled out. It includes end user restrictions.

The issue is US export controls, under a set of rules called ITAR. International Trafficking in Arms Regulations.
Deptarment of Homeland Security is the enforcement agency...."

moab
12-26-2009, 9:26 PM
Start here: http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar_official.html

When you give up in abject horror, just stick with the "sorry, too complex" answer.

-Gene

I've actually read this. And it's not that complex. It's just that no one has given a clear definition of what "essential to the operation of the firearm" means. (I am paraphrasing here. That is basically the wording. My entire house has been so sick with the flu that we even skipped Christmas dinner.)

There are of course export and import documentation requirements for items that are worth more than $100. But above or below that amount your left with the simple requirement that the parts can not be "essential to the operation of the firearm". Some retailers shipping policies state this very loosely. Others say a hand guard is even essential.

We know as gun owners what is "essential" and what is not. But it would be nice to simply have the legal definition of "essential". If not, an opinion letter stating the enforcement criteria under that guideline.

Not that this is a new issue. But sticking our heads in the sand and simply saying "well it's to complicated so just don't do it". Is giving up more rights than the law even intended.

If you can sell a dumbell to someone in Hong Kong? Why can't you sell them a sling swivel? Especially if the law allows for that.

I think as gun owners we far to often crumble to our fears. And are to quick in advising others to do the same. Rather than simply ask for clarification of the rules.

hoffmang
12-26-2009, 9:40 PM
Moab,

With all due respect, I can tell you that ITAR is not something to mess with. ITAR rules changed for computer software partially due to me sticking my neck out.

That swing swivel may very well be deemed part of, or equivalent to, a part of an automatic weapon. If you want to get the ITAR export license to send it out, feel free.

Going against your "essential" argument is the fact that it's pretty hard to field an army without slings on their rifles. ATF usually is the delegated entity by the State Department on firearms parts. As such, I'd call the local field office and ask.

-Gene

moab
12-26-2009, 11:05 PM
Moab,

With all due respect, I can tell you that ITAR is not something to mess with. ITAR rules changed for computer software partially due to me sticking my neck out.

That swing swivel may very well be deemed part of, or equivalent to, a part of an automatic weapon. If you want to get the ITAR export license to send it out, feel free.

Going against your "essential" argument is the fact that it's pretty hard to field an army without slings on their rifles. ATF usually is the delegated entity by the State Department on firearms parts. As such, I'd call the local field office and ask.

-Gene


"ITAR is not something to mess with"

I assume you mean "not something to go against". Versus "not something to question". As I do think it needs to be questioned. As far as the question "What does "essential" mean specifically?"

Rather than everyone going around afraid of ITAR altogether. We should do a better job of educating ourselves. So that we at least know where the line is. What we've given up. And where the line might move should this wording or the enforcement of it change.

And if you think this doesn't affect you because you don't import or export anything your wrong. I'm sure many companies went out of business if not lost a significant amount of business because of this. Thus fewer jobs. And fewer parts and/or firearms for US citizens. Fewer tax dollars. And another something no longer Made in America.

If we are allowed to export gun parts (say less than $100) we should be exercising that right. Most of the firearms we buy are made overseas. And sold to us by overseas manufacturers. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that. I seem to remember reading a similar, if not far off, statistic recently.) Why shouldn't we (our firearms industry) benefit from that same large market luxury. If not each one of us individually.

I understand why some items export are controlled. But if it is not against the law. I don't see why we shouldn't be able to trade with people from other countries. Just like we do everything else that gets listed on Ebay.

Not that Ebay will let us list them. ;) LOL!

ojisan
12-26-2009, 11:40 PM
The first thing you have to know is that when you mail in your application to export, the third line of the address is:
"Office of Political Military Affairs"
Therefore, you are guaranteed a fair decision.

Second, look through all this:

Category I—Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns *(a) Nonautomatic and semi-automatic firearms to caliber .50 inclusive (12.7 mm).
*(b) Fully automatic firearms to .50 caliber inclusive (12.7 mm).
*(c) Firearms or other weapons (e.g. insurgency-counterinsurgency, close assault weapons systems) having a special military application regardless of caliber.
*(d) Combat shotguns. This includes any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches.
*(e) Silencers, mufflers, sound and flash suppressors for the articles in (a) through (d) of this category and their specifically designed, modified or adapted components and parts.
(f) Riflescopes manufactured to military specifications (See category XII(c) for controls on night sighting devices.)
*(g) Barrels, cylinders, receivers (frames) or complete breech mechanisms for the articles in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this category.
(h) Components, parts, accessories and attachments for the articles in paragraphs (a) through (g) of this category.
(i) Technical data (as defined in §120.10 of this subchapter) and defense services (as defined in §120.9 of this subchapter) directly related to the defense articles enumerated in paragraphs (a) through (h) of this category. Technical data directly related to the manufacture or production of any defense articles enumerated elsewhere in this category that are designated as Significant Military Equipment (SME) shall itself be designated SME.
(j) The following interpretations explain and amplify the terms used in this category and throughout this subchapter:
(1) A firearm is a weapon not over .50 caliber (12.7 mm) which is designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or which may be readily converted to do so.
(2) A rifle is a shoulder firearm which can discharge a bullet through a rifled barrel 16 inches or longer.
(3) A carbine is a lightweight shoulder firearm with a barrel under 16 inches in length.
(4) A pistol is a hand-operated firearm having a chamber integral with or permanently aligned with the bore.
(5) A revolver is a hand-operated firearm with a revolving cylinder containing chambers for individual cartridges.
(6) A submachine gun, “machine pistol” or “machine gun” is a firearm originally designed to fire, or capable of being fired, fully automatically by a single pull of the trigger.
Note: This coverage by the U.S. Munitions List in paragraphs (a) through (i) of this category excludes any non-combat shotgun with a barrel length of 18 inches or longer, BB, pellet, and muzzle loading (black powder) firearms. This category does not cover riflescopes and sighting devices that are not manufactured to military specifications. It also excludes accessories and attachments (e.g., belts, slings, after market rubber grips, cleaning kits) for firearms that do not enhance the usefulness, effectiveness, or capabilities of the firearm, components and parts. The Department of Commerce regulates the export of such items. See the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730–799). In addition, license exemptions for the items in this category are available in various parts of this subchapter (e.g. §§123.17, 123.18 and 125.4).


The bold section / exemption does not seem to have any meaning under the current administration.

hoffmang
12-27-2009, 12:33 AM
I assume you mean "not something to go against". Versus "not something to question". As I do think it needs to be questioned. As far as the question "What does "essential" mean specifically?"

First, it's pretty clear you're unaware of my penchant to screw with the rules. As I said, I and two other people personally changed ITAR.

Second, it's not at all clear that even a fully reinvigorated right to keep and bear arms means you have the right to export them absent a federal license. I seriously doubt any court is going to question the Federal government's exclusive jurisdiction over foreign commerce or international diplomacy. Import is a different matter, but export licensing is a very real restriction that will remain. The US government can decide to stop filibusters and it has a long tradition of doing just that.

I would suggest getting an ATF advisory letter. Either way, the effort involved over exporting this sling swivel to Canada isn't a good use of time.

-Gene

moab
12-27-2009, 11:55 AM
First, it's pretty clear you're unaware of my penchant to screw with the rules. As I said, I and two other people personally changed ITAR.

Second, it's not at all clear that even a fully reinvigorated right to keep and bear arms means you have the right to export them absent a federal license. I seriously doubt any court is going to question the Federal government's exclusive jurisdiction over foreign commerce or international diplomacy. Import is a different matter, but export licensing is a very real restriction that will remain. The US government can decide to stop filibusters and it has a long tradition of doing just that.

I would suggest getting an ATF advisory letter. Either way, the effort involved over exporting this sling swivel to Canada isn't a good use of time.

-Gene

I know what your saying, Gene. I wasn't suggesting that any existing laws be flouted. Or that they could even be changed. I certainly dont' have the time or interest in that. My only interest is just what the actual legal definition of what could be exported is. Rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water. And just not exporting anything because the rules are to hard to figure out. Or get clarification on. My interest is simply "What can we legally do?" "Can someone explain this mess please? So that we don't run afoul of the law?" It just seems to often the various agencies dealing in these matters are purposely vague so as to avoid legal complications later. But this to often leaves us with this feeling that gov is swinging it's stick so wildly. We never know when we might be hit by an errant swing. So we simply cower in the corner - doing nothing.

The quote above your post is interesting. Besides it, doing some reading last night, I've been able to surmise that anything in 1(a) that is worth less than $100 (I assume a part) can be imported without export approval. Which means any non-military, semi auto or bolt action rifle part. Excluding a scope manufactured to military specs. (Whatever that is...)

But then there is the quote above. Which I honestly didn't notice. It does kind of look like you can export:

"...accessories and attachments (e.g., belts, slings, after market rubber grips, cleaning kits) for firearms that do not enhance the usefulness, effectiveness, or capabilities of the firearm, components and parts."

Interesting examples of what might not "enhance the usefulness, effectiveness, or capabilities of the firearm, components and parts" though. I'm trying to think of what parts don't enhance the effectiveness or capabilities of the arm or parts of the arm?

Stocks do. So those are out. Hand guards do. I guess. Sling swivels don't. (LOL!!!!) Buttplate?

But then the poster goes on to say:

"The bold section / exemption does not seem to have any meaning under the current administration."

Are there examples of the current administration not giving permission for these excluded items? (that's to the poster of that last comment)

There is alot to be interpreted here. It's almost like you'd have to have a letter for each specific firearm on a case by case basis. Like for example a K98 Mauser. Falls into catagory 1(a). But does it have "military applications" as described in 1(c). It did 75 years ago. Does it still today?

Gene - are there other forums that would be more applicable to this type of conversation?

Patrick

HowardW56
12-27-2009, 12:09 PM
WHO IS GREG?

wilit
12-27-2009, 12:11 PM
WHO IS GREG?

+1

LOL Fail. Gene's name is posted there twice. If you can't get that right, how are you going to accurately read export rules and regs.

HowardW56
12-27-2009, 12:15 PM
+1

LOL Fail. Gene's name is posted there twice. If you can't get that right, how are you going to accurately read export rules and regs.


:D:43::D

moab
12-27-2009, 1:12 PM
What are you talking about? I said Gre....I mean Gene. ;)

Our entire family has had the flu all week. My apologies to G E N E. :) I just spent the last half hour with my son huddle over the commode. And I'm about headed there myself.

I probably am to stupid to understand the export laws. Which is the exact reason why I'm here discussing them. :)

I really need to print out all the applicable laws to cross reference them. This is something that could really benefit from a flow chart like the CA AW one. It's not easy to follow. Although general areas of things ok to ship have been identified. i.e. - slings, bayonets(?), etc. in the amount of -$100.

moab
12-27-2009, 8:31 PM
http://www.progunleaders.org/DDTC/

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)


Article by Robin Taylor, courtesy of the US Practical Shooting Association. Taken from the May/June 2009 issue of Front Sight Magazine.


Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)
It's not about Trade, it's about Control

By Robin Taylor, USPSA Staff


If you're lucky, you have never heard of the "International Trade in Arms Regulation" treaty, or ITAR. Administered by the State Department through something called the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), this treaty is supposed to keep track of "defense" exports. Unfortunately, what you don't know is about to hurt you.

Unintended Consequences

DDTC's ITAR process hummed along out of the public view for years, focusing on the major international trade in firearms and military equipment until President Bush II moved to make the directorate 75 percent self-funding. In one fell stroke, he gave the agency the power to set its own budget, and levy its own taxes.

The results have been predictable. New rules published on Sept. 28, 2008 explosively increased fees. Furthermore, DDTC has expanded its tax base to include all "arms" trade in the United States. Civilian firms with no military or export connection whatever are getting ominous letters from their wholesalers (Brownells sent a letter to all its vendors) asking if they are "in compliance" with the mysterious ITAR.

Subsection I(a) of the ITAR includes all firearms, barrels, "military" scopes, and all "components, parts, accessories and attachments" for any listed item. Subsection III includes manufacturers of ammunition, bullets, and technical data for the production of the above. If you cast bullets at home and sell them to your neighbors, you need to file with the DDTC. However, your Dillon press is exempt.

Flipping through the pages of Front Sight, "cartridge cases. . .bullets," "firearms," and "accessories and attachments" to firearms takes in pretty much our entire advertising base. We checked, and the magazine extensions USPSA competitors use have been ruled a "defense article" and all manufacturers of same must register with DDTC. The C-More optical sight? Tubes for a 170mm magazine? Moon clips for a revolver? As best we can tell, every advertiser in this magazine other than Dillon and a few soft goods firms must register and be tracked as a "manufacturer" or "broker of defense articles" under DDTC's purview.

If you don't think that affects your ability to exercise your second amendment rights (albeit indirectly), or to enjoy shooting, take a minute and think about it. ITAR calls for government registration of all arms manufacturing. Not only will the government know exactly who makes how much of what, should the government decide NOT to issue a registration permit to any of those people, they're out of business, immediately.

Basic registration has climbed from a few hundred dollars for a multi-year registration four years ago to $2,250 per year. Fail to pay this, and you risk federal prosecution. Should you actually export, the fees climb dramatically.

"For that money you get absolutely nothing," says Jason Wong of the Firearms Law Group. (Wong advises clients including Sig Sauer, U.S. Ordnance, and Gemtech on compliance with federal firearms laws and export controls, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).) "I don't mind paying my taxes, because that goes to pay for schools and roads and stuff, but this is something else." While we know of a few accessory makers (of grips) that have been given a pass on registration, according to Wong, they're the exception.

"It's not just us," said a representative from an accessory catalog. "I went to a Commerce Department training session and State Department reps came on one day. They said they're targeting every company in every industry, so that they will know everyone involved before it's all over."

Airplane components, computer chips, optics for anything from night vision to missiles, thanks to the "accessories" clause, DDTC's reach is astoundingly broad.

"Every industry group has this same complaint," said our catalog representative. "The only way we can know if something is covered is to get a (State Department) ruling on it."

Until recently, the whole ITAR process operated in a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" manner. If you built non-military parts and didn't export, nobody at "State" really cared. Looking at it from a bureaucratic point of view, registering the little fish cost them time and money, and for what? Now that DDTC relies on registration to fund itself, that situation has changed.

"Now nobody says anything because they're afraid. They know if they stand up, it'll cost them $2,250 a year," said an accessories maker that chose to remain anonymous. Some not-so-friendly competitors notified DDTC that his firm was making parts without a permit, and the hammer fell.

2008's Year-End Surprise

Under its new rules, DDTC collects its registration fees at the end of the year, using a sliding scale depending on how many export licenses you requested. If you didn't get the memo ("it was on the website. . ."), that means you pay for each of last year's licenses when you renew your ITAR registration. Licenses that were almost free now cost $250 each.

I spoke with Dave Skinner at STI about their experience with the DDTC's escalating fees. Almost half their business is with overseas clients.

"In three years (the changes) took us from $750 per year, to $1,750, to $18,500 per year in export costs."

Pauletta Skinner handles most of STI's export operation. She renewed STI's registration early, fearing another doubling in fee prices akin to 2006-2007. Instead, the 2008 fee rose by one thousand percent - 10 times the previous year's fee. "I couldn't believe it," she says. "I called them back because I thought it was a typo."

Apparently DDTC put the change on their website, but didn't notify registrants directly. When the bill came, STI was caught short. With no way to back up and pass the costs on to the customer, STI faced an ugly choice: Write a check for an extra $16,000, or cease operations immediately.

"We're still reeling at the increase in costs," says Dave Skinner.

Now put yourself in the shoes of Brownells, parts resource for gunsmiths worldwide. Brownells has a staff of five to deal with permitting issues for their international shipments. Huge swaths of their 36,000-item catalog are controlled by ITAR.

"We would have been happy with only that kind of a jump," said David Dean when I asked about STI's $16,000 surprise. "We do hundreds and hundreds of licenses, but I can't give any details about the proposed fee since this issue is still being negotiated."

cont. next post...

moab
12-27-2009, 8:31 PM
cont.

Each foreign order over $99 for controlled items requires an export license from DDTC. For a company whose international business is likely in the millions, that's a lot of permits. Brownells is still running under what was a two-year registration. They paid the new base fee to keep their registration alive, but that huge per-permit fee hangs like an axe over their business model. As Dean explained, even under the new rules, there are several possible ways to calculate fees. There is a "3 percent of value" option, but according to Sandy Strayer at SV, even the top hands on the DDTC response team weren't sure how to calculate it. Hence the protracted negotiations. If Brownells is lucky, they'll "only" have to pay 3 percent of their export gross to the State Department.

While the registration end of this is problematic, that's just the beginning.

Paper Cuts: The ITAR Recordkeeping Requirements

Once registered, all firms controlled by the DDTC must adopt recordkeeping requirements as detailed in ITAR subsection 122.5. This means maintaining durable change-controlled records of:

-anyone that might control technical information,
-the disposition of all "defense articles,"
-production figures,
-and a "compliance plan" so that "defense articles" are properly tracked so that they don't fall into the hands of unauthorized persons

"It's a huge document control burden," says Jason Wong of the Firearms Law Group. "While it doesn't seem bad to firearm makers that are already tracking their products, it's a major problem for ammunition and parts manufacturers."

Firms like S&W that might apply for permits with a value over $500,000 must keep durable records of political contributions, gifts, loans, offers of loans, etc. All these records, including the production figures, etc., must be made available to the DDTC or to persons authorized by the DDTC (including Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and the Border Patrol) on request.

The lunacy of requiring accessory makers building parts for raceguns to treat their bits with the same level of control as components for the M1 Abrams tank need hardly be explained. Thankfully there is an exemption for the technical data for commonplace parts whose design information can be found "in the public domain." That gets a little iffy in cases where the design was partially financed by the government (a la anti-tilt followers for the AR-15), but for the typical USPSA-oriented accessory maker, it offers *some* relief.

Unfortunately, according to Wong, "State" has the reputation for not being what you'd call "business-friendly." Other attorneys that specialize in this area of law told us that "we'd always rather be dealing with Commerce than State." Our experience with the State Department has been positive (SV and others recommend speaking to Roy Simkins on the DDTC response team). Also, Dean tells us that the officers he has worked with have all been helpful and well-informed, if occasionally hard to reach (he once sat on hold for an hour and 15 minutes). He tells us that his vendor base says largely the same thing, with a few exceptions.

Wong's experience was different. "I'll be up front and tell you - if you don't like ATF, the State Department is infinitely worse. ATF will be reasonable when they need to be. State Department will have no compunction about putting you out of business."

Wong related the story of one ammunition manufacturer that applied to export a modest amount of ammunition (less than 10,000 rifle cartridges). The permit was denied five times - despite being destined for an obviously friendly government agency. After each denial, rather than take up the original application, State insisted that Wong's client re-file a new application with the words "maybe we'll approve it this time." He says no explanation of why the original permit was denied was ever offered.

We can only hope that Dean's experience is more the norm.

Technical Data

Another nasty wrinkle of the ITAR regulations comes in the guise of "Technical Data."

Pretend for a moment that you did business in sidewinder missiles. It's not hard to understand why the State Department would be concerned about the disposition of the technology behind them. Now apply all the security controls you might reasonably apply to the technology behind a sidewinder missile, to the manufacture of an EoTech or similar sight.

Another of Wong's domestic clients dealt with a firm that does metal injection molding overseas. "They e-mailed their tech specs to this company for bid, which then forwarded it to an offshore production facility and started making parts. They just exported the technical data, and they need a permit for that." If you work as a consultant, as many of our members do, that's often a "defense service," governed by ITAR. While we didn't discuss training specifically, training is another potential "defense services" nightmare for our top shooters.

Sound silly? One of the "enforcement actions" trumpeted by the DDTC on its website is the arrest of a man "after authorities found rifle scopes, stun guns and other prohibited items in luggage for his trip to Iran."

So What Do We Do About It?

The small domestic manufacturers, the "little guys" that are now getting roped into ITAR, weren't at the original negotiating table when the effects of this fee increase were discussed. Now that the word is out, we're not likely to get ITAR repealed, but it is reasonable to expect State to create an appropriate licensing scheme for small manufacturers, particularly those that do not export. $2,250 annually and a slough of paperwork is more than enough to crush a fledgling business - especially the small custom shops that USPSA is famous for. By adopting a reasonable base fee, DDTC can expect greater compliance with less enforcement cost, netting more revenue in the long run.

Is it really too much to ask that DDTC registration have a basic fee in keeping with a basic business license?

As Dean told us, "We've had some guys say 'I'm sorry, I can't afford to do that, I'm not going to make it anymore, delete my product from your catalog.'" Do we need clearer evidence of a negative economic impact than that?

BATF - Backing Up Toward Reasonable Governance

I feel for the guys answering the phone for DDTC, and for the BATF. Top-tier political appointees hand down a ruling, and the poor guys in the middle have to make sense of it - whether it makes sense or not.

BATF staff faced a thorny regulatory situation post 9/11, when someone decreed that anyone bringing a firearm into the United States was "importing" the firearm." (Visiting shooters no more "import" their guns than visiting drivers "import" their cars.) Hunters and USPSA competitors from Canada found themselves filling out the infamous Form 6, intended for people who really do import military hardware, which said things like "if you are importing ballistic missile technology, please use form No. ____." While ATF's posture on "importing" is still quite odd, the new Form 6a is much more appropriate, and borders on the reasonable.

Crushing small businesses with inappropriate licensing is hardly the "stimulus" that President Obama extols, neither is it a "change we can live with."

The State Department’s budget is controlled by the Senate Foreign Relations committee (controlled by anti-gunners on both sides of the aisle) and by the Senate Budget Committe, which has a few friendly faces. I urge you to send a letter to these two:

Sen. Chuck Grassley, 135 Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510. casework@grassley.senate.gov.

Senator Jim Bunning, 316 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

If you've got time for a third, send that to President Obama, emphasizing the opportunity to make points with and for pro-gun Democrats like Max Baucus of Montana. It may be one of few opportunities for them to avoid an F rating from the NRA.

As they stand now, the DDTC's new rules are not about "trade," they're about "control."

© 2009, Robin Taylor, USPSA

Robin Taylor is the assistant editor of Front Sight magazine, the official journal of the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA). www.uspsa.org or www.frontsightmagazine.org.

MikeWilliamson
12-28-2009, 11:21 PM
Another note to keep in mind--a lot of M1 carbines in Germany were modified by removal of front sight wings and inset stock swivels, because those are "military characteristics."

With ITAR and the crap about childrens' toys requiring inspections and licenses for every component, it's almost as if the government is trying to destroy American business.

mchilti
10-21-2010, 4:31 AM
I live in the UK and have just bought a rifle case from Canada. When I had it shipped via UPS though I received a shipping exception saying that 'additional import documentation is required for clearance'; As far as the tracking is concerned it is still in Canada and has been for three days now. Now I’ve been through both the UPS and Canadian shipping regulations and although a rifle case could I suppose be described as a part pertaining to a firearm I think that may be stretching the limits of the definition.
Has anyone else had problems like this?

CCWFacts
10-21-2010, 6:46 AM
I don't think the issue is "AW"-specific. You generally shouldn't ship gun parts overseas without paperwork/approval - including scopes!

Also, are you really sure he's a foreigner, or an agent acting like one? :(

That's right. There's a thing called ITAR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Traffic_in_Arms_Regulations). It is a very complex set of export restrictions, and it covers guns and most gun parts, including scopes, magazines, barrels, etc. You can't export any of these things without doing the full ITAR paperwork. And if you're asking the question on this forum, it means you don't know what ITAR is and you're not a licensed exporter. And that means, DON'T DO IT!

Don't export any firearms parts unless you are highly familiar with ITAR. If you have to ask, it means you don't know, so DON'T DO IT! Don't even think about it! This applies to ALL firearms parts and accessories because many of them are covered by ITAR and you don't want to make a mistake on this! Violating ITAR is a Federal crime and it's taken seriously.