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By Larry Keane

NSSF’s Intervention on Behalf of Industry Is Successful – Court Allows Export Rules to Take Effect

After a decade long push by the NSSF, the final rules for the USML to CCL transition (formerly called Export Control Reform Initiative) took effect yesterday after a federal court in Seattle ruled in NSSF’s favor of a preliminary injunction, narrowly limited to 3D printing technology. The efforts of the 23 states attorneys general who sued to enjoin implementation of the final rules in their entirety has essentially failed.

The final rules as published by the Trump Administration are now in effect, with the exception of the export of technical data related to the 3D manufacturing of firearms or parts. The export of technical data directly related to the 3D printing of a firearm will remain licensed by the State Department while the preliminary injunction remains in place.

Legal Victory

When the state attorneys general sued to stop the rules from taking effect over unfounded concerns with 3D printing and a conflation of export controls and domestic gun control laws, NSSF led the fight to allow the final rules to take effect by moving to intervene in the case. Our brief focused on the scope of the remedy (injunction) the court might enter, should the court determine that one was warranted on the merits.

NSSF offered alternative language that would allow the court to address the 3D printing issue later (as the underlying litigation proceeds) while allowing the bulk of the final rules to take effect without interruption. This was successful. NSSF accomplished the purpose for which we sought to intervene in the case as the final rules will now take effect.

It remains to be seen whether the federal government will appeal on the merits the court’s decision granting the narrowly drawn preliminary injunction at all. NSSF shares the government’s view that States do not have the right to bring the action and that the final rules were properly issued.

Fighting for Industry

The NSSF has been leading the charge for the changes to regulations governing how our products are exported. After the victory of the Trump Administration publishing the final rules in late January, NSSF has offered training resources for the industry to get up to speed on complying with the new rules under the USML to CCL transition.

Visit our website to take advantage of our training resources, including a five-part webinar series with an architect of the rules and an expert in the export of firearms and ammunition. Now that the rules are effective, make sure you are ready for the transition.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has issued a notice of court order, available here.

The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has issued a notice as well, available here.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. Just coming in before everyone starts expecting <300 AK's and other such surplus again, this is for EXPORT, not import. So it's a win for American companies, but won't have a big affect on the consumer end.

    • True. A win is a win, but I’m more focused on the fact that the 3D printing issue has simply been pushed out for discussion at a later date. At some point, that will resurface.

    • There is a market for US sporting rifles and accessories outside of CONUS and Alaska. The omission of Hawaii was deliberate.

      But the difficulties of getting items sent from the US was subject to random arbitrary State Department definitions of potential military use or aiding terrorism. Even items such as slings and scope mounts were blocked from export. I’m glad some sanity had prevailed and the rules are better defined.

  2. So, does this mean that small domestic gunsmiths and parts manufacturers can now proceed with their work, without having to pay that exorbitant $2500 state department tax?

  3. “After a decade long push by the NSSF, the final rules for the USML to CCL transition . . .” Note to Larry: So **this** is your opening sentence? The rest of your post is so opaque that it is almost unreadable.

    • Reads just fine to me and contains good information on a complicated subject. Not sure what your problem is.

  4. Missing from this story are three letters signifying fraud waste and abuse masquerading as a gun rights organization. what did our NRA do help ?

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