Smith & Wesson Revolver frames
(Dan Z for TTAG)
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The Trump administration has finalized new rules that loosen export control regulations around small arms, something that’s been in the works for a couple of years now. We’ve written about the topic a number of times (see here, here, and here).

As explains,

The new rules would shift various small arms and ammunition from the U.S. Munitions List, part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, to the Commerce Control List, bringing them under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations, or EAR.

The ITAR governs defense-related exports, while the EAR controls “dual-use” items that can be used for either commercial or military purposes and has less strict export licensing requirements than the State Department’s rules.

The intent behind the rules is to allow the government to make better use of its limited export control resources and reduce procedural burdens and costs on U.S. firearms manufacturers, according to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

The move also kills the punishing gunsmith tax that was imposed by the Obama Administration on almost every gunsmith in the country.

The NSSF released this statement in praise of the move:

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, applauds the Trump administration’s posting for public inspection the final rules that modernize the export regulations for sporting and commercial firearms and ammunition products. The formal publication of the final rule is scheduled for Jan. 23. The rules will be implemented 45 days after formal publication.

President Donald Trump’s administration successfully completed the long-promised modernization of the export control regulations that began more than eight years ago under the prior administration, but which was never completed due to domestic gun control reasons.

“This is a tremendous achievement for the firearms and ammunition industry. We salute the Trump administration for modernizing our nation’s outdated Cold War era export controls and putting American manufacturers on an even playing field with their foreign competitors,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs and General Counsel. “This initiative will enable U.S. manufacturers to create more good-paying jobs in America while also helping to strengthen our national security.”

The rules issued today transfer export licensing of sporting and commercial firearms and ammunition products to the Commerce Department from the State Department. This change removes unnecessary and outdated regulations and allows the State to focus its export control resources on those items that give our warfighters a tactical advantage. It makes no sense to treat the commercial sale of hunting or target shooting rifles with the same level of scrutiny as nuclear weapons, tanks and fighter aircraft.

The new rules also eliminate a punitive annual $2,250 registration fee that gunsmiths and small companies who do not manufacture, nor export firearms or ammunition products were forced to pay.

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  1. Now if Trump would only do something about the dumbass IMPORT restrictions that George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Dubya Bush, and Barack Hussein Obama imposed during their tenures.

    There are tens of thousands of M-1 Garands and M-1 Carbines languishing in storage in the Philippines that are begging to come home!

    And there are tons of other guns that should be legal for import as well, and not all of them are military surplus stuff, either!

    • I’d love to see a roll back in demil requirements for parts kits as well.

      In terms of the import stuff some of it was done as punitive against other countries (China importing “heavier” gear than they should have and Russia for the Crimea stuff. That stuff should probably stay in place. The stuff like the 7N5 ban should go however.

      • I wouldn’t hold your breath. The DoD is the 1st called the hill to explain why “something happened” with material they didn’t DEMIL, when it was all allowed by law.

    • Quit complaining. Look at all Trump has already done and it’s all been on his own with scant help from the Repubs in the Senate and less than nothing from anyone in the House. In the least, some of the cranks around here, Ammoland and the like ought to thank Trump. That, like willing help from most of thje elected folk will never do it.

  2. So when can regular gun owners not in the industry get something real? I mean all he had to friggin do was not add to gun control. He did add to it.

  3. and here come the flow of Chinese sks ak, etc, as their import ban was based on state dept admin, which is gone.

    • I say all well and good. Let the SKS’s and Aks flow. It’ll bring the prices of those guns down to where they should’ve been all along, like back when you could get a nice (if you can call them nice) SKS for $75 or less!

      It’ll enable lots of guys to arm-up, who can’t afford to buy AR-15s.

      The more armed citizens, the better!

      • I got an arsenal refurb Russian sks for less than a hundred bucks. It was a nice sks. I always liked the sks better than the ak. But that’s just my preference.

        The real draw back to a 30 round mag is that it gets in the way. especially in the thick stuff. With an AR you can get 20 rounders to have just as a carry mag.

        • Not to be nit-picky, but I have a bunch of 20 round mags for my AK. I like them better than the 30s and the ridiculous 40s. I’ve bought them at gun shows over the years. They’re the regular rib-back steel type just like a lot of the 30s. I was told they were for use by tank crews. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not. If I can get them here in anti-gun MA, you should be able to find some.

          • I have a couple of AKs as well as ARs, and I like the 20-rounders much more for either than the 30-round mags. I can’t lie flat on my belly and shoot with a 30-round mag in either gun. And I happen to think shooting prone is a handy skill to have.

        • George, I just picked up a ten pack of Bulgarian steel ribbed 30 rounders for $17 apiece. No such thing as too many mags in Massachusetts.

        • Every AR I own is built on Palmetto State Armory lowers, and a couple of them started out as PSA’s Freedom version uppers that I’ve later “tuned up” to my own liking. I love that company.

    • That’d be nice, but this is for EXPORTS, not IMPORTS. I don’t think anything is changing on the import front until it is specifically addressed elsewhere.

  4. So, vlad’s dad is a gunsmith in Ohio. Trump just did something that benefits vlad’s family by killing the gunsmith tax. Sweet. vlad will still lie about Trump. But i’ll be there in his face every time he does.

  5. I have a couple of SKS’s & a AK, like them all,,, AK is fun to shoot & one of my SKS’s has a archangel stock on it with a modified mag well for banana clips, don’t really like that one, but the stock SKS makes a great deer rifle, accurate & reaches out there… every time I shoot the stock SKS I get flashbacks (From the sound) to my military experiences…

    • I got a cousin in KY. He gets his deer every year with a bone stock sks, bayonet and all. The last time I checked it was the only center fire rifle he owns.

  6. We American PotG ought to think about this change; and, about taking it farther.

    What I write might seem, at first, to be merely altruistic. Nevertheless, if you bother to think it through you will see that it is fundamentally self-serving.

    We like to claim that the 2A merely guarantees a God-given or “natural” right. If we were honest, we would read the text and recognize that it is nationalist. The guarantee of the right-to-arms is reserved exclusively to “the People”. If you are an alien (and not a green card holder) you have NO guarantee of right-to-arms.

    Strikes me as racist; or, at least, nationalist. We don’t – apparently – care about ALL God’s children; only those who are Americans. Isn’t that selfish? Ought we not to take a moment to question our position on this policy? Shouldn’t we think about where it leads?

    Take, just as an example, God’s Venezuelan children. Don’t they have the same God-given natural right to arms? Shouldn’t they have the means to throw-off the government that is starving them to death?

    Franklin Roosevelt spoke of America as the “arsenal of democracy”. If we fancy ourselves in that role then why shouldn’t we sell arms – without restrictions – to Venezuelan citizens? Or, to intermediaries who could deliver them to the Venezuelans?

    Extend this single example to any other nation of the world.

    Politicians and bureaucrats fancy themselves as competent to pick the “good guys” from the “bad guys”. Arming Syrians is an extraordinarily illuminating case of the futility of attempting this fool’s errand.

    In Iraq US forces left arsenals in the hands of the Iraq government only to see these arms fall into the hands of ISIS.

    A recent history of the Winchester arms company recounts the (amusing) story of its salesmen taking orders from both the recognized government and Benito Juarez’s rebellious forces. Selling guns to both sides! America, at that enlightened time, wasn’t trying to distinguish the white sombreros from the black. Why should it have attempted to do so? Benito Juarez won and is now regarded with saintly praise by Mexicans. Should we have – instead – licensed arms exports only to the recognized (French-backed) government of Emperor Maximilian?

    When America attempts to pick sides, and back only the forces of governments it recognizes, the inevitable consequences are obvious. American forces get sucked-into the foreign conflicts. That might be all very well for the politicians and bureaucrats; but only if they had a track record of picking the white hats and the white hats won.

    That doesn’t seem to have been the case with any level of consistency. Syria, Iraq, Libya, . . . Viet Nam. It’s hard to think of this policy having had much success; most of which were small and short skirmishes such as Grenada, Panama, Kuwait.

    Just how much arms export regulation do we – the American PotG – think we want our elected and hired government officers to exert? One way of getting at this (export) question is to ask ourselves how much regulation do we want them to impose on our domestic commerce in arms?

    If we think we would get by just fine with minimal domestic commerce arms regulation, why would we want much more on export commerce?

    Do we really think that if an American couldn’t sell a gun to a fellow with a foreign accent that that fellow wouldn’t find a willing seller elsewhere in the world?

    If the American government licenses the sale to that fellow with the foreign accent then doesn’t it have to admit some responsibility if he behaves irresponsibly with it? What’s our objective in licensing? So that he will buy an AK-47 from some Russian or Asian seller and then America doesn’t have to acknowledge that we sold him the gun?

    What if American policy were to make no distinction between citizen vs non-citizen gun buyers? Wouldn’t foreign buyers – with good or evil intentions – have access to the “arsenal of democracy” as well as the other arsenals of tyranny and oppression? Would the oppressed peoples of the world really be any worse off? Or, might they be better off?

    How many American Marines, soldiers and airmen would be able to stay in their home barracks if we didn’t license arms exports? How many billions (or do we now count in trillions) might we save if we made fewer attempts to police the oppressed nations of the world?

    If we are to be intellectually consistent, don’t we have to answer questions such as the foregoing? And, if we did so, wouldn’t the implications lead to a loosening of the regulation of arms in the domestic market as well as foreign?

    Personally, I’m all in favor of enforcing felon-in-possession laws. But doing so requires only enforcement AFTER the point-of-sale. Whenever the felon is discovered with his gun – at any time AFTER he walks out of the gun store through the point of being arrested for a violent crime. It isn’t really necessary – or effective – to enlist the gun-shop salesman into being a government enforcement agent.

  7. The changes are almost certain to provoke resistance from some Democratic lawmakers, who fear that lighter regulation will lead to a proliferation of American guns, including AR-15s and similar semiautomatic rifles frequently used in mass shootings, around the world and exacerbate illegal arms trafficking. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has such strong concerns that he plans to place a hold on the new rule — a step that his staff believes could effectively bar it being carried out for a period of time to allow for negotiations over his objections.

  8. Thanks you President Trump. I’m still mad about the Bump Stock ban. But there was also no pushback from the “gun community”. The community is not telling the truth about wanting a repeal of the NFA.
    There is just too much money in the real machine gun buying and selling business. A trained Bump stock user can be very effective. And millions of them in the hands of law abiding poor citizens is just too much for the “Gun Snobs” to handle.

    The president would have gotten more done if the Moral degenerates like Paul Ryan. were not running the House. And Libertarians moral Degenerates like Jeff Flake. Who never introduced any pro gun civil rights legislation in the Senate.

  9. Another piece of Obama garbage down the drain? Good to see, though I suspect that there remains work to be done

  10. If Trump can still run unchecked for the next 4 years, the Constitution will become worth nothing more than TP. He will do as he pleases, while lying to his following masses that are still hoping for some conspiracy theory. It’s then when there are no laws to be followed that the 2nd amendment will fall, as he writes the future as he see’s fit for his own needs.

  11. ” the 2nd amendment will fall ”

    The second amendment is not going to fall, and we are seeing that in VA right now. A lot of people seem to think the words on the paper are everything when they are not. It’s great and wonderful that the words are on the paper, but the second amendment is also an idea. Do what they will with the words on paper, an idea is an awfully hard thing to kill. As long as the idea of the 2A is alive and well, then so is the 2A, regardless of what it says on the paper.


    -Ignores repeal of mental health gun restrictions.
    -ignores repeal of federal land ban on ammunition
    -ignores failure to move on red flag laws
    -ignores public support of PA carry
    -ignores this headline
    -ignores THE GODDAMN FACT HE DIDN’T BAN BUMPSTOCKS. Literally DID NOT DO IT. No law was passed by congress. No executive order was passed by trump. At all. EVER. Pull your head out of your arse and stop being an never frumpier internet meme.

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