TTAG Exclusive: NSSF’s Court Actions Fight for Industry and Consumers

3d gun plans blue print

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

By Larry Keane

After a decade-long effort led by NSSF, the transfer of export licensing of sporting and commercial firearm and ammunition products to the Commerce Department from the State Department is now completed. The “Export Control Reform” (ECR) initiative, as it is known, benefits not just major manufacturers. The long-sought reforms are a win for gun owners and hobbyists as well. For example, annual State Department registration fees for gunsmiths who don’t manufacturer firearms and never exported firearms are eliminated, saving small business owners $2,250 each year.

Twenty-three state attorneys general, made of up some of the most ardent gun control supporters, filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration from completing the ECR initiative. They asked a federal judge to enjoin the final ECR rules from going into effect. They seized on the issue of 3D printing as a red herring. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) intervened in the case and won, a victory for the industry and the customers it services, both domestically and overseas.

Yet, Carl Bussjaeger of wrote in The Truth About Guns, the NSSF as the industry’s trade association was throwing gun owners under the bus. His contention is NSSF didn’t fall on the sword and throw out more than a decade’s worth of work to expand markets for U.S.-based manufacturers. Bussjaeger offered half-hearted explanations of what the reforms do, what the case is about and what’s ahead.

TTAG readers deserve better, so here’s the truth.

They Fought Against All Guns

NSSF intervened in the case to keep 23 activist and gun control-loving state attorneys general from derailing export reforms that were begun more than a decade ago. The Obama administration started the reforms for our industry’s products, but purposefully left them unfinished for obvious political reasons.

The Trump administration worked diligently to move forward with completing the ECR rules for our industry. They were challenged at every turn, including last-minute red-herring arguments by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) that rules to transfer export licensing and control to the Commerce Department would allow overseas unfettered access to 3D printing data files. On January 23rd, the Trump Administration pressed forward and published the final rules which were set to go into effect on March 9th.

The 23 states attorneys general immediately filed suit in federal court seeking to have the court block the Trump Administration’s final ECR rules from taking effect in their entirety. They seized on the same misinformed arguments concerning 3D printing to stop the ECR in its entirety. The Brady Center was quick to file an amicus brief supporting the state attorneys general effort. The NSSF alone intervened in the case to ensure that the long sought-after ECR rules would not be stopped.

We simply argued that, if the state attorneys general were entitled at this point in the case to a preliminary injunction, it should be limited to just the unresolved issues surrounding 3D printing technology and that the final ECR rules – representing 99% of the rules – should be permitted to go into effect. We succeeded. The antigun state attorney’s generals lost. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

Strong Industry, Stronger Rights

Today, U.S.-based manufacturers are more evenly matched against their overseas competitors. Senators who lead the gun control charge on Capitol Hill can no longer hold up contracts that exceed $1 million just because they don’t like guns. Gunsmiths no longer must pay a punitive $2,250 annual fee just to be in business, even though they don’t make or export guns.

The winner is the factory worker. The firearms industry supports more than 311,000 jobs across the country, paying those workers an average of $50,400. The firearm and ammunition industry make a $52 billion economic impact, paying local, state and federal taxes. The industry pays the Pittman-Robertson excise tax, more than $12.5 billion since 1937.

The effect of this effort is the industry can grow. Some estimates put that potential as high as 20 percent increase in export sales when U.S. manufacturers are now allowed to compete evenly in foreign markets.

The Technology for 3D Printing Firearms

The case is not over. The court only issued a preliminary injunction. It is important to understand that the case is now about whether the Administration properly issued the final ECR rules under the law.

The two federal statutes (Arms Export Control Act and Export Control Reform Act) that are the basis for the final ECR rules are intended to regulate the export of products and related technical data. Nothing in these statutes or final rules bars anyone from manufacturing a 3D printed firearm.

Domestically, 3D printing is legal and regulated by the Undetectable Firearms Act and state law in a handful of states. There are also important unresolved First Amendment issues that have yet to be litigated in this case. NSSF has consistently worked to dispel myths and falsehoods about 3D printing that spew from antigun politicians and gun control groups.

Bussjaeger should understand what Sen. Menendez knows and fears. A strong and competitive firearm and ammunition industry is good for American gun owners, American gun rights and American gun business.

 

Lawrence G. Keane is the Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm and ammunition trade association.

 

 

comments

  1. avatar GS650G says:

    Some proofreading and spell check would go a long way.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      I think proof reading has become a lost art.

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    3. avatar Nero "...diction, not grammar..." Wolfe says:

      Strunk has been rolling over in his grave for some time.

  2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    and they will say trump is allowing for more dead civilians worldwide.

  3. avatar Sam I Am says:

    The NSSF article is thin gruel, at best. The statement is pretty vague as to what, specifically, gun owners gained, or at least didn’t lose. Best guess is the article is a summary of a summary. NSSF claims Bussjaeger was in error, but does not explain the error vs. the actual decision (and/or how NSSF put to rest Bussjaeger’s claims).

    OTOH, maybe NSSF knows we don’t really have the attention span to warrant a detailed (other than the removal of an onerous gunsmith fee) analysis of what the unfinished case actually accomplished, and just what the unfinished portion of the case means for industry, and gun owners individually.

  4. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Honestly small town gunsmiths gained a LOT. Have you ever seen what ITAR restrictions kept them from doing? It’s insane. This article does it absolutely zero justice and is some boilerplate.

    In turn the customer will gain a lot. It will take some time for those gains to materialize but it should help more gunsmiths get into business and stay in business. This is a long game hit and is really good at a time that the government (state and federal) want to try and mess with smaller people in the gun industry. Not only that but the services they can offer will expand as well. Look at the rules:

    On July 22, 2016, the State Department issued new policy guidance (the “Policy Guidance”) regarding the requirement for gunsmiths and others involved in the firearms industry to register with the State Department under Part 122. According to the Policy Guidance, the following activities constitute “manufacturing” and parties that engage in such activities are required to register under ITAR §122.1:

    (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.

    A gunsmith trying to get into the industry couldn’t thread a muzzle break or chamber a barrel without being subject to ITAR.

  5. avatar Debbie W. says:

    What are those stick in the mud anti gun zealots good for? Absolutely Nothing.

  6. avatar Biatec says:

    Larry Keane you are an anti Constitution big government Tyranny lover. Shove it. You push gun control all the time. Remember fix nics?

  7. avatar Prndll says:

    This is the gun industry equivalent of downloading MP3 music over P2P or Bit Torrent.

    There is a serious gap in understanding. Yes, there are laws. But you don’t give a teenager the keys to the car and then tell him he can’t drive it.

    The technology is out there. Firearms so simple in the way they work that the average mind can pick it up without much issue.

    Rather than Washington having a proverbial cow, let’s temper younger potential printers with a little respect for the gun so they blow their hand off.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      It was a prior administration that had a proverbial cow because the files for 3D printing can be transmitted anywhere in the world via the internet. The prior admin sought to shoot down the main producer/poster of these files, who defended on a First Amendment basis.When the feds finally caved, these states’ attorneys general filed their own suits to stop the practice, and when the current administration sought to reverse the rules of the prior administration, they sued the Trump administration to stop the implementation of the rules specifically as to 3D printers and files, but not the rest. NSSF intervened, and the court agreed to allow ALL the rules EXCEPT FOR those pertaining to 3d printing to take effect, since NO ONE was complaining about them, and there was no reason to have them tied up in the court case.

      The battle as to 3D printing is not lost, it is still pending and unresolved. No one has caved on this issue.

      1. avatar Prndll says:

        I never said anything about any particular administration. This is about Washington lawmakers. It’s the same mentality that is why do few over there understand Trump. They all live in their own little world.

  8. avatar Darkman says:

    FEAR is the only true motivator. Fear From…Fear Of. An Enemy that does not Fear it’s opponent. Cannot be Trusted or Controlled. The Enemies of the 2nd A. Do Not Fear those Who Support It. As the British did not Fear the Founding Patriots. Politicians may vote…Courts may decide. None of that means anything. When the Enemy Fears Not. Those they consider subjects. Be Safe in These Times of Great Strife…and as always…Keep Your Powder Dry.

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    I bet theresa has skills not safe for children.

  10. avatar Will Drider says:

    Gentlemen Authors: Pistols at 10 paces, Dawn Friday?

  11. avatar william lucas says:

    great win for the 2 nd Aed.

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