A couple of weeks ago, the Obama administration, as they are wont to do, unilaterally issued new regulations redefining what it means to be “engaged in the business” of firearms manufacturing under the ITAR treaty. The long and short of it: the new interpretation, if enforced, would drastically broaden the law, increasing the number of gunsmiths and others who would be required to register with the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).
In case you’re wondering, it makes no difference at all whether a business or individual has never made a new firearm or exported one (let alone intends to). And in addition to the amount of paperwork involved, there’s a significant chunk of cash required. Businesses have to pay a $2,250 registration fee.
For those who are considering complying with the new regs, reader John D. has helpfully put together a handy outline of what’s required.
U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) ITAR Registration Procedure for Gunsmiths
The U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) registration site provides most of the links a gunsmith will need to effect registration:
Registration procedure starts with electronic transfer of the $ 2,250.00 registration fee to the U.S. Treasury by FedWire or ACH:
Then you download and complete – except for signature – the DS-2032 ‘Statement of Registration’:
Then you have to get together your required supporting documentation and make digital copies. The documentation required includes your:
– Articles of incorporation (from Michigan LARA)
– or DBA (from county clerk)
– or LLC partnership agreement (from Michigan LARA)
– FedWire or ACH electronic payment confirmation (copy of the confirmation from your bank)
– Organizational chart for multiple subsidiary/location entities
Then you print your DS-2032, manually sign it, and scan the signed DS-2032 into .pdf format.
Finally you go to DDTC’s DTAS-Online EFS, create a file, and upload your documents:
There is a specific upload order required:
– First, attach the unsigned digital version of the DS-2032. You will receive an ‘Error 21’ screen message if you try to upload your signed, scanned .pdf version of the DS-2032 first.
– Second, attach support documentation. Based on the selections in Block 12 (‘Statement of Registration: Additional Supporting Documentation’) of the unsigned DS-2032, EFS will highlight (in red) most of the documents that must be uploaded with your registration package. Upload the correct document at the appropriate time.
– Third, select ‘Other Amplifying Data’ to upload the copy of your Federal Firearms License.
– Fourth, upload the signed .pdf copy of the DS-2032.
– Fifth, click on the ‘submit’ button.
After successfully submitting your registration package, an ‘Electronic Forms Submission Receipt’ containing a transaction number will be displayed on your screen. Save this confirmation as proof of submission. You are now registered. DDTC has a 45 day review period, but you are properly registered unless your application has a technical mistake or a misstatement of fact.
The only good news to this process is that you cannot be rejected for any cause other than failing to follow these steps or misstating facts in your submission. DDTC has no discretion to reject your registration application for any other reason.
Once you are in the system, DDTC will notify you 60 days before the annual expiration of your registration that it is time to renew.
Reporting under ITAR is transactional, not periodic. As a manufacturer you will probably not file any reports. ITAR was actually developed to control exports and exporters have extensive reporting requirements. Now that gunsmiths are considered manufacturers, DDTC may demand further reports so periodically check their Federal Register Notices page:
You are required to maintain and make available to various Federal authorities records under 22 CFR 122.5, but your BATFE required records probably suffice. DDTC has not yet indicated whether BATFE records required under GCA of 1968 are sufficient. Here is a link to 22 CFR 122.5:
122.5 Maintenance of records by registrants.
(a) A person who is required to register must maintain records concerning the manufacture, acquisition and disposition (to include copies of all documentation on exports using exemptions and applications and licenses and their related documentation), of defense articles; of technical data; the provision of defense services; brokering activities; and information on political contributions, fees, or commissions furnished or obtained, as required by part 130 of this subchapter. Records in an electronic format must be maintained using a process or system capable of reproducing all records on paper. Such records when displayed on a viewer, monitor, or reproduced on paper, must exhibit a high degree of legibility and readability. (For the purpose of this section, “legible” and “legibility” mean the quality of a letter or numeral that enables the observer to identify it positively and quickly to the exclusion of all other letters or numerals. “Readable” and “readability” means the quality of a group of letters or numerals being recognized as complete words or numbers.) This information must be stored in such a manner that none of it may be altered once it is initially recorded without recording all changes, who made them, and when they were made. For processes or systems based on the storage of digital images, the process or system must afford accessibility to all digital images in the records being maintained. All records subject to this section must be maintained for a period of five years from the expiration of the license or other approval, to include exports using an exemption (see §123.26 of this subchapter); or, from the date of the transaction (e.g., expired licenses or other approvals relevant to the export transaction using an exemption). The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Trade Controls and the Director of the Office of Defense Trade Controls Licensing may prescribe a longer or shorter period in individual cases.
(b) Records maintained under this section shall be available at all times for inspection and copying by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls or a person designated by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (e.g., the Diplomatic Security Service) or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Upon such request, the person maintaining the records must furnish the records, the equipment, and if necessary, knowledgeable personnel for locating, reading, and reproducing any record that is required to be maintained in accordance with this section.
[70 FR 50959, Aug. 29, 2005, as amended at 79 FR 8084, Feb. 11, 2014]