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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’:…/DS2032v43.pdf

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:…#se22.1.122_13

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]

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  1. I have very liberal friends who voted for Obama twice, even they are sick of his dictates via executive order. This man is a wannabe tyrant.

  2. I’ve already contacted my state reps several times, ITAR needs to be done away with completely. It doesn’t matter if there are a few terms included that might be somewhat helpful. ITAR is essentially a TAX on the U.S. citizenry to protect foreigners. It’s like Planned Parenthood that can’t seem to make enough money selling dead babies for food, and big-tobacco suit settlements to keep their doors open, if State can’t float their evil with their illegal activity, go fundraise overseas. Poop to that.

  3. For those who are considering complying with the new regs,

    I am not a gunsmith. However, if I were, I would not be interested in this information. I would not be interested in compliance.

    • “For those who are considering complying…”

      I thought that was an excellent choice of words too.

    • It could be part of it, but its real purpose is to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible to do *anything* in regards to firearms.

      I’m convinced that barrels and uppers will soon be considered firearms in their own right and dealt with accordingly…

      • EVERY piece of the gun will be a “Gun”. Trigger, roll pins, springs, ball detents, screw, et al.
        Once Hillary takes over, all Modern Sporting Rifles and their “parts” will be rounded up.
        You will have to go to Britain to shoot a straight pull AR, won’t be allowed here. No military looking appearance will be allowed. Australian-style means Australian style.

    • It will be *far* easier for you to do this compared to Dyspeptic, for example.

      The folks like the people who helped you assemble that Kandahar Pass AK have the most to fear…

  4. Yeah… Good luck enforcing that. You’re having a hard enough time enforcing the “gunsmiths must have an FFL” bullshit.

    • Of course it is, we will have to line the Clinton’s pockets even past their pull date, which will hopefully be soon.

  5. I am sure my local gunsmith, who can’t even use a computer, will be all over this. The guy is so old school he doesn’t even take credit cards (but does accept personal checks).

  6. Directorate of Trade Controls. Sounds like something from an Orwell novel or The Man in the High Castle.

    In my opinion there is no place in a “government of the people” for anything called a “Directorate.”

    • Old State Department Office of Munitions Control became Directorate of Defense Trade Controls in a blatant ploy to increase salary of its head. ‘Director’ is a very well remunerated ‘Supergrade’ position, ‘Chief’ is not. Also allowed subordinates at DDTC to assume supergrade ‘Director’ positions.

  7. Whomever shows up to enforce this had better be either bulletproof or have death benefits for their immediate family. Not going to abide tyrannical bureaucracy or its agents.

  8. IMHO, this has much less to do with professional gunsmiths, than with everyone who builds guns, particularly AR/AK rifles, & even more particularly using 80% lowers or 3D tech or GhostGunner-type CAM. Watch & see if they don’t target some people who build their own rifles at home for prosecution (or more correctly, persecution). They will use this to try to chill home-built weapons to the point the industry supporting it fails.

    The only response to this is to either start building your own, or increase the amount you build! Send a clear message via your actions that we will not comply. Maybe even organize a public build party at some select locations, like the US Capitol lawn!
    Molon Labe!

  9. This is a tactic used to shut down shops. I worked for a manufacturer, an 07 ffl, these fees and taxes are nothing. They don’t stop. They still tax each firearm made after a point. I stopped reading after viewing half the requirements. Do this do that stand on your head with both hands tickling your balls. It doesn’t stop. Gotta love how complicated government wants life to be.

    As for compliance, please just pay it. For now the people need stores and manufacturers. America needs guns. Putting the gun businesses out of business is their goal. Allowing a tax like itar without representation, allowing law suits on manufacturers cause people can’t take accountability. This shit has got to stop.

    • Oh, we are way past over reach. We were there a few decades ago when the government took it upon themselves to fine you a penalty for not wearing your seatbelt.

      While it is all well and good to require manufacturers to install seat belts the government took it upon itself to punish the end user for not using a safety harness regardless of whether the individual cared if he was ejected from a vehicle following a collision. That is over reach.

  10. An “Executive order guideline” does not, i repeat DOES NOT CARRY THE FORCE OF LAW.

    This whole thing is an elaborate scare tactic. He’s giving his personal opinion on how he wants other agencies to operate.

    Now, if the ATF comes out tommorow with a new policy that mimics this, THEN we’d have something to worry about.

    Remember, this is all about him looking like he’s trying to #dosomething.

      • I believe prosecutions are handled by the DOJ, and to those intent on noncompliance, you should be aware that these are felonies. This is why Defense Distributed sued about a Dept. of State regulation that would have seemingly imposed ITAR requirements (and more importantly penalties) on internet discussions of guns and gun designs. (Yes, ITAR applies to a lot of stuff that goes on the internet, including apps and encryption programs, because they can be accessed anywhere in the world.) I am pretty sure he won in the trial court, but beyond that I don’t know the status.

    • Primary enforcement of ITAR within the USA is vested in the Department of Homeland Security. Specifically ICE & C&BP. Obama had to find them something to do in the age of legal illegal immigration. State’s Diplomatic Security Service enforces ITAR overseas.

      BATFE’s only current function here is to rat out gunsmiths from their FFL database. You can bet that you will have to provide your ITAR registration to get your gunsmith’s FFL renewed in the future, however.

  11. So if I am working on getting my FFL and eventually want to get parts from suppliers and build AR15s for sale, would I need to do this? Not planning on doing any smithing, unless you consider building an AR15 gunsmith work.

    • Yes, at that point you would be wiser to just register as a basic level manufacturer. Plus it’s more fun than being an 01. Lol.

  12. So, the State Department has a “directorate” to administer intetnal, U S commerce and manufacturing? (Kinda like State had to sign off on *internal* and *environmantal* implications of that pipeline our ally & trading partner we sbare a border with wanted so much.)

    We gotta do this internally, because of a greaty. Regulation by other means, much?

    And now we have an(other) example of why every damn fed agency needs tooled up quasi-military enforcers. To enforce their regs.

    One wonders if banning by other means is the point, or just a side benefit of creeping international regulation without benefit of election of the overlords, or due process for the proles. Either way, of course this was irresistable – it’s a two-fer.

  13. SCOTUS recently ruled that Texas was making abortion too difficult by making clinics go through the same registration as hospitals. Isn’t this the same thing? A right that is being made to difficult to exercise?

    That is my biggest issue with SCOTUS they do not rule consistently with their own ideas. They use different standards based on if they like the outcome or not and not on the constitutionality of law.

    Trump 2016

    • Well the SCOTUS hasn’t addressed this specific issue right now, but I am sure would uphold it at the moment, as when Trump loses, Hillary will appoint a left-wing justice and/or it would be a 4-4 split and the law would remain standing as a result.

      • And that is the problem. SCOTUS judges are not to be left wing or right. That is an activist judge, they are not to be political. But it has become acceptable for judges on our court to be politically motivated. After Ruth B G, I lost what faith I had left. People worry about congresses bipartisan, but not nearly enough about what has happened to our court. They might as well be elected at this point.

  14. Look. This is mostly about 80% lowers. They r trying to make it illegal. Lord knows those “ghost guns” are so easy to make. If they r trying to go after the people who build AR’S for personal use with a serialized reciever, I already have my defense. I am taking a Lego set into court and building it and then asking the judge if I manufactured the Legos. Just saying.

    • This is certainly one goal. Note that 22 CFR 122.1 requires registration for only a single instance of manufacturing and ITAR case law confirms this. So this XO ends the unfettered completion of 80% lowers permitted by the Gun Control Act of 1968. And it creates recordkeeping requirements for those who complete 80% lowers. Multiple felonies if you ignore this XO

  15. I this group of jackbooted (stripy pants) thugs need about 2million incomplete “DS-2032” applications to process (without a wiretransfer of $).

    “Shall not be infringed” is just so hard to understand.

  16. Only congress can pass laws and taxes. This is in the Constitution. When are we going to fight these despots and tar and feather them. Run them out of Washington on a literal rail.

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