Obama Administration Releases Latest Executive Gun Control

Barack Obama

It seems the closer we get to President Obama departure from the White House, the more brazen he is getting with his gun control agenda. The administration’s latest action targets small manufacturers and gunsmiths—the heart of the firearms small business community. But make no mistake; an attack on one has a ripple effect and is an attack on us all. Here is the full release from the NRA-ILA: NRA-ILA logo On Friday, July 22, just as members of his party were gathering in Philadelphia to coronate Hillary Clinton as their presidential nominee, the Obama Administration once again released a sweeping gun control measure by executive fiat. This time the bad news came via the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is primarily responsible for administering the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and its implementing rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The upshot is that DDTC is labeling commercial gunsmiths as “manufacturers” for performing relatively simple work such as threading a barrel or fabricating a small custom part for an older firearm. Under the AECA, “manufacturers” are required to register with DDTC at significant expense or risk onerous criminal penalties.

As with prior executive actions on guns, the administration released its dictate suddenly and without advance warning to or prior input from affected businesses, completely bypassing the normal formalities associated with a significant rulemaking. The guidance is also likely to result in more confusion than clarity and may significantly chill heretofore legal conduct associated with gunsmithing.

By way of background, the AECA and ITAR concern rules by which military materiel is exported from, and imported to, the United States. The so-called “defense articles” governed by the AECA/ITAR are compiled in what is known as the U.S. Munitions List and include some, but not all, firearms and ammunition, as well as their parts and components. Thus, for purposes of the regime, a spring or floorplate from the magazine of a controlled firearm is subject to the same regulatory framework as the firearm itself.

Barack Obama
As promised, President Obama is no longer relying on his phone, and enacting gun control with his pen through executive action.
The AECA/ITAR require anybody who engages in the business of “manufacturing” a defense article to register with DDTC and pay a registration fee that for new applicants is currently $2,250 per year. These requirements apply, even if the business does not, and does not intend to, export any defense article. Moreover, under ITAR, “only one occasion of manufacturing … a defense article” is necessary for a commercial entity to be considered “engaged in the business” and therefore subject to the regime’s requirements.

Adding to the confusion, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and its amendments (GCA) also regulate firearm manufacturing, importing, and exporting. Both of the laws also use the same or similar terms but apply them in different ways. Thus, what triggers the legal requirement for an entity to be registered as a “manufacturer” under the AECA/ITAR may or may not also bring that entity within the scope of the GCA, and vice versa.

DDTC’s new “guidance” only makes this situation worse by coming up with a confusing and counterintuitive list of activities that it considers “gunsmithing” versus “manufacturing” (despite the fact that it insists it relies on the “ordinary, contemporary, common meaning” of those terms).

For example, DDTC generally labels procedures that involve cutting, drilling, or machining of an existing firearm in order to improve its accuracy or operation or to change its caliber as “manufacturing,” even if they do not create a new and distinct firearm. This includes threading a muzzle for a muzzle brake or blueprinting that requires machining of a barrel.

On the other hand, DDTC contends that gunsmithing includes only very simple procedures, such as the one-for-one drop-in replacement of parts that do not require cutting, drilling, or machining for installation. But even then, if the parts “improve the accuracy, caliber, or other aspects of firearm operation,” “manufacturing” may occur. Finishing treatments for firearms generally are not considered manufacturing under the guidance, nor are cosmetic flourishes such as engraving. Meanwhile the mounting of a scope that involves the machining of new dovetails or the drilling and tapping of holes may or not be “manufacturing,” depending on whether the scope improves the accuracy of the firearm beyond its prior configuration.

Second Amendment
It seems the government only wants to pass laws to strip the weapons from honest gun owners. I have yet to hear of a single law being proposed that seeks to remove guns from the hands of criminals. Have you?
For those who are confused by the guidance, DDTC offers the option of requesting an advisory opinion through the agency. The regulation providing for such opinions, however, states they “are not binding on the Department of State, and may not be used in future matters before the Department.” Moreover, the request involves typical bureaucratic hoops to negotiate, including providing both an original and seven copies of the request and supporting information in hardcopy form.

DDTC’s move appears aimed at expanding the regulatory sweep of the AECA/ITAR and culling many smaller commercial gunsmithing operations that do not have the means to pay the annual registration fee or the sophistication to negotiate DDTC’s confusing maze of bureaucracy. Like ATF’s early “guidance” this year on the GCA’s licensing requirement for firearm “dealers,” it is also likely to have a significant chilling effect on activity that would not even be considered regulated.

The administration’s latest move serves as a timely reminder of how the politicized and arrogant abuse of executive power can be used to suppress Second Amendment rights and curtail lawful firearm-related commerce. That lesson should not be forgotten when voters go to the polls this November.

What’s next? What else do you think the President will do to assault the Second Amendment before he leaves office? Share you thoughts and opinions in the comment section.


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Comments (80)

  1. Yeah, the biggest two issues here are drop in parts that require fitting (cutting, drill, or machining) and any drop in part that “improves the accuracy, caliber or other aspect of firearm operation” will now require ITAR compliance. That means even something as simple as a GHOST trigger in a Glock requires registration and compliance because it changes the firearm from its stock configuration (other aspect of firearm operation). Its not just registration, it is compliance as well. So we will have to keep records of all ITAR regulated gunsmith operations and sales of regulated parts.

    This will significantly increase my gunsmith rates and parts costs to comply.

  2. It’s not necessarily related, but this is exactly what they’re doing to try to shut down the electronic cigarette industry for small businesses. After recent FDA regulations, making anything at all that is intended for use in anything related to vaping is now considered manufacturing a tobacco product that you must register with and pay a hefty fee to the FDA to sell it. This includes rolling a simple piece of metal wire into a coil, it’s now a tobacco product that you manufactured…. it’s utterly ridiculous.

    So I’m not surprised they’d go down this same route with firearms.

  3. Another small step to disarm the American citizenry, which is what the anti-gun liberals want so they can have complete control over us.All hose little steps will eventually add up…right out of Sal Awinsky’s handbook on creating a socialist country.

  4. Someone with the capability and the means needs to file suit against Obama foe using executive order to legislate (that’s a no-no). In fact, it’s time to hold ALL these anti-gun/2nd amendment responsible when they ignore the law in quest for their progressive liberal agenda. They are the enemies within mentioned in the 2nd amendment and need to be treated as such.

  5. And what are their options, crimial underground, pay the fn fees (knowing that it is only the launching of even more restrictions and fees in future); or say the hell with it as they are a small group and they know that iother than gun owners enmasse whining and crying is a useless group.

  6. These are dark times, indeed. The very act of USING a firearm creates wear which “alters” the parts. So basically:
    1. Loading or unloading
    2. Disassembly/reassembly
    3. Target practice
    4. Mounting an accessory
    5. Cleaning
    or really just about anything else will qualify us as “manufacturers”.

    This is truly the beginning of the end for the Second Ammendment

  7. Just read-three times—the Executive Order in question. You can, too! Just simply Google “executive order July 22, 2016”. Since Mr, Dolbee has not clarified which EO Number, that is all we have to go on, the date.

    Get back to me when you read into that EO that the President is going to snatch our guns out from under us, OK? Or perhaps it was a different EO, in which case I would like to read that one, too. EO Numbers, please?

  8. All of the openly unconstitutional and asinine moves of this administration have not only weakened this country in every way imaginable, they have also made America a laughingstock among world powers, as every world leader knows that we have a weak, milquetoast, non-entity of a Community organizer in chief. His naked power grabs and numerous losses in the Supreme Court merely serve to expose his weakness. The stupid move of a fraudulent POTUS who wants to call you a “manufacturer” if you install a scope on your rifle is just another bridge too far. Of COURSE a scope will make a rifle shoot better, but nothing that you can do will make a gun shoot any better than it was already capable of shooting. You can add a $10,000.00 scope and it may make it easier to shoot well but it doesn’t make that barrel, or that action, actually shoot any better than the day it left the factory. Of course ANY rational, thinking human being would have to admit that these are openly and thoughtlessly unconstitutional laws and hopefully they will be overturned just like dozens of Bozo’s atrocities have already been crushed by the Supreme Court. Unfortunately the left has a supportive gang of propaganda ministers who gladly run interference for their lawless acts. It was inevitable that this leftist, gun-grabbing dope-fiend of a fake POTUS would attempt to over-step his lawful authority many more times before he’s forced out of OUR White House. Obama or any other corrupt, commie loving fraud of a President would do well to never forget that he (or she) is NOTHING more than a temporary employee of the citizens of this country and, as so beautifully stated in our Constitution, we ALWAYS reserve the right to kick ANY low-rent POS politician out on their behinds if they think that they can overstep the lawful limits on the power of the executive branch. This lifelong commie is, by far, the worst POTUS that this country has ever had to endure. He has gone out of his way to make many things much worse, yet we still survive. Of course his insane spending binge and his DOUBLING of our national debt will curse our descendants for many generations to come. The absolute worst thing that could happen to this country would be for the idiot sheep out there to elect a lying POS in an ugly pants suit to replace a commie loving dope-fiend. If that lying harpy is elected, it may well spell the end of this country as a Constitutional Republic. Until then we STILL, IN FACT, have a Constitution and that document remains as the ultimate law of the land no matter what the leftist Communist party USA members would want. We MUST stand together to protect our lawful, God-given rights that are so clearly spelled out in our Constitution. If we don’t stand together and FORCE these corrupt lying politicians to obey the law, then we will ALL be crushed by the tyranny that already runs rampant in the District of Corruption. I thank GOD for groups like Judicial Watch that work to STOP ANY politician who thinks that they can ignore our laws. Judicial Watch has beaten the Obama administration several times in OUR Supreme Court and if we can get a conservative back in the White House we can stop much of the illegal madness that we’ve been forced to endure for the last 8 years.

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