Another crippling regulation…its all about control.


GOP warns: State Dept. imposing ‘crippling’ rules on gunsmiths

By JOEL GEHRKE (@JOELMENTUM) • 8/30/16 10:58 AM

Secretary of State John Kerry’s new interpretation of a law governing the production and exportation of military materiel will have a “crippling” effect on small-time gunsmiths, congressional Republicans warned.

The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls issued “guidance” informing gunsmiths that they qualify as gun manufacturers under the International Traffic in Arms regulations, which require anyone “in the business of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing defense articles” to register with the State Department and pay a $2,250 fee. The mandate would have a “crippling fees and requirements” on gunsmiths, many of whom “make little to no income from their activities and often do it as a hobby or side business,” according to the lawmakers.

“For those who do this work on the side — perhaps developing a small cottage business to supplement their income — the last thing they need is an edict from the federal government imposing crippling fees and requirements which are wholly unnecessary and nonsensical,” Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., wrote in a letter signed by two dozen senators and more than 100 House members. The letter was sent Monday, but released Tuesday morning.

The State Department’s guidance argues that any specialized modifications which “improve the capability of a assembled or repaired firearms” qualify as manufacturing. The guidance provides a number of examples, from “the production of firearm parts” to the “threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation” as activities that would require registration under the Arms Export Control Act.

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“[The State Department’s] position is similar to claiming an auto mechanic who fixes or performs custom work on cars is a car manufacturer,” the lawmakers wrote. They asked Kerry to rescind the guidance by transferring responsibility for such rules to the Commerce Department as a part of an initiative that President Obama has already started.

“The very basis of that effort is the common sense notion that products essential to our national security, such as those intended only for military use, should be subject to the highest standards of security and oversight, while regulation of products with general commercial applications, such as common firearms, should not unnecessarily hinder American business and innovation,” they wrote. “Our constituents need clarity and this guidance does not accomplish that end. The situation must be rectified and we ask for your immediate attention.”

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