In a document labeled ‘Only for State internal use’ reviewed by NBC News, the U.S. Department of State is finally set to make regulatory changes to the International Traffic of Arms Regulations (ITAR) for small arms. The ITAR changes will ease the burden on the firearms industry by placing some common small arms, like semiautomatic rifles, under the control of the Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations (EAR) instead of the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List (USML).
Current regulations require firearms manufacturers to pay a minimum of $2,240 per year in ITAR fees even if they have no intention to export weapons outside of the United States. Under the proposed changes, fully automatic firearms and other weapons controlled by the National Firearms Act (NFA) will remain under the USML.
For smaller manufacturers, gunsmiths and other licensees, the regulatory changes mean that they will no longer be required to pay the minimum ITAR fee. The rule is apparently is only a few weeks away from being published in the Federal Register.
TFB has been monitoring this story since early 2018 and will provide our readers with additional analysis when the final rule changes take place. Stay tuned.
A copy of the new regulations, marked “Only for State internal use,” says that supervision for exports of any semi-automatic firearms that don’t use caseless ammunition will move from the State Department to the Commerce Department. The same applies to shotguns, other than those that are fully automatic.
Under the new rules, exporting guns will also cost less. Unlike the State Department, which charges an annual $2,240 fee for licenses to export firearms, the Commerce Department’s licensing process doesn’t require a fee.
The official said the changes would “significantly reduce the regulatory burden on the U.S. commercial firearms and ammunition industry, promote American exports, and clarify the regulatory requirements for independent gunsmiths, while at the same time prioritizing national security controls and continuing our ability to restrict exports where human rights, illicit trafficking, and related issues may be of concern.” – NBCNews.com
The Department of State (the Department) proposes to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Categories I (firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns), II (guns and armament) and III (ammunition and ordnance) of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles warranting export and temporary import control on the USML. Items removed from the USML would become subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
This proposed rule revises USML Category I, covering firearms and related articles, to control only defense articles that are inherently military or that are not otherwise widely available for commercial sale. In particular, the revised category will not include non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms to caliber .50 (12.7mm) inclusive, currently controlled under paragraph (a), and all of the parts, components, accessories, and attachments specially designed for those articles. Such items will be subject to the new controls in Export Control Classification Numbers 0A501, 0A502, 0A503, 0A504, 0A505, 0B501, 0B505, 0D501, 0D505, 0E501, and 0E502. Such controls in Category 0 of the CCL will be published in a separate rule by the Department of Commerce.
Paragraph (a) of USML Category I will cover firearms that fire caseless ammunition. Paragraph (b) will continue to cover fully automatic firearms to caliber .50 (12.7mm) inclusive. Paragraph (c) will cover firearms specially designed to integrate fire control, automatic tracking, or automatic firing systems, and all weapons previously described in paragraph (c) that remain on the USML will be covered by paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of this category or by Category II. Paragraph (d) will cover fully automatic shotguns. Paragraph (e) will continue to cover silencers, mufflers, sound suppressors, and specially designed parts and components; flash suppressors will be subject to the EAR. Paragraph (f) will be reserved, as riflescopes and other firearms sighting devices may be controlled in USML Category XII if they have night vison or infrared capabilities, and other riflescopes will be subject to the EAR. Paragraph (g) will continue to cover barrels, receivers (frames), bolts, bolt carriers, slides, or sears, specially designed for the firearms in Category I. Paragraph (h) will cover high capacity (greater than 50 rounds) magazines, and parts and components to convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm, and accessories or attachments specially designed to automatically stabilize aim (other than gun rests) or for automatic targeting. Paragraph (i) will continue to cover the technical data and defense services.
Thanks to Renegade for the tip!