Why the Government is Targeting Gunsmiths With Ridiculous Fees

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Rifle money

No government really wants an unrestricted, heavily armed population, least of all the United States government. They have been trying to hinder the Second Amendment in every which way they can for decades, sometimes successfully. They’re always trying to find a new angle that will allow them to chip away at our ability to own and operate firearms.

The latest angle comes courtesy of the Department of State, who last month decided to redefine gunsmithing as a “manufacturing” activity under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Essentially, gunsmiths will now have to register themselves as manufacturers under ITAR, regardless of whether or not they are considered manufacturers under the Gun Control Act of 1968. And once they’re registered, they’ll have to pay an annual fee of $2,250.

Of course, a gunsmith can avoid being called a manufacturer, if they’re willing to stop providing anything but the most basic of gunsmithing services. The new guidelines list several activities that are not considered manufacturing, such as “Occasional assembly of firearm parts and kits that do not require cutting, drilling, or machining,” and “Firearm repairs involving one-for-one drop-in replacement parts that do not require any cutting, drilling, or machining for installation.” So if you do anything more than change out a rifle barrel or replace a trigger group and the like, you’re a manufacturer.

Other guidelines are so vague, that it would be impossible for any gunsmith to know if they’re really a manufacturer.

The third activity is where the guidelines get strange: “Repairs involving replacement parts that do not improve the accuracy, caliber, or other aspects of firearm operation.” What is meant by these activities is confusing in several respects. While accuracy and “operation” of a firearm can be improved, improving caliber is subjective. Is a .45 an improvement over a 9 mm? Which is better between the 7.62×39 mm and the 300 Blackout? Maybe what is meant is any change in caliber, whether an improvement or not, but that is not what is stated…

…What changes to accuracy constitute manufacturing? Outside of barrel rifling, in most cases accuracy has more to do with the shooter, practice, and ammunition. Would sight replacement constitute manufacturing? Sights do not make the gun any more accurate, they only make it easier for the user to shoot more accurately…

…What are improvements “beyond its original capabilities? Would the addition of replacement night sights, fiber optic sights, red-dot sights, a scope, or a scope with greater magnification or better glass improve the accuracy or operation of the firearm? Again, sights and scopes do not affect the inherent accuracy of the gun, but they obviously improve the operation of the firearm.

This is so typical of a government bureaucracy. They love to make regulations confusing and vague, because these regulations have nothing to do with the safety or the well-being of the American people. They’re designed that way to make it easier for the government to oppress the American people. If the laws are numerous and vague, then technically everyone is a law-breaker. So if you do what the government tells you to, you’ll get a pass. If you don’t, the bureaucrats will always be able to find something to charge you with.

So this isn’t just about squeezing a few more dollars out of gunsmiths. They’re clearly trying set a precedent here, so that they may apply more onerous regulations in the future. It’s impossible to know what their endgame is, but if I were to guess, the government is trying to weed out smaller gunsmithing business, and in the future they’ll use more vague rules to weed out any gunsmiths that aren’t sufficiently pro-government.

After all, the last thing the government wants after they take away your guns, is a large population of angry and unemployed gunsmiths who know how to make guns.

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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .

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  • Joe2D2

    This is why you learn how to do your own work. This goes for just about everything else, as well. This would include, but not limited to, auto repair, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, drywall repair, basic carpentry, masonry, gardening, livestock husbandry and right on down the line. Not only will you save a lot of money now, but you’ll be able to survive later, in more ways than one.

    • FollowDaMoney

      Start young. Mentor a child. You don’t learn this stuff overnight.

    • I think I am the only male in my company that knows how to use power tools… it’s sickening.

      • Rey d’Tutto

        My partner knows. I’m trying to get the apprentice to stop fearing mechanical devices…. At least he can work on cars now.

  • enough is enough

    Repeat after me: I will not comply with SHIT! Grow some balls America!

  • Rayven Wrathchild

    Next they will attempt to seize or license lathes and mills!

    • Of course, that’s the very definition of Socialism!
      Capitalism: You own a cow. you milk the cow for consumption and sell the excess to your neighbor and buy feed. Eventually you make enough to buy a bull and breed them. Production goes up. Done.
      Socialism: they government takes your cow and gives you and your neighbor a small monthly allotment of milk in return for working in their milking parlor. If you refuse, they will cut off your allotment.
      Fascism: the government takes your cow and sells the milk back to you at drastically inflated prices to fund their invasion of the farm next door.

  • Elizabeth Greene

    One question on this: assembly of an 80% receiver certainly requires “cutting, drilling, or machining”. Could this be used to construct a claim against those individuals that finish their own 80% receivers?

    • that’s exactly what this law is aimed at. They don’t give a rats butt about multimilliondollar firms like Beretta paying a paltry $2500. this is to force you and I to register, pay, and comply… or go to jail.

      • Rey d’Tutto

        If I offer my experience and tools to teach the craft, is that a manufacturing job?
        They do all the work, on their own gear, but my tools, and my coaching.
        Sliding by, or I’m still fucked?

        • In my experience, I’d been ok doing something similar in the past (heres my drill press and a template for that “extra hole”, you do the drilling, etc) but in the current spirit of things, I assume “they” would try to make that into some sort of “accessory to a crime”, corrupting a minor, driving the getaway car etc.. At this point I think they could find a felony to fit anyone, so frankly I don’t care anymore.

  • SP_88

    A man should be able to repair or modify any machine or tool he owns. If you own a firearm, you should learn about gunsmithing. If you own a car, you should learn about auto mechanics, if you own a house, you should learn about plumbing, electrical, drywall, etc. And learn about it from reliable sources, not these backyard hacks who think they know something about something. There’s a lot of false information out there. And it can be difficult to weed out all the nonsense. So learn what you can and if you have kids, learn with them. Start something new. Go out and take your car apart and you and your kid/s can learn together how to put it back together.
    In any particular group of friends there are usually a variety of skills amongst them. It would be a good idea if you all took turns teaching your trade to everyone. It’s a good way to make sure that everyone has the skills they need to get another job in case something happens at their present job.
    There are a lot of good ideas out there, but the most important one is being able to prevent the government from infringing on our rights to begin with. If everyone took the time to fight against the government so they can’t get away with this obvious violation of our rights, we wouldn’t have to go crazy trying to learn how to do these things. The government needs to be stopped from doing this to us. They do not have the right to stop us from owning, manufacturing or modifying firearms. Period.
    These ITAR regulations have no jurisdiction over America or American citizens. And any politician who tries to use international law to override the United States Constitution is guilty of treason and should be immediately removed from office and put on trial for their crimes.
    It’s now or never people. Time is running out.

  • this is an end-run around having to make any law against home gunsmithing or manufacturing. This will directly apply to 80% receivers, for example. And they managed to do it without a peep of protest from.. anyone!
    screw it, if that’s the basis of this then I’m building F/A firearms from here on out. If I’m going to Leavenworth, its going to be for a damn good reason.

    • Rey d’Tutto

      Th firearm ownership and firearm count is way low.
      The transgressors will learn their folly.
      Molon Labe.