The executive order gives new authority to the State Department’s Directorate of Defense trade Controls, which oversees International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the underlying Arms Export Control Act (AECA).
From the State Department: “Any person who engages in the United States in the business of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing defense articles, or furnishing defense services, is required to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls … For the purpose of this subchapter, engaging in such a business requires only one occasion of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing a defense article or furnishing a defense service. A manufacturer who does not engage in exporting must nevertheless register.”
According to the presidential directive http://pmddtc.state.gov/compliance/Applicability%20of%20the%20ITAR%20Registration%20Requirement%20to%20Firearms%20Manufacturers%20(Publish).pdf, firearm modifications that do not require “drilling, cutting, or machining” are not affected by the new rules.
But a commercial gunsmith who makes just one modification on the list of activities the government believes improves “the accuracy, caliber, or operation” of a firearm is subject to the new rules.
Examples of included gunsmithing activities include:
- Use of any special tooling or equipment upgrading in order to improve the capability of assembled or repaired firearms;
- Modifications to a firearm that change round capacity;
- The production of firearm parts (including, but not limited to, barrels, stocks, cylinders, breech mechanisms, triggers, silencers, or suppressors);
- The systemized production of ammunition, including the automated loading or reloading of ammunition;
- The machining or cutting of firearms, e.g., threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation requiring machining, that results in an enhanced capability;
- Rechambering firearms through machining, cutting, or drilling;
- Chambering, cutting, or threading barrel blanks; and
- Blueprinting firearms by machining the barrel.
Any of those activities would require registration with the government and an annual $2,250 fee.
The National Rifle Association notes that the rules are needlessly confusing for a reason.
“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,” the 2nd Amendment group said.