Why the Government is Targeting Gunsmiths With Ridiculous Fees

gunsmith feesBy Joshua Krause

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 State Department, 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.

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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.

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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 businesses, 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.

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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4 Comments on "Why the Government is Targeting Gunsmiths With Ridiculous Fees"

  1. Bill the eighth | August 9, 2016 at 11:02 am | Reply

    We are not party to the ITAR, it has not been approved by the senate and it is unconstitutional anyway, the State department has no law making authority, so this is just so much BS.

  2. Since most gunsmiths don’t do business internationally, ITAR does not affect them.

  3. L. A. McDonough | August 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Reply

    This type work will go underground just like bartering goods and services or cash paid for services. Older ones will retire.

  4. Average Joe American | August 19, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Reply

    Odd, Dale. This does not explain why, in the US, the areas with the highest levels of gun crime (we all know where they are) are the areas with the most gun laws. It appears gun LAWS and gun CONTROL are not at all the same thing. This gives pause to anyone ready to swallow the notion that “gun laws work and the longer they are in force, the more effective they are.”

    It’s worth noting also: Germany and Switzerland have lots of guns, and lots of gun laws. And little gun crime. I’m sure few of us here have read many of these laws, but they seem to be laws ABOUT owning guns. What intelligently informed Americans fear are Constitutionally illegal laws AGAINST owning guns (the “…shall not be infringed” part).

    What places like Switzerland appear to lack, which the US has, are dense ghetto populations of financially downtrodden youth being whipsawed by a War on Drugs and a government which clandestinely funnels drugs into them (I won’t bore the reader with the many sources for this fact, any more than Dale has troubled to cite his sources).

    You want to see knife, baseball bat, brick and pipe bomb crime soar? Evaporate all the guns out of the ghettos overnight, by magic.

    You want to see gun crime drop? Legalize all the drugs.

    But don’t suggest a hundred million legal US gun owners are a threat to society, just because they want to protect themselves from the very society their wayward politicos are bent on creating and perpetuating.

    And, Dale? Aryan is spelled with only two A’s, and gratuitously likening the NRA to the Nazis is getting past its sell-by date.

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