Sporting Purpose importation memo


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Harry Tuttle
April 23, 2004, 05:17 PM
36
DETERMINATION

In 1989, ATF determined that the type of rifle defined as a semiautomatic assault rifle
was not generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting
purposes. Accordingly, ATF found that semiautomatic assault rifles were not importable
into the United States. This finding was based, in large part, on ATF’s determination that
semiautomatic assault rifles contain certain general characteristics that are common to the
modern military assault rifle. These characteristics were designed for killing and
disabling the enemy and distinguish the rifles from traditional sporting rifles. One of
these characteristics is a military configuration, which incorporates eight physical
features: Ability to accept a detachable magazine, folding/telescoping stocks, separate
pistol grips, ability to accept a bayonet, flash suppressors, bipods, grenade launchers, and
night sights. In 1989, ATF decided that any of these military configuration features,
other than the ability to accept a detachable magazine, would make a semiautomatic
assault rifle not importable.

Certain semiautomatic assault rifles that failed the 1989 sporting purposes test were
modified to remove all of the military configuration features, except for the ability to
accept a detachable magazine. Significantly, most of these modified rifles not only still
have the ability to accept a detachable magazine but, more specifically, still have the
ability to accept a large capacity military magazine. It appears that only one of the
current study rifles, the VEPR caliber .308 (an AK47 variant), does not have the ability to
accept a large capacity military magazine and, therefore, is not an LCMM rifle. Based on
the standard developed in 1989, these modified rifles were found not to fall within the
semiautomatic assault rifle type and were found to meet the sporting purposes test.

Accordingly, these rifles were approved for import into the United States.
Members of Congress and others have expressed concerns that these modified
semiautomatic assault rifles are essentially the same as the semiautomatic assault rifles
determined to be not importable in 1989. In response to such concerns, the present study
reviewed the current application of the sporting purposes test to the study rifles to
determine whether the statute is being applied correctly and to ensure that the current use
of the study rifles is consistent with the statute’s criteria for importability.

Our review took another look at the entire matter. We reexamined the basic tenets of the
1989 study, conducted a new analysis of the physical features of the rifles, surveyed a
wide variety of sources to acquire updated information relating to use and suitability, and
assessed changes in law that might have bearing on the treatment of the study rifles.
This review has led us to conclude that the basic finding of the 1989 decision remains
valid and that military-style semiautomatic rifles are not importable under the sporting
purposes standard. Accordingly, we believe that the Department of the Treasury
correctly has been denying the importation of rifles that had any of the distinctly military
configuration features identified in 1989, other than the ability to accept a detachable
magazine. Our review, however, did result in a finding that the ability to accept a
detachable large capacity magazine originally designed and produced for a military
assault weapon should be added to the list of disqualifying military configuration features
identified in 1989.

Several important changes have occurred since 1989 that have led us to reevaluate the
importance of this feature in the sporting purposes test. Most significantly, by passing
the 1994 bans on semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding
devices, Congress sent a strong signal that firearms with the ability to expel large
amounts of ammunition quickly are not sporting; rather, firearms with this ability have
military purposes and are a crime problem. The House Report to the 1994 law
emphasizes that the ability to accept a large capacity magazine “serve[s] specific,
combat-functional ends.” Moreover, this ability plays a role in increasing a firearm’s
“capability for lethality,” creating “more wounds, more serious, in more victims.”82
Furthermore, the House Report noted semiautomatic assault weapons with this ability are
the “weapons of choice among drug dealers, criminal gangs, hate groups, and mentally
deranged persons bent on mass murder.”

Moreover, we did not find any evidence that the ability to accept a detachable large
capacity military magazine serves any sporting purpose. The House Report to the 1994
law notes that, while most of the weapons covered by the assault weapon ban come
equipped with detachable large capacity magazines, hunting rifles and shotguns typically
have much smaller magazine capabilities, from 3 to 5 rounds.84 Similarly, we found that
a number of States limit magazine capacity for hunting to 5 to 6 rounds. We simply
found no information showing that the ability to accept a detachable large capacity
military magazine has any purpose in hunting or organized competitive target shooting.
Accordingly, we find that the ability to accept a detachable large capacity military
magazine is a critical factor in the sporting purposes test that must be given the same
weight as the other military configuration features identified in 1989.

The information we collected on the use and suitability of the LCMM rifles for hunting
and organized competitive target shooting demonstrated that the rifles are not especially
suitable for sporting purposes. Although our study found that the LCMM rifles, as a
type, may sometimes be used for hunting, we found no evidence that they are commonly
used for hunting. In fact, some of the rifles are unsuitable for certain types of hunting.

The information we collected also demonstrated that although the LCMM rifles, as a
type, may be used for organized competitive target shooting, their suitability for these
competitions is limited. There are even some restrictions or prohibitions on their use for
certain types of competitions. In addition, we believe that all rifles which are fairly
typed as LCMM rifles should be treated the same. Therefore, the fact that there may be
some evidence that a particular rifle of this type is used or recommended for sporting
purposes should not control its importability. Rather, all findings as to suitability of
LCMM rifles as a whole should govern each rifle within this type. The findings as a
whole simply did not satisfy the standard set forth in section 925(d)(3).
Finally, the information we gathered demonstrates that the LCMM rifles are attractive to
certain criminals. We find that the LCMM rifles’ ability to accept a detachable large
capacity military magazine likely plays a role in their appeal to these criminals. In
enacting the 1994 bans on semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition
feeding devices, Congress recognized the appeal large magazine capacity has to the
criminal element.

Weighing all this information, the LCMM rifles, as a type, are not generally recognized
as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes. As ATF found in
conducting its 1989 study, although some of the issues we confronted were difficult to
resolve, in the end we believe the ultimate conclusion is clear and compelling. The
ability of all of the LCMM rifles to accept a detachable large capacity military magazine
gives them the capability to expel large amounts of ammunition quickly; this serves a
function in combat and crime, but serves no sporting purpose. Given the high standard
set forth in section 925(d)(3) and the Secretary’s discretion in applying the sporting
purposes test, this conclusion was clear.

This decision will in no way preclude the importation of true sporting firearms. It will
prevent only the importation of firearms that cannot fairly be characterized as sporting
rifles.

Individual importers with existing permits for, and applications to import involving, the
LCMM rifles will be notified of this determination in writing. Each of these importers
will be given an opportunity to respond and present additional information and
arguments. Final action will be taken on permits and applications only after an affected
importer has an opportunity to makes its case.

www.atf.gov/pub/treas_pub/assault_rifles/determin.pdf

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IMPORTATION OF CERTAIN FRAMES, RECEIVERS AND BARRELS


This notice is to provide all Federal firearms licensees and other interested parties with information regarding the importation of frames, receivers and barrels for firearms that
would be prohibited from importation if assembled.

Generally, 18 U.S.C. § 925(d) (3) prohibits the importation of nonsporting firearms, firearms defined under the NFA, 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a), and surplus military firearms. This section provides that if a particular firearm has not been authorized for importation, it shall be unlawful to import any frame, receiver, or barrel of such firearm which would be prohibited if assembled.


Accordingly, frames, receivers and barrels that are primarily designed for assembly into nonsporting firearms may not be imported. These include the frames, receivers and barrels of any of the rifles identified in the 1998 study as nonimportable. These rifles may be found in the 2000 edition of the Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide on Page 126. Section 925(d)(3) also prohibits the importation of the frames, receivers and barrels of NFA firearms (such as the G3 and FAL), and surplus military firearms (such as the M1 Garand and US 1911 pistols).


ATF has recognized that certain barrels, frames and receivers that otherwise would not be importable may be imported for repair and replacement purposes. In such cases, the application for importation, ATF Form 6, should identify in block 10 that the importation is for repair or replacement only. If granted, such permits would authorize the importation of frames, receivers and barrels for repair and replacement but not for assembly into new firearms that would be prohibited from importation under § 925(d)(3). Where the importation is authorized for repair and replacement, the permit will be stamped with the following restriction:


NOTE: The barrels, frames and/or receivers authorized for importation by this permit may only be used for repair or replacement and MAY NOT be used to assemble new firearms that would be prohibited from importation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3).

http://www.atf.gov/pub/ffl/2001/may/p5.htm

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Bartholomew Roberts
April 23, 2004, 05:36 PM
Note that the first memo is from the Summer of 2000 and the review was conducted under the Clinton Administration.

The second memo is a May 2001 loosening some of the restrictions of the original.

Sam Adams
April 23, 2004, 05:46 PM
None of the brain-addled morons that helped write this memo have apparently read another, somewhat more authoritative, document that has something to say on the issue: namely, the US Constitution. Amendment 2 to that document indicates that "... the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." No mention of "sport," "sporting purpose" or "hunting" was made or, if what the political thinkers of that generation said is to be believed, even thought of.

On the other hand, the whole concept of "sporting use" crept into US law (in the '68 Gun Control Act) from a 1938 law passed overseas - in Nazi Germany, to be more precise. In fact, most of the GCA, not just the "sporting use" provisions was lifted, almost verbatim, from the Nazi Weapons Law. Any skeptics are directed to a page on the website of JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership): http://www.jpfo.org/GCA_68.htm

What truly disappoints me is that the '89 import ban was done via Executive Order, and can be just as easily repealed - but there's probably little chance of a son repealing his father's act, even if he might privately agree that it was wrong (and he may not agree, I just don't know).

rich2u
April 23, 2004, 06:23 PM
Of course they've read the constitution. They just don't give a :cuss: . Its all about power. D_mn jack booted scum.

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