Important Developments on the Proposed ITAR Changes

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by barnbwt, Jul 24, 2015.

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  1. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    It appears we are finally getting some influential figures paying attention to the issue, Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). More importantly, it is in the form of an impeccably well-written and official request for comment from The Honorable Mr. Kerry while he convalesces somewhere. Appears to have been announced three days ago, though I've seen no mention anywhere of it (letter is actually from a week before that). Very significant, since the last 'comment' on the matter from the State Department did not inspire confidence that this proposal does not constitute a massive threat to both free speech and the right to keep and bear arms. I ask everyone reading to look over the letter; this is not some rabble-rousing boilerplate meant to play to the constituents; it is a very official request/order seeking clarification on articulated concerns. Multiple examples of now-legal online firearms activity are put forward, with a request for how they would be held under the regulation. At first glance, several would appear to be problematic if the rules change goes forward.

    From the letter (emphasis mine):
    The State department actually had a press conference last month in which some very basic questions about the implications of the proposal were taken.

    Not only do they seem to confirm my/our/the senators' worries, but the reporter actually appeared to volunteer an end to the line of questioning when it appeared the spokesman was floundering and about to say something really stupid. What the spokesman was getting at was hardly a misplacement of our concerns.

    Until this letter, there has been literally zero news or effort on this subject since the press conference. We have only ten days left, people. Submit your comments now if you have not done so already. Please forward the letter to whatever blogs or forums you frequent, since there is precious little time remaining to bog down this comment process. The State Department has far more resources to sift through these than the ATF, and a random sampling of the submitted objections shows that a large fraction of them will be discounted out of hand as garbage. This is the link to the proposed change's docket; there is a great, big "comment now" button --use it if you have not already.

    My hope is that the issue will take off now that there is a letter to rally behind, much as happened with the M855 issue toward the end of the comment period. Hit up your senators, get them on board as co-signors. Don't bother trying to explain the issue or why you care about it to them, they will just reply that they oppose assault weapon bans (at best). None other than Mr. Cruz and other local 'tea party' types did exactly this; the issue is simply too complex to relay in a handful of sentences, so just demand they support these two senator's well-wrought efforts.

    TCB
     
  2. sequins

    sequins Member

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    I just commented with a simple "support 1st and 2nd amendment rights" and support grassley and johnson. I think grassley is a prick in general so it's funny to support him but I'm a single issie voter. From guns flows freedom.
     
  3. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Johnson is another guy who I don't know much about (being in Texas) but who's name keeps popping up making rational defenses of the 2nd Amendment, also my one issue at this point. From guns flows freedom for more reasons than just the force they represent (as Mao identified), but also the recognition of inevitable evil in the world that may need to be confronted, and most importantly of a basic trust in your fellow man to do so righteously.

    TCB
     
  4. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Apparently most members here don't understand - implementing what could be proposed basically shuts down this forum, and would certainly ban any discussion of how to modify firearms.

    That would include building your own AR - the TM on assembly would be hunted down and yanked from distribution. Most manuals for other weapons, too.

    Your favorite commercial rifle will become "No user serviceable parts" within a generation. Take it to a gunsmith and that's that.

    Gunsmiths will have to be vetted by the Administration to be taught firearms repair. If "You can't know that" is fully extended - the courses offered in the back pages of all those gun mags will require Government sanction to operate, with complete oversight of the lesson plans, and the students will likely be sworn to keep details to themselves or face prosecution under acts of terrorism.

    Ah, no, I'm not being extremist, trolling, or sensationalist - read the anti gunners agendas, connect the dots on the "ghost gun" development, or the CNC machines that can shape AR lowers. The ITAR emphasis is to restrict the working knowledge of how firearms operate.

    That terrorists won't be stopped has nothing to do with it. Information will still be available, but obtaining it will now be a Federal Felony and there will be prosecutions. The first will be obviously of ill intent, but as the decade passes, we will see it reach further and further.

    Post a comment about how to ream the leade on a barrel and you could get a no BS official correspondence warning you your post was deleted. Come up with a new recipe using a powder and bullet combination as yet unknown, with more power and range, you get an official notice.

    Again, the proposed changes will basically make gun forums a parade of pics and shooting videos. Discussing how or why to modify guns or even build them from scratch will be stopped. You need an example? The SIG Brace - can you find all the posts and videos of how to use it against the shoulder now? No. Can you post those on some forums and they stay up without moderator action. NO. Even arfcom takes them down and labels them "criminal activity."

    Fear of prosecution will force forum owners to cooperate against their better wishes. They already have with copyright issues, the SIG Brace, and self imposed restrictions.

    People may be scoffing at what isn't outlined - which is the point - but the overall result will basically put most of the information into the underground and even gun shows will be affected. What we freely discuss now will be contraband information. It's not a tinfoil hat issue - it's what dedicated gun owners and advanced builders and ammo loaders do every day.

    It will be illegal to have the printed matter and illegal to hand it out or tell others about it. And a new generation will simply be left even more in the dark because of it. Bad enough our children get 12 years of anti gun lessons in schools, we will now be felony criminals for discussing it.

    They won't do it? Didn't they promise to try to ban M855 AND all other 5.56, again? They are telling us they WILL do it and most won't even listen.

    Isn't our President politely telling us that gun owners are the terrorists?

    It's not helping that the majority of victims in shootings over the last ten years were killed by right wing extremists - go back to the Oklahoma City bombings and the perpetrators were NOT Muslim, they were gun show vendors who protested Waco.

    As far as an official stance, ISIS terrorists aren't the main threat - the LA shooting was conducted by who? A right wing extremist. Home grown terrorists dominate the issue, gun lovers are the problem, we are the target.

    You. Because they can't tell which one of us is going rogue shooting up a Mall or movie theatre. So, if it takes attacking the First and Second Amendment to stop it - or just to look like they are even trying - so be it.

    It's a long term war, incremental steps are always a win, and the frogs in the pot simply don't see the water slowly warming up. It takes the viewpoint of those who remember better days - when you could mail order a gun to your doorstep. When you could buy a full auto firearm and use it. When you could carry a rifle in a window rack and park your pickup at high school. When you could take an HK91 into an ROTC classroom and teach 14 year olds about world armaments.

    You can't do any of that now - they won those battles. Go ahead and mock those trying to warn you, tell us to screw the tinfoil down tighter. It won't be any reward for us to be right, and your apologies won't fix it.

    It's a war of a thousand paper cuts - and disbelief is their most prized weapon.

    "We have to pass the legislation to find out what is in it." History repeats itself.
     
  5. gulogulo1970

    gulogulo1970 Member

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    I urge everyone to tell them what you think of this. Here is what I sent them:

    Hello,

    This is a constitutional issue, our government should not do this. Banning information shared by citizens about legal products because it might be exported via the web is not a smart idea. Why don't we ban the technical details of automobiles because a terrorist might one day use one to kill someone, why not? Because life and freedom involves risk. You can't lock all information away because someone might use it for a bad purpose.

    Americans discuss firearms and how to modify, assemble, and how build from scratch firearms in print and on online forums. This is an activity free people exercise, legally. By enacting this rule you would make sharing information about firearms illegal. This is more of a first amendment issue than a second amendment issue, but it will effect both.

    It is the duty of the United States Government to protect the freedoms in the Constitution. What is the point of protecting us from our own liberties? Freedom is dangerous, liberty unpredictable, but it is what needs protecting most, the uniqueness of what we have here, the beautiful experiment.

    Outside governments, terrorists, and factions will always try to harm this country. Taking away the rights of our own citizens is not the way to protect us. Let's not be so short-sighted that we damage the rights we all share as Americans in the name of security. We are made of smarter and tougher stuff that that.

    Thank you for your time.
     
  6. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Pretty good, gulogulo1970. Looking through the (only) hundred or so comments submitted over the last week, it appears the content quality is skyrocketing :cool:. Some very good points in some of them, beyond even the outrageous constitutional stuff. Things like how expensive it will be for everyone to comply with ITAR registration and review, meanwhile the State Dept. is claiming by virtue of this regulation process that costs are expected to be under one hundred million. There are laws limited the scope of regulatory changes like this, and each aspect has to be accounted for when submitting new changes to ensure their impact is not disproportionate (like, to the tune of essentially making new laws, for instance). That methodology of argument will actually require much more effort from the comment reviewers to address than most of the 1st/2nd amendment arguments.

    -Expense of implementation
    -Growth of oversight (whole new bureaus would be required to oversee this)
    -Entirely new registration scope (i.e. private citizens, whereas to my knowledge practically no one is ITAR registered outside direct job functions in government, industry, or academia)
    -New compliance costs by business, small and large, associate with firearms accessories (since manufacturer FFLs usually pay ITAR already) will drive up consumer prices for these items tremendously
    -Significant/adverse impact on private innovation in the fields of firearms, accessories, and ammunition; cutting-edge tech will be disfavored since dealing or developing it will require licensure
    -Proposed changes are intentionally vague and expansive; types of 'technical information' are not described in any level of detail beyond the most basic terms, and as written pertain to nearly all practical firearms knowledge
    -Massive troves of available and soon-to-be present data will fall under regulation, the multitudes of citizens involved, and the number of sites online all mean that diligent enforcement would generate an incredible burden for the legal system, with scant standards at present for the scope of prosecution

    It's interesting to note that of all the budgetary, legal, and federalist impact 'boxes' that are ticked off by these regulators, none appear to apply to the potential impact of regulations on individuals, or even large numbers of individuals. The feds must simply assert (not prove) that their regulation won't dump a huge burden on lower-level governments, enforcement officers, or court systems. :scrutiny:

    TCB
     
  7. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    barnbwt: Thanks very much. I comprehended the significance very quickly.

    My comments on that government docket were an expression of how this opaque, Not transparent administration "uses any pretext or excuse" to make one step at a time-"backwards", not forwards-"in its ultimate agenda of suppressing our guaranteed rights under the Second Amendment".

    Their long-term goals only require gradual steps, and it was also made clear that this Administration uses any agencies to try to suppress our freedoms.
     
  8. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    Good post Tirod.
     
  9. RoyRogers

    RoyRogers Member

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  10. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    Here's my comment:

    My company just created a hearing protection product for commercial use that had input from active and former military members during the development stage. ITAR would prevent such benign collaborations and stifle innovation in the pursuit of dubious benefit to national security.

    I am against these regulations.
     
  11. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Well, at least we budged the needle by a couple hundred comments, or so. Might as well transition this thread to "Lessons Learned on ITAR" where we can go over why a greater response was never mustered against this proposal.

    My submissions so far;
    -NRA broke the story
    -NRA oversimplified the issue ('gag order' was a stupid description for censorship)
    -NRA failed to follow up in any way whatsoever (that I've seen)
    -Not enough proper legal interpretation was done in the early days of the breaking story*
    -Skeptics went unanswered (due to aforementioned lack of proper legal interpretation or arguments) and sowed doubt on the claims
    -The issue itself was overcomplicated, just the way they like it
    -The very basis of the premise was utterly unknown to most gun owners

    I would conclude the NRA basically botched the potential of this issue, but the fact they found the story in the first place was about half the problem, and the entire reason it was noticed at all. Who broke M855 first, is this just the case of a bad messenger?


    *All over the net, poor fools like me were furiously trying to figure out just what the heck these changes meant, but it was multiple weeks before all but the most coarse of interpretations were being hashed out by people with some manner of credentials. I don't recall ever seeing an opinion by actual ITAR experts or attorneys. By then, everyone assumed this was all a bunch of hot air with no meat. To this day, I don't think the idiots at ar15.com have had a single thread on the subject spanning more than a half dozen posts, all concluding "they wouldn't possibly try something like this" but failing to explain why, legally, it doesn't mean what it says.

    TCB
     
  12. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Last day to comment, folks...

    TCB
     
  13. 03fatboy

    03fatboy Member

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    Just did it, thanks for the heads up.
     
  14. Lord Teapot

    Lord Teapot Member

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    Sounds like back-door free speech/2nd amendment erosion. Glad to see the federal government doing what it does best, infringing liberty. Keep up the good work, every action you and your ilk take like this further reinforces the continued need for the 2nd amendment.


    1jz-8kce-4pyz
     
  15. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    What I've been doing it inserting the ITAR subject into 3D and DIY threads when it's fitting.

    The issue isn't the message, it's the complete lack of cognizance by the receiver that the .Gov would even do it. "That's impossible" is the typical response.

    I'll be happy to be wrong. But when it hits the fan there will be a lot of PM's exchanged and the subject won't go away. It will simply shift to the dark net on dynamically generated pages that can't be searched and indexed by conventional public engines.

    Like CA, NY, and other states, when they outlaw guns, then the public will choose to be an outlaw, aka the AWB bans. Funny how we can talk about it but it's not HR to propose "breaking the law." Once ITAR passes it can very well become like arfcom's stance on the Brace - forum ban on discussion and pics as "criminal activity."

    There is a higher plane of Constitutionality - where the citizen regards laws on their intrinsic merit - and where they choose to obey, or consider them illegal. Those of us who took an oath to uphold the Constitution were also held to the standard of not obeying illegal orders issued by our Command. It's one of the checks and balances of the system, where the common soldier can "disobey" an illegal order to uphold a higher standard.

    That was the line in the sand in the 1770's - to uphold "King and country" or stand for your rights above an oppressive and deliberately unequal treatment as a citizen. It's the exact same thing as the situation in inner cities where an oppressive city council accelerates the deterioration of neighborhoods by allowing an inordinate number of liquor stores but doing nothing to promote the longevity of grocery stores, then commissioning the police to stop and frisk for pocket knives under the pretense they are all gravity knives.

    It very much is oppressive tactics, and now we are faced with another extension of them on a national level. Jews then, blacks now. Disarmament then, ITAR now.

    We are faced with an increasingly disturbing trend and ignoring it is self defeating.

    "When they came for me, nobody was left to protest."
     
  16. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Important development indeed.

    Over the decades, antis have also worked on "alternative" methods to take away/erode gun rights (i.e. appointment of judges at all levels) in addition to legislative efforts.

    We must spread the word of this new threat and fight back as a group.

    How NRA broke the news is irrelevant at this point - new threat is real and must be dealt with now.

    Spread the word - mention this new threat in emails, forums, social media, etc. etc.

    I already changed my signature line: = Stop Forum Closure. Read/Support new 1-2 Amendment Censorship thread =
     
  17. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Once the comment period ends today, my sig-line will be modified to something like;

    "This post and/or attachments may contain technical data which may soon be controlled by the US ITAR or EAR. If this data is later determined to be export controlled, it may not be exported, transmitted, shared, disclosed, or provided to any non US Persons. It is the recipient’s responsibility to assure this item can be legally shared with another party."

    It's a standard boilerplate for documentation. No, it is no form of 'legal protection,' (quite the opposite, actually, since I am openly admitting possible ITAR could be present while knowingly posting online) but gives an idea of the 'new normal' that will infect all internet forums.

    I think we've shown the comment-period to be a bust at this time (7300 comments), although I did read a claim that there were something like 12,000 comments pending review that were submitted by other means (I assume that means direct email and snail-mail). All but eighty-something of the posted comments were opposed on 2nd amendment grounds (and it sounds as though the State Dept. may try to use that as justification to 'clump' them together into a single issue to be addressed with a response.)

    The real question becomes, what is the next course of action during the brief interval we have to strike while State tallies and replies to the responses (I'm guessing less than a month to compile and reply to the objections, though I'll welcome any other estimate)? We need to work out a form letter to 'encourage' congress critters to piggy back on the Johnson/Grassley letter --still the only two elected guys to bother looking into the topic-- and also make a case for a broad, permanent exemption of firearms technical data from ITAR (since no particular firearms technology itself constitutes a significant strategic threat worth the prior restraint on free speech or firearms)

    Also worth mentioning that, so long as the information to build/develop/etc is restricted, the actual items created by it will be restricted from the public domain as well, because of reverse-engineering concerns (a very specific rationale for the classification of components as defense articles).

    Bye-bye civilian firearms innovation :)

    TCB
     
  18. HammsBeer

    HammsBeer Member

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    Left a comment stating that shutting down the 1A protected right to discuss firearms and 2A issues will hamper the individual's right to advancing knowledge and information of personalized individual security with firearms.
     
  19. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Well, it appears Regulations.gov has been hiding a good portion of the submitted comments during the comment period; approximately two thousand (of seven thousand) comments were added in the last twelve hours or so :confused:

    The comment period now over, the clock is ticking for when the regulation is implemented (the State Department has repeatedly stated they intend to go Forward with it)

    TCB
     
  20. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Check this out: 27 senators (so far) have piled on to a new letter from Senator Daines (Montanna-R)!

    Text of the letter w/ signatures

    The complete list of 28 Senators who signed the letter is as follows:

    Senator Joni Ernst (IA)

    Senator Jim Inhofe (OK)

    Senator Orrin Hatch (UT)

    Senator John Cornyn (TX)

    Senator Bill Cassidy (LA)

    Senator Mike Crapo (ID)

    Senator James Lankford (OK)

    Senator Roy Blunt (MO)

    Senator Tom Cotton (AR)

    Senator Mike Lee (UT)

    Senator Dan Sullivan (AK)

    Senator John Hoeven (ND)

    Senator John Barrasso (WY)

    Senator Marco Rubio (FL)

    Senator Jerry Moran (KS)

    Senator Steve Daines (MT)

    Senator Johnny Isakson (GA)

    Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV)

    Senator John Boozman (AR)

    Senator David Vitter (LA)

    Senator Thom Tillis (NC)

    Senator David Perdue (GA)

    Senator Mike Rounds (SD)

    Senator Mike Enzi (WY)

    Senator Rand Paul (KY)

    Senator Ben Sasse (NE)

    Senator Dean Heller (NV)

    Senator John Thune (SD)

    (would've been nice to ID them by party, but "we don't do politics here" :rolleyes: --Cruz is notably absent, but most likely unaware)
     
  21. dizzy01

    dizzy01 Member

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    Supernaut, if your product was developed in the US with collaboration of prior US military personnel but was or is developed (and perhaps now sold) for commercial purposes, neither the development of the commercial product nor the product itself would not be controlled by the ITAR.
     
  22. dizzy01

    dizzy01 Member

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  23. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    What about the active military personnel?
     
  24. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Any updates?
     
  25. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Well, AR15.com lost it's collective mind about 12hrs before the deadline, but obviously too little too late (funny how much this was downplayed over there for the longest time). I'd be interested to know if any forums *cough, cough* have had any internal discussions about contingency plans, or even better, if any industry folks are beginning to take precautions by familiarizing themselves with ITAR just in case.

    The State Dept still hasn't responded in any manner, whatsoever, as best I can tell. That can't possibly be good. I think they'll get away with this one, but it remains to be seen when (never if) they grow the stones to try enforcing it, or if it truly is just a means of silencing Wilson for another couple years.

    TCB
     
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