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ITAR Restrictions Expanding to Cover Firearms Info?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by barnbwt, Jun 7, 2015.

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  1. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Really? Then go ahead and make it. And of course all sorts of arguments can be made, but that doesn't mean that a court, or anyone else, has to pay attention to it. So if you want to make an argument addressed to a court, you need to cite authority and provide reasons based on applicable legal principles the court should accept the argument.

    And exactly how accurately and completely does the video game show the operation of the gun? Does it add any information beyond the barest common knowledge of how to shoot a gun?

    "To your knowledge"? On exactly what do you base your knowledge? Do you have any evidence? Have you done any research? Willful ignorance is not the same a knowledge.

    In any case, a court would almost certainly conclude that if authorization were not required a lack of authorization would not be relevant nor would it turn otherwise public domain information into protected information.

    In fact, that sort of thing comes up regularly in litigation over wrongful disclosure of confidential or classified information. One charged with wrongfully disclosing confidential or classified information will often argue that the information has lost its protection by having been previously disclosed. So provisions like this paragraph (b) are often used in laws or regulations (or contracts) to cut off that sort of argument and prevent someone who has wrongfully disclosed protected information from escaping liability because someone else has wrongfully disclosed protected information.
     
  2. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    And there you might have identified a real issue. I suggest that the likelihood of a court sustaining an argument by the government that application of ITAR to that information is would satisfy First Amendment concerns is slim. But there is still the possibility of a lengthy and expensive visit to court.

    Those kinds of issues need to be the focus of any meaningful discussion of these regulations. So let's try to stay focused on what can matter and not waste time on video games.
     
  3. RX-178

    RX-178 Member

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    Okay then, if you will allow a brief change of example, Mr. Ettin. I'll agree everything you've said there makes perfect sense and I'll go with you on it, but there's one twist I've got to throw in there first.

    Fast forward from 2005 to 2011. Same game series, but now it's 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'. It is a documented fact that by this time in the game industry, it had become common practice for actual gun companies to employ virtualization consultants, that would be sent to the game companies to assist them in creating virtual equivalents of their products in the game environment.

    Both Barrett and Freedom Group sent virtualization consultants who gave the game developers ACTUAL technical data for the developers to use while creating the 'cartoon models' of the guns in the game. That's fact, the guns in the game in 2011 were created based on technical data given directly by the actual manufacturer.

    Would THIS be considered redistribution of the technical data, or a subsequent transfer of that technical data if this game were to be sold by someone here, to someone outside of the country?
     
  4. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly what technical data? Anything more than enough to make the cartoons pretty?

    Let's stop this. It won't lead anywhere.

    barnbwt started to point this in the right direction. Let's keep this productive.
     
  5. kwguy

    kwguy Member

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    Video game stuff aside, the examples of folks documenting their firearm related work projects online, or getting reloading data as being ITAR restricted is pretty scary, and really seems to be a clear violation of 1A rights.
     
  6. ConstitutionCowboy

    ConstitutionCowboy member

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    I read from the summary, not a commentary. But, as I stated, I've only scratched the surface of this. Once I get to read the whole proposed rule, I will have a clearer picture of what this proposed next abridgment of our free speech and probable infringement upon our Right to Keep and Bear Arms amounts to.

    I wish Congress would take this over. As little faith as I have in Congress doing the right thing, I trust Congress a thousand fold over this administration.

    Woody
     
  7. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    So it appears that this rule change would particularly target internet forums/discussion communities/blogs/reviews/commercial marketing for:
    -Original firearms design and development
    -Industry firearms development (an 07 SOT must merely assemble AR kits to bring down ITAR applicability, so requiring the same of everyone doing 'new stuff' with ARs would be a massive expansion)
    ...as well as;
    -Firearms training facilities, and possibly certain types of tactical competitions
    -Patent searches, now public, would be shut off to the unlicensed
    -Literature on the subject
    -Television shows on the subject (Tales of the Gun got me interested in guns and gun design at age 13 or so, specifically because of its emphasis on technical design details)

    It's both funny and scary how much impact this has to me/my area locally. In East Texas there is something of a hotbed of niche firearms design concerns; nearly all those semi-auto versions of famous belt feds and machineguns are produced by companies out in this neck of the woods. I myself am pursuing a number of original designs and semi-auto reincarnations that would all be subject to ITAR if details were shared. A friend of mine was at one time considering starting a small business to produce machineguns for our local LEO's, and would have had to pay thousands in ITAR fees to produce his goods (utterly negating whatever profit the job at hand would have netted). There are numerous simunition training facilities in the DFW area, and also tactical competition facilities.

    The worry on my part is not that we're all gonna go to jail --they already filled those with drug dealers-- but that expensive fees amounting to thousands of dollars annually will be required to essentially access the firearms hobby. If we cannot share the details of how to clean, repair, service, customize, design, and utilize firearms freely, how will anyone lacking the knowledge acquire it easily? How will the hobby sustain itself?

    It is worth mentioning that mere possession of books, files, and plans relating to firearms is illegal in certain countries for exactly the justifications used here. I believe in England some bloke was arrested recently for making part of a Jaco Western single shot and for having other electronic firearms media on hand. In Japan, an academic was arrested for producing a blank-firing 3D printed firearm. The obvious goal here is to turn firearms back into dark magic, like 1911 smithing was until recently :)D), known to but a few and decreasing number of old curmudgeons. Not only do they not want firearms being made for anyone but the government, they don't even want anyone thinking about firearms except for the benefit of the government.

    What's the point of developing firearms if you can't share the details with anyone and pick each other's brains? Might as well just patent everything I do and sit on it like a miser until death arrives...

    TCB
     
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    Under this rule, a Washington Post article on the M4 carbine, giving the caliber, would be a violation if it were posted on the WP web site. This is rule-making carried to insanity and in no way is based on the intent of Congress in any pertinent legislation.

    Jim
     
  9. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Well a lot of that has been and is subject to ITAR. That's still a problem, but it's another problem and one we've had to live with for some time already.

    The problem I see with these proposed regulations is that they purport to extend to information that has no real national security implication. Some of it's information that's been around in various forms and through various sources, and in one form or another is nothing new. It's the whole existing body of firearms knowledge, and much of what is posted here and through similar media is simply a rehash or reorganization of repetition in different words of the information.

    I strongly doubt that the courts would allow these regulations to apply to that sort of information. But there is still the exposure factor.
     
  10. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Guys, a caliber/cartridge is definitely in the realm of 'common knowledge' about platforms. Now, bullet construction (like the M855 fiasco), the details of how the three-round burst spur in the AR works, and the 300 page operation manual (in Russian) for my KPV parts kit; those would fall into the realm of ITAR stuff using these rules.

    At present, ITAR mostly governs stuff closely related to products developed by/for the US government by contractors or government facilities and currently in use/still viable. I personally think it is to provide industry protection more than national security (since anything submitted to the Patent Office becomes publicly available for review, but ITAR stuff remains under lock and key so long as it is a defense article). Bubba Browning in his basement is typically not a concern, but rather his brother Degreed Browning working for Darpa on self-guided 50cal bullet technology. This rule change threatens to extend the same restrictions to all 50cal bullets' technical info. That is the difference.

    TCB
     
  11. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    "Well a lot of that has been and is subject to ITAR. That's still a problem, but it's another problem and one we've had to live with for some time already."

    Not that long; only since the 90's for FFL's, IIRC (it was a Hillary Clinton initiative, or at least purported to be one). Plenty of bad law/rules of that vintage being reviewed and struck down these days.

    Focusing on reality vs. legality/morality for a moment, I think the true, practical enforcement of this rule change would likely be;
    -Much like 922r, enforced exclusively on commercial manufacturers
    -Much like 922r, causes a widespread 'chill' on various activities left unprosecuted
    -Will lead to any/all FFLs engaged in manufacture (or even just all FFLs) paying ITAR fees

    I think the goal is truly to expand the application of ITAR registration fees, since they are essentially prohibitory for all but mass production concerns;
    $2750 isn't too far off from what the NFA transfer tax fee was, adjusted for inflation, and we all agree that was a prohibitory tax for the purpose of restriction. How many AR builders would bother to pay the fee to build their own, vs. simply buying the factory-fresh (and traceable) version? The whole parts kit side of the hobby would dry up and blow away, since it is largely motivated by cost savings through personal labor.

    Who would pay nearly three grand to generate content on THR annually? I really should contribute monetarily to THR at some point now that I can*, but that's like a buck a post for even the most addicted among us.

    TCB

    *how?
     
  12. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    That's debatable, at least as far as such things as export restrictions are concerned. The USML is very broad and includes your lever action 30-30.

    And that's an open question. That information is, and has been, out in the world from numerous sources. A judge just won't buy a restriction. But there is still the risk and exposure.

    That's why the information covered and not covered needs at least to much more precisely defined.
     
  13. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    It's been a while, but I'll risk repeating myself. The original arms trade treaty back in the early 2000s was intended to prevent states (governments) from arming sides of civil wars and prolonging them for their own advantage, and promoters used the image of warlords arming child soldiers to fight for them in Africa.

    Some of the Non-Government Organizations NGOs advising the UN has pursued their own agendas.

    The gun control advocates made it an issue of imposing domestic gun control by IANSA standards inside countries where private ownership of guns was still legal.

    One NGO had a page pointing out that "military" arms like sniper rifles, riot guns and scout vehicles are indistiguishable from long range target rifles, deer hunting slug shotguns, and police utility vehicles, so all "equivalents" had to be regulated under a (military) arms trade treaty.
     
  14. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    The general press has recently posted articles (for example, http://www.wired.com/2015/06/i-made-an-untraceable-ar-15-ghost-gun/) about people with no firearms or machine tool knowledge being able to make "ghost guns" using what is described as a simple black box, and/or using 3D printing. Whether or not the administration admits it, I strongly suspect this type of activity -- and at least equally importantly, the publicizing of it -- was the precipitating impetus behind the proposal.

    That said, of course the brush is way overly broad, as per the left's motto to "never let a good crisis go to waste".
     
  15. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    That Ghost Gun story has the reporter breaking a few California laws if I'm not mistaken but it's the end not the means.
    As far as making guns? I don't know that it's against the law but I believe the selling of such is. Personally it's all gun control but some of it is so old and entrenched there isn't anyone left (or at least not enough to matter) who really remembers a freer time.
    That's how all the progressive laws and regulations ultimately strip the Constitution of all its teeth and relevance. Death by a thousand cuts.
     
  16. GAMEOVER44

    GAMEOVER44 Member

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    Everyone relax, this will never pass. They are violating the constitution, it simply will not hold up!
     
  17. MartinS

    MartinS Member

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    Everything has to be answered. When and where we relax that's when and where they win one.
     
  18. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    Doesn't matter that the ghost guns can't be sold, they can be owned by people the government doesn't know own a gun.
     
  19. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    +1000
     
  20. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I don't see that as a problem, the problem is having people the government doesn't want having guns (criminals) in a position that they can have them and use them against society.
    The last thing I want is the government knowing all who own a gun, seems like the perfect reason for a ghost gun.
     
  21. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    "That Ghost Gun story has the reporter breaking a few California laws if I'm not mistaken but it's the end not the means.
    As far as making guns? I don't know that it's against the law but I believe the selling of such is. Personally it's all gun control but some of it is so old and entrenched there isn't anyone left (or at least not enough to matter) who really remembers a freer time.
    That's how all the progressive laws and regulations ultimately strip the Constitution of all its teeth and relevance. Death by a thousand cuts."

    Making guns in accordance with CA restrictions is legal. Selling them is legal. No serial is required for transfer or manufacture, even through an FFL. This is no loophole, it was a specific carve out to protect a long understood public right.

    Here we see the crux of the problem; the laws and regulations often require technical knowledge to parse, and that is where these restrictions hit. If we cannot describe how an autosear or open bolt works, we cannot hope to comply with the laws consistently. The ATF would soon be able to exploit the silenced, ignorant public and pass all sorts of restrictions.

    The debate on M855 and objections to it were founded in EXTREMELY technical minutia, which would be unavailable under this scheme.

    TCB
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  22. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    They can absolutely be sold, even without a serial, face to face, legally, in states without specific requirements for thise things (universal checks, registration, purchase permit, etc.)
     
  23. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Ok, Frank: Question time!

    How much, or which parts, of the handloading and reloading subforum could be at issue here ?

    Tons of technical information and support, NATO and domestic product, New development.... Long list !
     
  24. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    Pretty sure he was in violation of the magazine capacity law in Ca. same as the Sunday Newsman in DC was but again, the end justifies the means to these people so I doubt there will be anything said. Instead they'll
    To make my point clear, I don't want anymore gun laws or gun laws nationalized. go after some dumb kid on Utube who managed to get his 10/22 to go F/A or made a silencer from an oil filter.
     
  25. Averageman

    Averageman Member

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    Clearly these are being used as legislation under the guise of mere "rule" changes.
    The idea that the legislative branch should take a back seat to a bureaucrat at an agency where he/she was appointed to this position and not elected by the citizens should be the issue.
    At what point do mere changes of, or the interpretation of "rules' move in to the realm of legislative action?
    I like to look at this like infantrymen clearing a high density mine field with bayonets. If you commit enough effort and you are dedicated, you will slowly weave your way to your intended goal. Slowly with incremental progress, one poke at freedom at a time.
    Oh yeah, and they are doing it on your dime.
     
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