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The Legalities of the New Executive Order

Mosin-NagantI’m seeing some confusion circulating among people in the blogosphere and on social media as to the effects of Obama’s executive order on reimportation. It should be noted that this would only apply to a small subset of firearms that were sold to foreign countries. Ordinarily, military arms are illegal to import into the United States unless they are determined by the attorney general to be “particularly suitable for sporting purposes,” which the Attorney General has since 1989 (via another executive order) interpreted to mean only suitable for hunting. However, there’s a provision of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 that made it legal to import any firearm that is a Curio and Relic, regardless of its sporting purpose suitability. This means anything that’s on the C&R list, or anything more than 50 years old is importable by law. This EO won’t do anything to affect the import of surplus military arms that originated overseas, like the Mosin-Nagant, Enfields, or Mauser. Even the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine are C&R, and are therefore blanket importable, regardless of what the Attorney General may want to determine about its sporting purpose.

But by law the State Department gets to have a say when it comes to weapons that have been exported by our government to foreign governments. If those governments wish to dispose of those firearms by selling them to private importers in the United States, they have to have sign-off from the State Department. That’s where this EO comes in. Basically, the Korean government still has a lot of M1 Carbines and M1 Garands sitting in warehouses that they’d like to sell to US collectors or to the Civilian Marksmanship Program. The Obama Administration has been unwilling to sign off of any of these re-importations to date. All this executive order does is make that official policy. In short, it doesn’t actually change much from the status quo. Without the requirement for State Department signoff, those M1s would be legal to import without any permission from the US government.

It’s still a dick move by the Obama Administration, but don’t feel like you need to go scrambling through your sofa cushions for loose change to go panic buy all the Mosin-Nagants you can get your hands on. Those are safe.

25 Responses to “The Legalities of the New Executive Order”

  1. MattW says:

    Thank you for getting this clarification out there. The last thing we need is another panic.

  2. Patrick H says:

    Awesome summary. Good to know.

  3. Padre says:

    Well there goes the excuse I was going to give my wife.

  4. Lazy Bike Commuter says:

    Thanks for clearing that up. It’s too bad there isn’t a law in place saying they HAVE to import the arms and sell through CMP.

  5. jkp says:

    In fact, if you’re going to spend time panic buying anything, panic-buy the M1 Garands. They are awesome.

  6. Bill says:

    It’s an incredibly dick move. I had been hoping to get one this year. The prices are ridiculous.

    • Brad says:

      “a dick move”, kind of sums up the core technique of the Obama administration doesn’t it?

  7. JeffS says:

    To summarize, this executive order just changes Obama’s policy of being a jerk when it comes to gun control from “unofficial” to “official”.

  8. Jay G. says:

    Thanks for the clarification. The original report I read had only said “imported military surplus” and was later amended to “re-imported”.

  9. KSGunner says:

    On the point made above contact your Congressional representation and get them to support HR 2247 The Collectible Firearms Protection Act which would strip the State and Defense departments from having a veto over the importation of US originating arms that Qualify as Curios and Relics.

  10. M39B says:

    can we export Obama and ban his import?

  11. rickn8or says:

    The White House said the U.S. has approved 250,000 of those guns to be reimported since 2005…”

    How many have be reimported since 2009 you lying poseur?

  12. emdfl says:

    That’s a really nice explanation except you forgot the part where that pos in the wh or else his butt buddy running the atf will pretty quick move on to the rest of anything that gets imported.
    Wanna make a bet on the time frame?

    • Jack says:

      You mean in talking about exactly what the current Executive Order does, Sebastian coesn’t mention what might lie in future EO’s?

      What a shock!

    • Sebastian says:

      If he does that, we can take them to court. The law is pretty clear about what’s allowed in. There isn’t much ambiguity.

  13. Lois Power says:

    Folks need to stop re-posting and mailing the bogus articles that the EO will “shut down the CMP.” It is not true. Sebastian is one of the few people writing accurately about this! Thank heavens for your sane blog in an ocean of chicken-running-around-heads-cut-off craziness. People who don’t know C & R should not publish articles misinterpreting it. (Sebastian gets it!)

    • Geodkyt says:

      Actually, it will effectively shut down the CMP.

      There’s a limit on the number of Garands available, none of the later service rifles are available for sale through CMP, and this EO knocks out what is probably the largest cache of Garands that would be available to CMP, ever.

      • KSGunner says:

        No it will not, the CMP does not import any rifles. The rifles they receive are transfers from the Army. When rifles are loaned to a foreign government they remain property of the United States, when they are no longer needed by the recipient government they are returned to the US Army, and the law requires that if the are Caliber 30, 30 Carbine or 22 Caliber they are to be transferred to the CMP. The only role the CMP plays in such weapons being brought back into the US is that they are responsible for reimbursing the Army of the cost to ship them back into the US. This order will only effect those rifles that were sold to foreign governments. The rifles in South Korean hands were sold to South Korea, hence the reason they have been shopping them around. If they had been loaned the South Koreans would be obligated to transfer custody to the US Army, not offer them up to the highest bidder.

  14. Nick says:

    So if we get someone in the white house in 2016 that is gun friendly, does that mean he/she could repeal the ban and flood the market with all those m1 grands and car-beans?

    • Stacy says:

      If I were running, I’d make that a campaign promise. And I’d have a press conference in Berkeley to announce it.

  15. Wade says:

    Here’s hoping the Koreans will take care of them until we can ditch this asshat.

  16. Ian Argent says:

    The secret of the universe is “Things Change.” But some changes are more likely than others

  17. Jason says:

    No it will not effect the CMP? Garands and Carbines sold to foreign countries can’t be re-imported. The CMP can’t get the rifles that were sold to South Korea. How is it that this will not effect the CMP?

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