Sporting Purposes Restrictions Afoot?

Apparently Representative Engel is under the belief that enforcement of the “sporting purposes” provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 have been unenforced for the history of the Bush Administration:

In recent years, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has quietly abandoned enforcement of the import ban (which was authorized by provisions in the 1968 Gun Control Act and enforced by Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton). As a result, the civilian firearms market is flooded with imported, inexpensive military-style assault weapons, primarily from former Eastern bloc countries including Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. Importers are also able to skirt the restrictions by bringing in assault weapons parts and reassembling them with a small number of US-made parts. Assault weapon “parts kits” for assembly by individuals are also being imported. ATF has further weakened the prohibition by placing certain extremely problematic assault rifles on the “curios or relics” list, making certain firearms automatically eligible for importation.

So what is he proposing?  No importation of gun parts?  Those guns are assembled in the United States.  I also think he misunderstands that this isn’t an enforcement issue, they are enforcing what’s in the United States Code, and Code of Federal Regulations.  Here’s the relevant law, Title 18, section 922(r) of the United States Code:

It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925 (d)(3) of this chapter as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes except that this subsection shall not apply to—

(1) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or

(2) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.

Right now, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 27 478.39) allows up to ten imported parts to be used in the manufacture of firearms that are otherwise prohibited from importation.  How is Congressman Engle proposing this be handled?  The fortunate thing is, it will require a change in the federal regulations to implement his wishes, which is subject to the rulemaking process.

Obama can certainly undertake rulemaking here, but he’ll risk the wrath of gun owners in 2010 if he does so.  This will not be something he can do sneaky, behind the scenes.  It’s also not a matter of ATF just enforcing the law, like the Congressman seems to think.

8 Responses to “Sporting Purposes Restrictions Afoot?”

  1. Joe says:

    Who’s Engle kidding? Didn’t George W. sign an executive order banning the further importation of AK parts kits from outside the US? Of course, when did the truth ever stop a politician before.

  2. Jeff says:

    “ATF has further weakened the prohibition by placing certain extremely problematic assault rifles on the “curios or relics” list, making certain firearms automatically eligible for importation.”

    Really? Which “problematic assault rifles” are on the C&R list, and where can I get one?

  3. Sebastian says:

    IIRC, there are a few. CETMEs are on the list. I think a few other older rifles too. Plus, anything over 50 years old is a curio.

    But there’s only a handful. It’s not a large number.

  4. Ian Argent says:

    Hey – isn’t the AR-15 coming up on 50 years?

  5. Tom says:

    didn’t the barrel ban happen under “temporary”? It had to, because I wasn’t hip to BYO stuff before that.

    Sporting purposes is such a giant steaming pile…it’s cool to hunt (sporting) a deer with a bow that involves the animal essentially being stabbed and bleeding to death, but NOT shooting it proving a much faster death with less suffering.

    Of course, I’m one of those wackos who hasn’t got my little orphan annie decoder ring that would allow me to read the real 2nd amdt that allows for restrictive gun laws and an unelected asshat deciding based on the activity of his hemorrhoids on any given day what is or isn’t legal for us serfs to own.

  6. It’s all about nuance. Apparently, target shooting with an airgun IS a sport since they use them in the Olympics…but target shooting at the Camp Perry Championships with an AR, 1911, etc. is not a sport. Skiing around and shooting .22LR at targets IS a sport…but running around with an AR or AK and shooting targets in a carbine match isn’t. Our simplistic, primitive view of the world simply doesn’t allow us to see the subtle differences involved…just like I don’t see the difference between the stimulus package being proposed and putting all of that cash in a pile and setting it on fire (well, if your purpose is to stimulate private industry and stabilize the income of the common citizen.)

    I guess I haven’t ingested enough Hopium to bring about the Change in my brain so that I see the Light.

  7. Chuck B. says:

    Aren’t there already AK-type rifles on the market which are constructed from 100% USA-made parts?

  8. Fûz says:

    “Aren’t there already AK-type rifles on the market which are constructed from 100% USA-made parts?”

    No, but it won’t take long if this keeps up.

    The parts sets are just too cheap.


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