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Amendment To Block Executive Action ATF 41P Passes U.S. House

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Speaking of proposed rule changes by the Obama Administration, the American Suppressor Association has announced that Congress has taken matters into their own hands regarding the proposed 41P rule change which would change how the BATFE handles trust and corporate ownership of NFA items.

On June 3rd, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, H.R. 2578 by a margin of 242 – 183. H.R. 2579 included an American Suppressor Association-backed provision to prevent an expansion of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) certification requirement for certain transfers of suppressors and other NFA items. The full release as follows:

On June 3rd, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, H.R. 2578 by a 242 – 183 margin. Included in H.R. 2578 is an American Suppressor Association backed provision to prevent an expansion of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) certification requirement for certain transfers of suppressors and other National Firearms Act (NFA) items.

In 2013, the Obama Administration issued an executive action that seeks to amend the transfer of firearms and suppressors under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). Known as ATF 41P, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is still awaiting Final Action. The proposal includes an amendment to require a CLEO certification for all NFA transfers to non-licensees, including those conducted by a trust or legal entity. Under current law, only individuals who purchase NFA items are required to obtain a CLEO certification as part of the Federal process.

41P represents a curious reversal in the Administration’s own position. In 2011, the ATF recommended eliminating the CLEO certification altogether. In fact, according to their own proposal, they wanted to “eliminate the requirement for a certification signed by the CLEO.”


When the National Firearms Act of 1934 was signed into law, computerized background checks did not exist. At that time, the CLEO certification was the only way that individuals applying for a transfer of an NFA item could be vetted. Since 1934, technology has come full circle, making the subjective approval from local Law Enforcement no longer an enhancement to public safety.

According to the proposed amendments, “ATF conducts its own background checks of individuals applying to make and receive NFA firearms. In addition to transmitting fingerprints to the FBI for a criminal history check, ATF routinely queries the following databases and indexes:

  • National Crime Information Center
  • TECS (formerly named the Treasury Enforcement Communication System)
  • National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System
  • Interstate Identification Index
  • National Instant Criminal Background Check System”
  • Given the already extensive background checks currently in place, the expansion of CLEO certifications will not enhance public safety in any way. Instead, it will only serve to create hardships for collectors, manufacturers, and licensed dealers.

    If enacted, 41P would result in a de facto ban on NFA transfers in many jurisdictions, jeopardizing thousands of jobs supported by the manufacturing and sale of such items, as well as the liberties of millions of law abiding citizens. With suppressors accounting for the overwhelming majority of NFA transfers, fighting this politically motivated executive action has remained one of ASA’s top priorities since it was announced.

    The American Suppressor Association would like to thank Rep. John Carter (R-TX) for championing this amendment to protect the suppressor industry and the rights of the law abiding citizens of this country. We call on House and Senate negotiators to keep this language intact in the final bill.

    In addition, the NRA-ILA has released further information related to the current issue –

    Obama Administration Moves to Restrict ITAR Related Free Speech

    Monday, June 8th, 2015

    International Traffic in Arms: Definitions of Defense Services, Technical Data, and Public Domain; Definition of Product of Fundamental Research; Electronic Transmission and Storage of Technical Data; and Related Definitions

    On 3 June, 2015, the State Department published its intent in the Federal Register to make a rather expansive change to how information controlled under International Trafficking in Arms regulations is categorized, reviewed, and transmitted. The proposed rule change is so extensive, it takes up 14 pages in the Federal Register. In case you are unfamilar, ITAR regulates the export of a large host of technologies laid out in the United States Munitions List, including the firearms that many of you own and use.

    Bottom Line Up Front
    The National Rifle Association’s Institute has distilled this issue at hand into these three paragraphs:

    “In their current form, the ITAR do not (as a rule) regulate technical data that are in what the regulations call the ‘public domain.’ Essentially, this means data ‘which is published and which is generally accessible or available to the public’ through a variety of specified means. These include ‘at libraries open to the public or from which the public can obtain documents.’ Many have read this provision to include material that is posted on publicly available websites, since most public libraries these days make Internet access available to their patrons.

    “The ITAR, however, were originally promulgated in the days before the Internet. Some State Department officials now insist that anything published online in a generally-accessible location has essentially been ‘exported,’ as it would be accessible to foreign nationals both in the U.S. and overseas.

    “With the new proposal published on June 3, the State Department claims to be ‘clarifying’ the rules concerning ‘technical data’ posted online or otherwise ‘released’ into the ‘public domain.’ To the contrary, however, the proposal would institute a massive new prior restraint on free speech. This is because all such releases would require the ‘authorization’ of the government before they occurred. The cumbersome and time-consuming process of obtaining such authorizations, moreover, would make online communication about certain technical aspects of firearms and ammunition essentially impossible.”

    Sir, You Go Too Far!
    As we often see, legislation and interpretation of legislation by the Executive Branch in the form of regulation often results in unintended consequnces. This isn’t just about small arms or the firearms industry. While many are attempting to frame this as a Second Amendment issue, it’s really about the First Amendment. Information controlled by the International Trafficking in Arms Regulation actually originates in many industries as well as centers of higher learning and research centers.

    This proposal also has another very odd consequence. It would place the State Department, which is tasked and organized to implementing foreign policy, in charge of a great deal of domestic censorship. For an arm of the US Goverment which is expected to promote American ideals such as free speech across the globe, they will be situated in a very precarious position. Because ITAR is so broad reaching, includes a wide multitude of types of data, such as raw scientific research, will have to pass through the offices of the state Department’s Directorate of Defense Trafe Controls, which are already inadequately manned and bogged down to deal with the status quo. Imagine a massive increase in self imposed requirements.

    You’ve Got A Friend In Me
    While it may well be the target of this proposed rule change, the Firearms Industry won’t be the only folks in opposition. Let’s face it, the firearms industry is only making slight, incremental, improvements. The way a gun works hasn’s changed in quite a long time. Some of those other items on the USML on the other hand?

    Academics and researchers will be gagged by such a change and may well have to become resgiatered and licensed with State to “export” defense information, in order to even openly discuss their work. Likewise, industry will be further restricted. But, most importantly, this website, those like it, and any US Person who writes about such ITAR controlled information may very well break the law by publishing their remarks, photos, how-to tips, etc. on the Internet. The penalties for unauthorized export are stiff; up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million per incident, including to subsequent countries or foreign nationals, is also treated as a separate violation. Civil penalties can also be assessed.  

    But what can I do?
    You can comment. This rule change hasn’t taken effect yet and you can let the Federal Government know how you feel about this proposal by providing feedback.

    If you are going to do so, we suggest these pointers:
    -You’ve got until, August 3, 2015 to submit your feedback. Comments may be submitted online at or via e-mail at with the subject line, ‘‘ITAR Amendment—Revisions to Definitions; Data Transmission and Storage.”
    -Read everything posted about the proposed changes. It’s dry, but know what you are referencing.
    -Post your comments.
    -Begin your comments with “I am in opposition of the proposed changes” so that, in the odd chance that you agree with some points and oppose others you will not be considered in the “I love the proposed changes” column even though you don’t agree with all of it.
    -We suggest you point out the hipocrasy of such a move considering the extensive amount of commercial and government (think US Patent and Trademark Office holdings and military publications) data already available.
    -Concentrate on the free speech implications of the proposed change.
    -Consider the negative implications for academia, research, industry and individual Americans.

    We suggest you use your own voice, keep it civil, direct and to the point, and use proper grammar to be most effective. Do not use a form letter. They carry less weight than individualized comments.

    Welcome to the Candy Store

    Friday, April 10th, 2015

    Our live coverage of the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting starts now.

    ASA Seeks Support for Iowa Suppressor Legislation

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

    We received this update on suppressor legislation in Iowa from the American Suppressor Association.


    Iowa is well on its way to becoming the 40th state to legalize suppressor ownership, despite some hiccups in the legislative process. Since we last updated you, the bill numbers have changed several times as Iowa legislators fight over specifics, but the ASA is happy to inform you that last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19-2 to approve Senate File 427. This bill originated in the Senate, where it began as a stand-alone bill to legalize suppressor ownership. It passed the Senate 46-4, before moving to the House, where it was amended to include several additional pro-Second Amendment provisions.

    SF 427 is now an omnibus bill that includes a “Shall Sign” provision, which would require Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) in Iowa to sign suppressor applications within 30 days of receipt, unless the applicant is found to be a prohibited person. If passed, SF 427 would make Iowa the 40th state to allow private ownership of suppressors. Similar legislation has been introduced in Illinois, Minnesota, and Vermont this session.

    The ASA is very excited about the prospects of this bill becoming law, but there is still work to do before we can declare victory. We need your help to push this effort past the finish line! Using this link, please identify, call, and email your legislators and politely urge them to support SF 427.

    Find your legislator here:

    With your help, we will get this legislation to Governor Branstad’s desk and legalize suppressor ownership for 3 million Iowans.

    Snake Hound Machine 3rd Annual Shoot Heard Round The World Hosted By Freedom Hill Gear

    Saturday, March 21st, 2015

    Press Release 3

    Hosted by Snake Hound Machine and Freedom Hill Gear as the event coordinators, the 3rd Annual Shoot Heard Round the World is taking place in Keene, New Hampshire on April 18th at Cheshire County Fish and Game.

    Press Release 5

    This year’s shoot will feature multiple events, including machine gun rentals, training classes, and guest appearances from Rob Pincus and Jim Erwin.

    Press Release 11

    S3F Tactical will be running a 3-gun course for all attendees with a chance to win prizes. Additionally, all attendees will receive a gift bag with an exclusive event t-shirt and patch, along with other giveaways.

    Press Release 17

    Event sponsors, along with those already mentioned, include:

    – Samson
    – Breakthrough Clean
    – Wicked Weaponry
    – Ares Armor
    – Highlander Safety System
    – Twin State Hydrographics
    – Bastion
    – Warrior Culture Gear
    – Alex and Ryan Design
    – Blue-U Defense
    – Action Targets
    – Original S.W.A.T
    – Wishes for Warriors
    – Beyond the Brand Media
    – Schultz Photography

    Attendance to the Shot Heard Round the World will be limited. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit

    SilencerCo Wants You To #FightTheNoise

    Monday, March 16th, 2015

    BATFE Issues Statement Regarding M855 Ammunition

    Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

    About an hour ago the BATFE issued the following statement on their Facebook page regarding their intent to ban the commercial sale of the M855 cartridge by removing its exemption as Armor Piercing Ammunition.  If you haven’t commented, do it.

    Notice to those Commenting on the Armor Piercing Ammunition Exemption Framework

    Thank you for your interest in ATF’s proposed framework for determining whether certain projectiles are “primarily intended for sporting purposes” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C). The informal comment period will close on Monday, March 16, 2015. ATF has already received more than 80,000 comments, which will be made publicly available as soon as practicable. Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen, the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.