NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

BATFE Modifies Shotgun Import Ban Study, Still Gets It Wrong

Friday, July 13, 2012

In January 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released its "Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns." Using the unconstitutional and oft-abused "sporting purposes" test as justification, BATFE concocted a list of ten popular shotgun features and determined that "shotguns containing any of these features are not particularly suitable for nor readily adaptable to generally recognized sporting purposes." Guns with any of these features will therefore be prohibited from importation.

A public comment period followed the study's release. NRA-ILA submitted
extensive comments and encouraged gun owners to do the same. After receiving roughly 21,000 comments, with approximately 15,000 of them challenging the constitutionality and efficacy of the "sporting purposes" test, BATFE has been compelled to reverse two of its more onerous determinations.

In an
update to the shotgun importation study, the BATFE determined that it will no longer consider forward pistol grips or integrated rail systems as features barring importation. To justify its change of opinion on forward pistol grips, BATFE stated, "there is a convincing argument that this feature is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes because it permits accuracy and maneuverability even for activities such as bird hunting or skeet shooting." The update also mentions public comments explaining the importance of forward pistol grips for disabled shooters. BATFE goes on to explain that its determination of forward pistol grips as sporting necessitates their acceptance of integrated rail systems, as rail systems are the primary way in which shooters mount forward pistol grips.

However, gun owners shouldn't confuse BATFE's shift on these features with a newfound respect for Second Amendment rights. The reversal is couched in language justifying the change under the "sporting purposes" test and most of the update is dedicated to justifying the agency's previous report.

In response to the thousands of commenters who suggested the sporting purposes test violates their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, BATFE is dismissive. The agency pays lip-service to Second Amendment rights, citing a central piece of the Heller decision, but then states with no further explanation, "concerns about the constitutionality of [the sporting purposes test] or ATF application of this statute are without legal basis." But even a casual reading of the Heller decision proves such concerns do have basis. Rather than duck hunting, Justice Scalia found self-defense to be "the central component of the right itself."

Similarly strained is BATFE's continued defense of the position that shotguns with the remaining banned features are not "generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." The agency notes that it received numerous comments regarding shooting sports such as three-gun, in which the features banned by BATFE are commonly used. BATFE compares the United States Practical Shooting Association's 19,000 members who participate in three-gun, to the 10.7 million licensed hunters nationwide and comes to the conclusion that since this measure of the three-gun community is .18% the size of the hunting community, three-gun equipment is not "generally recognized" as suitable for sporting purposes.

This argument is disingenuous and exposes BATFE's bias against certain popular firearms. In determining "generally recognized," BATFE treats hunting as a single widely practiced sport, while breaking the shooting sports into bite-size categories small enough to ban the equipment the agency finds objectionable.

In downplaying the ban's burden on gun owners, BATFE says, "it should be noted that the sporting purposes test under 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3) applies as a limitation only on the importation of shotguns." Not mentioned is that under federal law an individual is also barred from assembling a semi-automatic shotgun that that would otherwise be prohibited from importation. Under BATFE's scheme, a person who mounts a flashlight or telescoping stock on an imported semi-automatic shotgun could be in violation of federal law.

BATFE's partial reversal shows the positive impact determined gun owners can have on the regulatory process. But this battle is far from over. In the short-term, NRA-ILA will continue to work with its friends in Congress, using the appropriation process to prohibit the BATFE from enforcing this ban, as has been the case since 2011. In the long-term NRA-ILA will work for the repeal of the unconstitutional "sporting purposes" test.

TRENDING NOW
Katie Couric is an Anti-Gun Fraud and Hypocrite

News  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Katie Couric is an Anti-Gun Fraud and Hypocrite

Google-search “Katie Couric, gun control, edited” and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Actually, you’ll see what most news organizations are talking about.

Ohio: NICS Compliant Standard Now Recognized for All Valid Ohio Concealed Handgun License Holders

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ohio: NICS Compliant Standard Now Recognized for All Valid Ohio Concealed Handgun License Holders

Yesterday, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that Ohioans who possess a valid concealed handgun license no longer have to submit themselves to additional background checks when purchasing firearms.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ...

North Carolina: Right to Hunt and Fish Legislation Introduced

Thursday, May 26, 2016

North Carolina: Right to Hunt and Fish Legislation Introduced

Yesterday, Senate Bill 889 was introduced in the North Carolina state senate.  S889 seeks to amend the North Carolina Constitution to affirm that it is a right of the public to hunt, fish and harvest ...

Sen. Schumer Introduces Gun Control Bill After Brady Campaign Tantrum

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sen. Schumer Introduces Gun Control Bill After Brady Campaign Tantrum

For the past several months, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross has been repeatedly telling anyone who will listen that support for gun control is at a “tipping point.” Gross’ theory suffered a blow this week as the Brady Campaign ...

California: Anti-Gun Bills Sent to Assembly Suspense File Scheduled to be Heard Tomorrow, May 27

Thursday, May 26, 2016

California: Anti-Gun Bills Sent to Assembly Suspense File Scheduled to be Heard Tomorrow, May 27

On Friday May 27, the state Assembly Committee on Appropriations is scheduled to hear all the bills sent to the suspense file.  There are five anti-gun bills that greatly impact gun owners, sportsmen, and Second ...

California: Assembly Appropriations Committee Sends Several Anti-Guns Bills to the Assembly Floor

Friday, May 27, 2016

California: Assembly Appropriations Committee Sends Several Anti-Guns Bills to the Assembly Floor

On Friday, May 27, the state Assembly Committee on Appropriations passed four of the five anti-gun bills on a party-line vote. AB 1664, AB 1673, AB 1674 and AB 1695 will now join AB 2607  for ...

Outrage of the Week: Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin Blocks Efforts to Restore Rights to Veterans

Friday, May 20, 2016

Outrage of the Week: Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin Blocks Efforts to Restore Rights to Veterans

We have long reported on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) scandalous practice of reporting to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)  any VA beneficiary who has had a “fiduciary” appointed to help the individual ...

West Virginia: Permitless Carry Went Into Effect on May 24!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

West Virginia: Permitless Carry Went Into Effect on May 24!

On May 24, the provisions of House Bill 4145, West Virginia’s permitless/constitutional carry legislation, take effect.  Please refer to NRA-ILA’s HB 4145 Fact Sheet for important information on this monumental pro-gun reform.

“Rap Back”: A New Federal Firearm Registry

News  

Friday, May 27, 2016

“Rap Back”: A New Federal Firearm Registry

As part of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification Program, the agency is implementing what it calls the “Rap Back” service.  “Rap Back” provides law enforcement agencies – at their request – ongoing alerts on specific ...

South Carolina: Time Running Out for South Carolina Right-to-Carry Recognition

Thursday, May 26, 2016

South Carolina: Time Running Out for South Carolina Right-to-Carry Recognition

The South Carolina Senate is set to adjourn next week, so there is little time left to act on  H. 3799.  While the bill is on the Special Order calendar, anti-gun state Senator Marlon Kimpson (D-42) is leading the charge ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.