Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Obama Administration Bans Import of Popular Russian Firearms

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This week, the Treasury Department used authority delegated to it by the president, under Executive Order 13661, to sanction Russian gun maker Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash). In the United States, the manufacturer is best known for its popular Saiga rifles and shotguns. While ostensibly a measure to curb aggression by some in the Russian Federation, the move does bar from importation firearms that gun control supporters have long sought to ban. We of course recognize the important role that enacting sanctions can have in furthering legitimate U.S. foreign policy interests. However, in this instance the extent to which these actions coincide with the stated domestic policy goals of gun control supporters is more than a little unsettling. As such, NRA-ILA is monitoring this situation closely.

Executive Order 13661, titled, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine,” was signed March 16th in response to Russian actions in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The order gives the Secretary of the Treasury the power to compile an appropriate list of entities to be sanctioned. On July 16th, the Treasury Department announced that it was expanding this list to include Kalashnikov Concern.

The old adage goes: The only decent product ever produced by the USSR was the AK-47. After the breakup of the USSR and the end of Cold War, Russia has continued to produce well-regarded AK-pattern rifles that have become popular among American gun owners. The intense U.S. demand for Saiga’s in recent years led to a 2012 New York Times article profiling the popular imports.

While the United States government blames the Ukrainian conflict for this latest move, gun control advocates will no doubt applaud the ban on importation of some of the very types of firearms at the center of recent domestic attempts to ban so-called “assault weapons.”

For current owners of Kalashnikov firearms, the Treasury Department has stated that firearms already owned by Americans or in the secondary market are not affected by the sanctions. In a FAQs that accompanied the July 16th announcement, the Treasury Department made clear:

If a U.S. person is in possession of a Kalashnikov Concern product that was bought and fully paid for prior to the date of designation (i.e., no payment remains due to Kalashnikov Concern), then that product is not blocked and OFAC sanctions would not prohibit the U.S. person from keeping or selling the product in the secondary market, so long as Kalashnikov Concern has no interest in the transaction.

Whatever the true basis of the current decision might be, import restrictions have long been used by the executive branch as a means of unilaterally enacting gun control. Historically, this has often occurred through abuses of the “sporting purposes” test.  For example, this standard is used in requiring the Attorney General to authorize import of any firearm that “is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), however, has ignored the popularity of particular shooting sports to justify its attempts prohibit certain firearms. Further, the entire test is constitutionally suspect, particularly in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision which recognizes self-defense as core to the Second Amendment right.

This tactic was used in 1989 by George H. W. Bush, and in 1998 by Bill Clinton, to ban the import of several types of semi-automatic rifles. As recently as March, Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Obama urging that he use the “sporting purposes” test to bar certain firearms from importation. In a similar example of executive branch gun control through import restrictions, in 1996, Clinton entered the U.S. into a “Voluntary Restraint Agreement” with Russia that banned the importation of several types of firearms.

More recently, importation of a popular brand of Russian ammunition that had long been available in the U.S. was abruptly banned under a federal regulation pertaining to so-called “armor piercing” handgun ammunition. BATFE has thus far failed to explain why this ammunition, favored by many recreational rifle shooters for its relative affordability, did not qualify for the “sporting purposes” exemption that has been applied to other military surplus cartridges designed for use in rifles. This has led to renewed calls for BATFE to explain its methodology for making “sporting purposes” determinations.

Taking into consideration these past import-based firearms restrictions, and the administration’s ongoing attempts to further gun control through executive actions, gun owners are rightfully skeptical. These latest sanctions will no doubt engender the idea among some that the Treasury Department is using a geopolitical crisis as a convenient excuse to advance the president’s domestic anti-gun agenda.

We will continue to look for opportunities to block the Obama administration's anti-gun agenda whether through the legal, legislative or political arenas.

TRENDING NOW
Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

The Supreme Court of North Dakota confirmed this week that simply possessing a handgun while on one’s own private property cannot support a finding of "disorderly conduct" under the state’s disorderly conduct restraining order law. ...

Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act." This bill would remove ATF's authority to use the ...

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

Information collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) indicates an unprecedented surge in the number of concealed carry permits, with the largest one-year increase on record occurring between May 2016 and May 2017.

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

This week, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) reintroduced the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, a bill aimed at permanently dismantling Operation Choke Point (OCP).  

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

News  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for signing into law NRA-backed legislation that will make license to carry fees in Texas among the lowest in the ...

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

New Zealand Police Mislead Current and Prospective Gun Owners

News  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Zealand Police Mislead Current and Prospective Gun Owners

Back in April, NRA-ILA alerted readers to the results of the New Zealand Parliament Law and Order Committee’s “Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand,” which proposed that a ...

Public Health Researchers Use Common Gun Control Tactic to Mislead on “Children” and Guns

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Public Health Researchers Use Common Gun Control Tactic to Mislead on “Children” and Guns

It is one of the most well-worn tactics of those who advocate for gun control. Step one, acquire statistics on firearms injuries among children ages 0-14. Step two, combine these relatively low numbers with the ...

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators Attempting to Get “Assault Weapon” Language into law

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators Attempting to Get “Assault Weapon” Language into law

This week, Senator Antonio Munoz filed Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 556.

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.