By Robert M. Hausman
The US government's policy on the reimportation of US origin firearms is about to change, and details on the status of post-ban over-10-round firearm magazines if the federal ban expires in September, were among the issues addressed at the third annual edition conference of "ATF & The Imports Community," held July 19-20 in Alexandria, VA.
An anticipated change (within the next several weeks) in the US government's re-transfer policy (of presumptive denial) on importation of US-origin defense articles (to one of presumptive approval) was detailed during the meeting by David Quinn, deputy director, US Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfer Policy.
The change may or may not affect the importation of US-origin ammunition. Foreign-produced copies of firearms, the designs for which originated in the US, such as the M-l Garand, would be treated as qualifying for US importation, Quinn said.
He added, however, that the US government will likely seek reimbursement for the firearms if they were provided to the foreign government under a foreign assistance program. Reimbursement would also be sought for foreign-produced copies of firearms that originated in the US (such as the M-l Garand) under the theory that the copies were produced based on US technology. He acknowledged that it was possible for the Dept.of State to consider waiver applications for the reimbursement fees if the individual situation was deemed to warrant it.
Though the government's position will change to look more favorably on such imports, every transfer would still have to be reviewed by the State Dept. to ensure the proposed transfer is legally appropriate. Importers seeking to re-import such goods would have to have the seller seek authorization to transfer the goods to the importer for reimportation into the US in advance of the transaction.
Also, the divesting government is required to have the prior consent of the President of the US (or the Secretary of State by delegation) prior to the transfer of US government-origin defense articles to another country or a private entity. The Secretary of State has statutory control over the re-transfer of such defense articles, Quinn explained.
For transfers of "significant military equipment" (such as cannon, mortars and the like) the presumption of denial policy will apparently remain in place. The very limited exceptions to a presumption of denial would be a proposed importation in support of a government contract or for use in a demilitarized static museum display. A US private entity desiring to import such articles would have to provide end-use and retransfer assurances and title may not transfer until the goods are within the territory of the US.
Quinn added that the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has become much, busier in recent years. It is now processing 60,000 applications a year, compared to 40,000 annually seven years ago.
Lewis P. Raden, ATF assistant director, office of enforcement, programs and services, noted that the National Firearms Act (NFA) Forms 2 and 9 are expected to become available electronically next year. Problems in developing an E-signature process are holding back the debut of the
electronic versions of the forms. Raden emphasized, however, that "ATF is committed to making its regulation of the industry more efficient."
The ATF Imports Branch is still operating without a chief and Raden said the agency is working to find a qualified person who will want to stay in the position. ATF has experienced a high turnover rate of Imports Branch chiefs in recent years.
Edited by Brkdnc, 02 October 2004 - 05:13 PM.