Possible Ban on Imported Military-Caliber Ammunition?
UPDATE 1016 est 18 February 2009: Thanks to commenter Aklaft, we have this follow-up from Shooting Wire:
Politics and Pistols
Last Friday, we reported that Canadian authorities had sent word of a United States State Department proposal that would ban several ammo calibers sale by United States companies to Canada. It's safe to say that the story kicked off quite a storm on both sides of the border.
In Canada, calls to their Parliament protested the idea that whole classes of ammo could, effectively, be stopped at the border. Here in the US, it taught me to be a good bit more exact with the concepts of import and export. The intent of the story was simple - to let our readers know the United States Department of State was considering a ban on the export of US ammo in several calibers to Canada.
Although the .50 BMG, 7.62 x39mm Soviet, 7.61 x51 NATO, .308 Winchester, 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington are considered by some to be purely military rounds, they are, in fact, very effective for hunting anything from varmints to polar bears. The US State Department, however, seemed to be trying to use the military application of those rounds and classify them as for military sales only. Technically, it's not a "gun ban" or even an "ammo ban" but a "reclassification" - but the effect would be the same. Those calibers of ammo would be restricted export items for American companies.
Another whispered action, the requirement that all firearms require DSP-83 End Use Certificates (and the $250 export fee per firearm) was also apparently couched as another reclassification. Again, not a ban, but a very effective "non-ban" on gun sales.
Fortunately, we're starting to hear some denials of these ideas - from both sides of the border. The denials are coming from some normally anti-gun politicians in Canada, leading our sources in Parliament to suspect the protests from Canadian gun owners had an impact. As expected, our officials "can't comment on something that's only been proposed" but it seems the idea may be losing steam. And it should.
Another story from Washington is getting its share of attention. President Obama's administration is defending - at least for now - the rule enacted by President Bush in his final days as president that allows concealed carry in national parks. That's not an unconditional bit of support, but it's jaw-dropping for many of us who have a hard time seeing the current administration supporting anything to do with firearms.
The qualification on the support is based on the fact the administration is also looking to determine whether the Bush measure follows environmental filing procedures. It's a small detail, but one the Brady Campaign, the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Coalition of National Park Service Retirees have used as a basis for a lawsuit seeking to overturn the rule. They argue the regulation was enacted without the requisite environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. They also proffered the position that the concealed carry rule might prevent some visitors and school groups from going to the national parks.
The Justice Department filed a response that says the new rule "does not alter the environmental status quo, and will not have any significant impacts on public health and safety."
Despite that response, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has asked for an internal assessment of whether the measure might, in fact, have any environmental impacts that need be taken into account.
We'll keep you posted.
- Jim Shepherd
See also David's take, along with the commentary there.
From Virginia Shooting Sports Association:
State Department Floating Ammo Import Ban?
It looks like those who said the Obama Administration would strike while the iron is hot may have been correct, and the Administration may be doing it in a way that does not require them to even get a vote in Congress. In this morning's edition of the Shooting Wire, Jim Shepherd writes that Canadian officials have it on "good authority" our State Department may be on the verge of cutting off all imports of certain calibers of ammunition.
Ammos listed for this rumored ban include the .50BMG, 7.62x39mm Soviet, 7.62x51mm NATO, .308 Winchester, 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington. Additionally, we're hearing that an expansion of this proposed ban might be broadened to include the 6.8mm SPC, 9mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP- among others.
In other words, State Department officials may be floating a trial balloon to see if there are howls of protest, or whimpers of compliance. Canadian elected officials who have directed this information to me say the move seems to be motivated by "emboldened" anti-gun officials who think they have a kindred spirit in President Obama.
Shepherd continues that there may also be a plan to ban exports on certain firearms to Canada from the US, resulting in the State Department hammering gun manufacturers, distributors and exporters in the United States while simultaneously making firearms -and ammunition - ownership and acquisition more difficult for Canadians.
Many in the pro-rights community have said since the election that Obama could circumvent Congress by using regulations in his various cabinet departments to attack gun owners. It appears that it may have already begun.
Posted by VSSA President at 8:01 AM
Labels: Barrack Obama and guns, regulating guns and ammo
You can ban weapons with a pen, but not thoughts and dissent. Our country is reaping the rotten fruit of our politicians corruption. They soon will find as Maria Antoinette it is better to pay attention to grumblings of the masses.
February 18, 2009 9:40 AM
This "story" is pure fantasy.... This stuff is put out by guys who financially benefit from selling more stuff to their conservative flock of sheep.... The wackjobs who actually believe these rumors are the same guys who stocked up on ammo for Y2K and the "armageddon" it was supposed to create....
February 18, 2009 1:12 PM
Oh my God, what a load of crap... This "rumour" is so false, its hard to believe someone had the audacity to print it... I guess if the facts don't fit your belief system, you just have to make them up...
February 18, 2009 1:34 PM
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Corroboration/further info will be posted as it becomes available.