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Firearms excise taxes and your local gunsmith

The ATF is apparently working hard to define manufacturing as touching a tool to a gun. Gun Law News has the skinny on the continuing war on gunsmiths:

The BATFE is going after gunsmiths for work analagous to this via the Tax and Trade Bureau to fine, and in some cases, close down small, custom gun shops.

Nowhere does “Make a bad gun good” or “Make a good gun better” fall anywhere within the definition “manufacturing firearms”. That does not stop the BATFE from throwing common sense out the window.

Ultimately, the question for gunsmiths becomes, “Where does maintenance end and manufacturing begin?” The question is significant as the answer affects whether or not you pay Federal Excise Tax on your work. Get the answer wrong and you rate a visit from the BATFE and the Tax and Trade Bureau. Unfortunately for some smiths, the answer changes depending on which BATFE agent you talk to.

If you thought that was bad enough, be patient. Let’s say that you are a gun writer. As a part of your job, you have had gunsmiths tune guns to your liking so you could write about them, thereby making money on the improvements. According to some in the BATFE you have just made yourself a ‘manufacturer’ and the smith working for you is a subcontractor. You, as the writer, are responsible for having a manufacturing FFL and paying excise taxes.

Yeah, the ATF needs it’s collective pee-pee whacked.

5 Responses to “Firearms excise taxes and your local gunsmith”

  1. Bob R Says:

    “Yeah, the ATF needs its collective pee-pee whacked.”

    That sentence is incomplete: you need to add the word off at the end.

  2. countertop Says:

    Where does maintenance end and manufacturing begin

    Thats pretty much the same question electric utilities have been faced with in light of the changes the Clinton Administration instituted to the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review program.

    Activities that have traditionally been deemed maintenance (and were even included on the initial maintenenace schedules when the utilities were constructed) were classified as new construction or improvements to a utility and those power plants were subject to exorbitant fines ($25,000+ a day for each day of operation after the maintenance was performed).

    The Bush Administration tried to develop regulations that simply provided an answer to this question and were pretty viscously attacked for “rolling back environmental laws” and “gutting the clean air act” so its no surprise that the gun banners might try to co-opt the strategy for their own needs.

  3. _Jon Says:

    “BAILIFF! Whack his pee pee.”

  4. Standard Mischief Says:

    Take your car to “Iffy Lube” for an oil change, or change out that bad alternator yourself, suddenly become an unlicensed outlaw felon automobile manufacturer.

    When the police make up the rules which they enforce on the fly, it’s called a Police State.

    Ultimately, the question for gunsmiths becomes, Where does maintenance end and manufacturing begin?

    Common sense would have the person/corporation that turns a hunk of whatever into a receiver needing a serial number would be the manufacture.

    This is nonsense. I wish we had a pro-gun President and a pro-gun Congress.

  5. Scoot Says:

    This might actually help my case. We will see.