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AK and FAL prices just went up

Robert notes that the ATF will not be approving any more barrels for non-sporting arms to be imported into the U.S. Here’s the ATF letter.

We are no longer a nation of laws but a nation of random bureaucratic bungling to make laws mean what they think the should mean.

This also impacts frames and receivers. Building your own firearms just became more expensive and we should see an increase in American made parts for such weapons. The relevant section of the letter is:

Accordingly, ATF will no longer approve ATF Form 6 applications for importation of any frames, receivers, or barrels for firearms that would be prohibited from importation if assembled.

Said importation would require the approval of the Attorney General and we know how pro-gun he is not. Seems like the ATF is making up the law as it goes along.

Update: From Ravenwood, Global Trades, an importer, addresses the issue:

For now, let me go over the immediate implications of what this means if I understand it correctly.

It means that no new permits will be issued for any barrels for firearms that are not importable under current regulations. These barrels and also receivers for non-importable firearms have been imported since 2000 under an “exemption” for replacement or repair purposes. This exemption has been ended, and I am sure the logic will be that it has been abused.

One issue that is not clear is whether existing permits will be honored. They may well be suspended or otherwise altered. In any event, permits are for one year, and define the number of items that can be imported. So in a year or less, all permits will have expired. And even before then, the number permitted on all of the permits may well be reached. There has been a further tale that on existing permits, barrels will have to be marked “repair or replacement” and even serialized. I don’t know if this is true. I have been told it is by someone who may well know.

What this all means if it is correct is that AK parts kits as we know them will disappear in the immediate future. The barrels will have to be removed from future kits, either by taking all of the parts off, or by cutting or otherwise destroying them. In Europe, they drill 5 holes through the chamber and the barrel areas. This does make them pretty useless.

So the number of kits in the US now may be all we will see in their current form. Future kits will require more processing, and will have to add a US-made barrel, which is not a cheap item. And authentic reproductions of military AKs will become less authentic.

Also the imported Imbel FN/FAL receivers will disappear. I don’t know of any imported AK receivers now, though there were rumors of some Hungarian 10 round ones.

Here is what it doesn’t mean:
1. What you can do with a parts set already in the US is not changed.
2. Manufacturing receivers or barrels here is not affected.
3. It does not change any of the regulations involving your building of your own firearms.

It does mean that parts sets will go up in price. The supply is going to be limited, and the demand won’t be. I won’t be able to replace what I have, so my incentive to sell them cheap is pretty low. We have our Tantal kits priced pretty high now, so I don’t anticipate raising the price. I of course reserve the right to do so if the market changes drastically. There may be others who will continue to sell cheaply as if they could replace the kits at the price they paid before. My advice is to buy as many as you need at current prices. I do think they will go up.

Update 2: Readers are already reporting to me that Tapco is out of kits and flats. They had flats this morning. Egad.

Hit more for the text of the letter.

OPEN LETTER TO FEDERALLY LICENSED FIREARMS IMPORTERS
AND REGISTERED IMPORTERS OF U.S. MUNITIONS IMPORT LIST ARTICLES

The purpose of this open letter is to provide important information to importers concerning the lawful importation of certain frames, receivers and barrels.

Importation of Frames, Receivers or Barrels of Firearms Under Title 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3)

Section 925(d) provides standards for the importation of firearms and ammunition into the United States. In particular, section 925(d)(3) provides that the Attorney General shall authorize a firearm to be imported if it meets several conditions: (1) it is not defined as a firearm under the National Firearms Act (NFA); (2) it is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes; and (3) it is not a surplus military firearm. However, the subsection further provides that “in any case where the Attorney General has not authorized the importation of the firearm pursuant to this paragraph, it shall be unlawful to import any frame, receiver, or barrel of such firearm which would be prohibited if assembled.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has determined that the language of 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3) permits no exceptions that would allow frames, receivers or barrels for otherwise non-importable firearms to be imported into the United States. Accordingly, ATF will no longer approve ATF Form 6 applications for importation of any frames, receivers, or barrels for firearms that would be prohibited from importation if assembled. No exceptions to the statutory language, for example for “repair or replacement” of existing firearms, will be allowed.

ATF recognizes that importers have, in the past, obtained import permits authorizing the importation of barrels and receivers for non-importable firearms for “repair or replacement” and may have entered into contracts in reliance upon such authorizations. In order to mitigate the impact of ATF’s change in import policy and to allow importers a reasonable period to come into compliance, ATF will forgo enforcement of this import restriction for 60 calendar days and allow importers holding existing permits to continue to import barrels and receivers for a period of 60 calendar days. ATF believes this time period is adequate for importers who have entered into binding contracts for the sale and shipment of such barrels and receivers to complete the process of importing the items into the United States. ATF will advise Customs and Border Protection that in no event should these permits be accepted to release these items for entry into the United States after September 10, 2005.

Importers are reminded that ATF previously approved permits for non-importable barrels and receivers for repair or replacement only, and this restriction was stamped on the face of the permit. Importers who import such components for any purpose other than repair or replacement of existing firearms, e.g., for assembly into new firearms, will be exceeding the scope of the import authorization in violation of law. If ATF determines, through inspection or otherwise, that an importer willfully violates the import provisions of the GCA, the importer’s license is subject to revocation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 923(e).

Importers holding approved import permits for non-importable barrels and receivers will receive a letter prior to September 10, 2005, advising them that their permit has been suspended.
This determination affects importers as follows:

IF YOU SUBMIT A NEW APPLICATION TO IMPORT FRAMES, RECEIVERS AND BARRELS ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF THIS LETTER, AND THE PERMIT IS FOR NONSPORTING FIREARMS, SURPLUS MILITARY FIREARMS, OR NATIONAL FIREARMS ACT FIREARMS, ATF WILL DENY YOUR APPLICATION.

IF YOU HAVE SUBMITTED AN APPLICATION TO IMPORT FRAMES, RECEIVERS AND BARRELS THAT HAS NOT YET BEEN DENIED OR APPROVED BY ATF AND THE PERMIT IS FOR NONSPORTING FIREARMS, SURPLUS MILITARY FIREARMS OR NATIONAL FIREARMS ACT FIREARMS, ATF WILL DENY YOUR APPLICATION.

IF YOU ALREADY HOLD AN APPROVED PERMIT TO IMPORT FRAMES, RECEIVERS AND BARRELS “FOR REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT,” ATF WILL BE SENDING YOU A LETTER EXPLAINING THAT YOUR PERMIT WILL BE SUSPENDED AFTER SEPTEMBER 10, 2005, AND PROVIDING YOU WITH INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR RIGHT TO SUBMIT ARGUMENTS WHY YOUR PERMIT SHOULD NOT BE REVOKED.
Maintaining open lines of communication is vital to the successful future of ATF’s partnership with the import community. The Firearms and Explosives Imports Branch staff is available to answer your questions about the issues addressed in this letter. You may reach us by phone at 202-927-8320 or by fax at 202-927-2697. Additional information regarding this issue will be provided on our Website at www.atf.gov.

7 Responses to “AK and FAL prices just went up”

  1. SayUncle : Import ban update Says:

    […] t | Main |


    Import ban update
    |By SayUncle|

    In an update to this post regarding the ATF randomly deciding that some gun parts ca […]

  2. Blake Says:

    Hmm…my first thought is that they are creating new law. Shouldn’t this be done or approved by an act of Congress? Although, I guess that really doesn’t matter anymore.

  3. xx y Says:

    Blake, where have you been, crap like this has been happening for decades. SCOUTS didn’t even find this crap unconstitutional, like they can’t read or something.

    quick quiz: the type of government where the police make the law that they enforce is called a what? It starts with a T.

  4. xx y Says:

    …and if that does not work there is always the classified exectuive order.

    Hey, it’s illegal, but we can’t actually show you the law.

  5. Jay G Says:

    Does it strike anyone else as REALLY FUCKING ominous that, on the heels of the Kelo decision that the ATF decides to SEVERELY reduce the number of semi-automatic rifles coming into the US???

    Paranoid? Perhaps… But I’m buying the WASR-10 NOW rather than later…

  6. Eric Says:

    Congress long ago delegated much of its authority to make law to the Executive branch as “regulatory” powers. Most of the Executive can put regulations in place by simply entering them in the Federal Register with a comment period. At the end of the comment period, unless Congress says no (and they almost never do) the regulations take effect. Nice separation of powers.

  7. Blake Says:

    xx y, that was part of my point…unfortunately