Friday, May 18, 2018

New Trump Regs Would Alleviate Registration Costs for Gunsmiths, FFLs

New Trump Regs Would Alleviate Registration Costs for Gunsmiths, FFLs

President Donald Trump (Photo: Twitter)
A new proposed regulation announced this week by the Department of State could alleviate the massive annual registration fee that has for years kept small gunsmiths and FFLs out of business.

The regulatory amendment would transfer defense articles to the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce if they are not inherently for military end use and are widely available in retail outlets. The change would remove the annual $2,250 fee required by the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Control (DDTC), which the Obama administration imposed on gunsmiths who “manufacture” firearms and ammunition.

In 2012 the Obama administration stepped up enforcement of a regulation that required firearm and ammunition manufacturers to register with the DDTC under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Because they said that even small gunsmiths engage in activities that are regulated under the ITAR. Many of these small shops closed down because they couldn’t afford the annual registration fee along with compliance costs.

Now the Trump administration’s Department of State is looking to revise these regulations by transferring items currently listed in the United States Munitions List and controlled by the ITAR to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which is controlled by the Department of Commerce. These items include non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms and ammunition, as well as their related parts and services. This is good news for gunsmiths because the Department of Commerce does not impose a registration requirement for the manufacture of controlled items and there is no annual fee.

SEE ALSO: GOP Lawmakers Pen Letter to Stop ITAR Gun Control Targeting Gunsmiths

Fully automatic weapons will remain under the ITAR, but so will suppressors, suppressor parts, and any related services. Magazines that have a capacity in excess of 50 rounds will also remain on the list, and companies that manufacture these accessories will be required to register under the ITAR.

The decision to retain these items in the USML seems to contradict the Department of State’s stated goal to “revise the U.S. Munitions List so that its scope is limited to those defense articles that provide the United States with a critical military or intelligence advantage or, in the case of weapons, are inherently for military end use.”

Suppressors and 50+ round magazines are not inherently for military use and are widely available in commercial retail stores throughout the United States. It is unclear why the Department of State would deregulate semi-automatic firearms but retain the burdensome registration fee for companies that manufacture suppressors and high-capacity magazines.

Interested parties may submit comments on the new regs by emailing: with the subject line, “ITAR Amendment – Categories I, II, and III.”

Monday, May 7, 2018




MAY 9, 2018

                         WHAT IS FAIR IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM?

            It is an old saying that our system of justice isn’t perfect, but it is better than any other.  Some have said that there are different levels of justice and that “equal protection under the law” is not a reality.  There are many opinions on both sides of the arguments.

          We have often said that politics is all about power and money and it would be easy to place the same accusation about the current system of justice.  This columnist is not a lawyer, so the commentary is strictly an opinion based on observation and evidence.

          The laws in the United States are complex and there are many of them.  The law libraries are filled with volumes of laws and decisions of trials to determine what is possible to accuse and how to defend against those charges.  The more complex the laws, the more opportunities for abuse!

          The average person has no idea of what most of the laws are and how they are enforced, but in spite of the fact that lawyers, and even judges, need to research laws in many cases, for the average Joe, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

          A Russian member of the KGB was once quoted as saying; “show me the person, and I will find a law to convict him.”  That seems to hold true even in America.  We are watching how the complexities of the laws and the creative ways that power brokers use them, and that would confirm what the Russian said.

          Going back to the level of perception of the laws, there is much controversy on enforcement of the laws.  For decades, African Americans have claimed discrimination when it comes to law enforcement and how it appears to have a different standard involving them.

          They talk about the arrests for “driving while black” and being stopped when they haven’t committed any violations, at least no violations, from their perspective.  They claim that sentences for black people are more severe than for Caucasians convicted for the same crimes.

          The laws also seem to favor the rich because they can hire the best lawyers.  The case of O. J. Simpson would give credence to that opinion.  Money is a big advantage when accused of a crime.

          We are watching how the law can be used as a weapon when it comes to the bureaucrats and political operatives when they are on a quest to destroy President Donald Trump.  What started as an investigation regarding collusion in the last election has turned into what many are now calling a “witch hunt.”

          The laws are being used as a punishment without a crime.  A local political operative has been vocal about how this has destroyed his life and his family.  He has not been charged with any crime, but has been brought before the authorities as a witness for the “witch hunt.”

          Anyone in that position should not agree to the questioning without hiring the services of a good attorney.  However, the gentleman has gone broke with legal fees to the tune of about $125,000 without figuring time lost from work and transportation costs to DC to appear before the panel.

          He has managed to get some support from citizens in “Go Fund Me” to recoup some of his losses, but many don’t have that kind of support for their losses.

          When the bureaucracy or government calls for a witness or arrests a person accused of a crime, they are allowed to lie to extract information.  Their lies are perfectly legal, but if the accused or witness lies to them, there can be charges of perjury which are difficult to deny or defend.

          The odds greatly favor the government and it seems that every year, the legislators keep adding more laws that give the government more authority and takes more freedoms away from the citizens.

          The issue of money is truly important when discussing the disparity of “equality” when it comes to legal proceedings.  In New York, corruption cases draw special attention.  Perhaps it is because in Albany, many consider it to be “business as usual” and the politicians have to really foul up before getting caught.

          A couple of years ago two of the most powerful men in Albany, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos were tried and convicted for corruption.  They were sentenced to jail terms, but a decision involving a Virginia politician made it possible for the convicted criminals to have a new trial.

          A decision made by a judge in another state was enough for a team of sharp lawyers to delay the prison sentence.  Hopefully, for the citizens of the state, the accused will be reconvicted and the sentence carried out.  Even if serving time, the politicians will still receive their generous pensions.  When politicians make laws, they really know how to take care of themselves.

          So, in the last couple of years the citizens have seen the abuses of the system and that an accusation can have as much punishment, at least financially, as a conviction.  It takes years to get a federal case heard which makes a mockery of “justice delayed is justice denied.”

          However, during the delays, he lawyers are still getting “billable hours” and the accused are trying to figure out how to pay them.  If you don’t have the money to pay, you don't get the necessary representation.

          That is where the slogan of “we have the best laws that money can buy’ is said.  The better the lawyer, the better the chance of winning!    The less fortunate, without large resources, usually have to settle for a plea deal or face a maximum punishment.

          Like in government, money doesn’t just talk.  It yells!  Unless the voters start screaming for better government and if the laws are not changed, they have to change the lawmakers.  This is a good year and opportunity to do that.  More ideas to follow.


Friday, May 4, 2018

NRA Insurance Scuttled by NY Regulators

More BS~ 

NRA-Branded Insurance Program Is Unlawful, New York Regulators Say

Lockton fined $7 Million by Department of Financial Services
Company said in February it would end NRA brokerage service
A National Rifle Association-branded insurance program unlawfully provided liability coverage to gun owners in the event they were charged with a crime involving their firearms, according to New York state regulators.
Lockton Cos., which administered the insurance, and an affiliate were fined $7 million by New York’s Department of Financial Services and will no longer participate in the NRA’s “Carry Guard” program in the state of New York, the agency said in a statement Wednesday.
Lockton said it will continue to cooperate with regulators. The company announced after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February that it would stop providing brokerage services for all NRA-endorsed insurance programs.
“It is our responsibility to ensure we are fully compliant,” company spokesman Dean Davison said in an emailed statement. “We believe this settlement is the best way to resolve these issues.” 
The NRA acted appropriately at all times and relied on Lockton and its assurances that the program complied with state regulations, according to William Brewer, a lawyer for the NRA.
Firearms Insurance
The group advertises Carry Guard as the nation’s “most complete self-defense membership program” on its website, referring to Lockton’s plan as “comprehensive personal firearms liability insurance.” Regulators said the insurance unlawfully offered protection for certain acts of intentional wrongdoing and improperly provided coverage for acts of self defense. Gun control advocates have criticized the program, referring to it as “murder insurance.”
Lockton issued 680 Carry Guard policies to New York residents between April and November of last year, the DFS determined. Between 2000 and March 2018, Lockton and the NRA offered at least 11 other insurance programs. The company collected $12 million in premiums and $785,460 in administrative fees related to these programs during that time, according to the DFS. 
An investigation by the DFS found the program was actively advertised in New York by the NRA both online and through traditional mail. The firearms lobby doesn’t have a license to conduct insurance business in New York, according to the DFS, which oversees insurers and banks chartered in the state.
“Today’s action is part of the Department’s continuing investigation into this matter to uphold and preserve the integrity of New York law,” Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo said in the DFS statement.  
The NRA said it will continue to cooperate with DFS.

U.S. judge approves gun maker Remington's bankruptcy plan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Weapons manufacturer Remington Outdoor Company Inc won approval for its bankruptcy plan on Wednesday, paving the way for the company to slash debt, boost its cash position and better weather the uncertain climate for firearms in the United States.
Remington filed for bankruptcy in March with a deal in hand to cut its debt by about $775 million, a little more than one month after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The shooting sparked protests and a wave of retailers and corporations to limit sales and transactions relating to firearms. Mass discounter Walmart Inc (WMT.N), which Remington is reliant on for sales, said it would stop selling guns to people under 21 years old.
Remington will exit bankruptcy as soon as this month, with some of its creditors, including JPMorgan Chase & Co(JPM.N) and Franklin Advisors, taking ownership stakes in the company in exchange for forgiving debt. Cerberus Capital Management L.P., Remington’s current private equity owner, will give up its equity in the restructuring.
The company confirmed in a statement that its expects to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of May.
Remington will then have a new Asset Based Loan (ABL) facility of $193 million, the proceeds of which will refinance the existing ABL facility in full.
“I’m satisfied there’s sufficient creditor support to win confirmation,” Judge Brendan Shannon said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Remington filed a so-called pre-packaged bankruptcy, meaning it had largely won the support of its creditors before it filed in court.
·         WMT.N
·         JPM.N
Remington’s creditor committee, composed of a representative for its pension and plaintiffs in cases against the company for gun injuries and deaths, supported the bankruptcy plan, an attorney for the group told Shannon.
“I want to especially thank our dedicated employees spread across the United States that have remained focused on Remington throughout this process” said Chief Executive Anthony Acitelli.
The company’s bankruptcy plan allows for lawsuits against it to continue, including one filed by the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook, Connecticut, school shooting. One of its rifles was used in the 2012 shooting.
Gun sales fell after President Donald Trump was elected because firearm enthusiasts were no longer worried about increased regulation. That dynamic led in part to Remington’s bankruptcy filing.