American Rifleman - April 2011 - 88

officiAl JournAl

inside nrA

ILA report: Latest legislative news from inside the NRA Institute for Legislative Action

Proposed Shotgun
Import Ban Shows
Need To Change Law

Photo by Adam Heggenstaller

O

Shotguns used in popular 3-gun
competitions are targeted by a
new BATFE study on import rules.

76 A

pril

2011

n Jan. 27, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released a "Study on the
Importability of Certain Shotguns," which proposes that "military shotguns, or shotguns
with common military features that are unsuitable for traditional shotgun sports" be prohibited from importation.
The potential ban would apply to all shotguns-not just semi-automatics-and could ban
even traditional sporting shotguns if defensive versions of those guns are available. As in previous
"working group" studies on rifles, the study fails to
give proper credit to the widespread use of these
guns in newer shooting sports, or to their adaptability to hunting.
The study underscores the need for Congress
to change the firearm importation law. That law
requires the U.S. attorney general to approve the
importation of any firearm "generally recognized
as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to
sporting purposes." This "sporting purposes" test
was imposed by the Gun Control Act in 1968, a time
when the right to self-defense with a firearm was
not as widely respected by the courts as it is today.
Clearly, the main reason to change the law is
that the Second Amendment primarily protects
our Right to Keep and Bear Arms for defense, not
for sports-as the Supreme Court has made clear
in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Another reason to change the law is to end
the BATFE's 22-year history of misinterpreting it.
In 1989, the bureau banned the importation of
semi-automatic rifles, claiming they were not used
for "organized marksmanship competition." (In fact,
the banned guns were of the type most commonly
used by competitors in the most popular marksmanship competitions in the United States-the
National Matches, and the hundreds of local,
state and regional competitions that precede the
national events each year.) In 1998, BATFE expanded the ban, claiming that semi-automatic rifles'
"suitability for this activity [marksmanship competition] is limited."
Announcing the 1998 ban, a Clinton White House official said "we're taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole new class of guns." Now, BATFE is bending the law one
more time. As this issue develops, NRA will be looking at every legislative and legal option to
bring our firearm import laws back in line with the Constitution.
To read the BATFE study, go to www.nraila.org/shotgunstudy. NRA members and other concerned gun owners can submit comments until May 1. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to
shotgunstudy@atf.gov or by fax to (202) 648-9601. Faxed comments may not exceed five pages.
All comments must include name and mailing address.

www.AmericAnriflemAn.org


http://www.nraila.org/shotgunstudy http://www.AmericAnriflemAn.org

American Rifleman - April 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - April 2011

American Rifleman - April 2011 - 1
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